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Effective Communications

Elements of an effective communications piece

Following is a summary of the kinds of things you need to know before you start composing any communications.

  • Situation analysis:
    • What’s going on in your product division and with your customers – are sales down or up, any particular battles being fought on the competitive front, any big news that hasn’t been communicated yet?
    • What is the big picture?
  • Overall goals:
    • What do you want to achieve by publishing this communication piece?
    • Do you need recognition for your product, or to attract 1,000 new customers, or provide a handy reference for existing customers … etc.?
    • Consider the context: present offerings and planned future developments.
    • And how do you plan to measure response?
  • What are your specific messaging goals?
    • What are the primary features and benefits of your product?
    • Where does it fit in the larger corporate story?
    • How does it meet customer concerns?
    • What sets your product or service apart from others?
    • Bear in mind there are alternatives for everything: competing technologies, suppliers, manufacturers and solutions. There is also the alternative of doing without – especially in consumer goods.
  • Determine tone and image
    • What is your brand identity and how will it be expressed in this piece?
  • What specific information supports your messaging requirements?
    • Product info, statistics, industry trends, analyst viewpoints, customer testimonials, etc.
  • How should the information be prioritized and organized?
    • Test to optimize!
  • How will people get more information/buy?
    • What’s the call to action? Shopping cart, addresses, web/e-mail links, 800 #s, coupons, feedback forms?

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