In the digital age there are no communication barriers when it comes to cost and access; it has never been cheaper to set up a business. You have no heavy office costs, printing needs or even telecom costs - all of these are significantly reduced by digital communications. Yet the communication barriers have changed and the hurdles can be even greater leading to a huge negative impact on your business.
What are today's communication barriers? And how can they be overcome? Before setting out you need to address your communication marketing plan as it will become the life and soul to your business - and without an aligned communications plan - you will leave stakeholders and customers confused forcing a greater divide between you and sales.
Lack of clarity – messaging and jargon
The more passionate you are about your product the less likely you are to see the wood for the trees. This is especially prevalent in specialist industries like technology, engineering and law; you end up using terminology that the average Jo-doesn't understand, and this is particularly relevant when speaking to journalists, who in today's age are having to write about all subjects - the more accessible the language, the more applicable it is to their experiences - the more likely they are to grasp your message and relay it for you.
It's also about being careful with how you define the product; the British especially need a reference point, without a clear reference point they will have no idea what you do. While likening can harm your brand, it can also make you have a huge impact in the market and help you grow quicker and faster. We saw Uber latch on to Airbnbs Gig Economy, and now there are so many new Amazon's the Amazon of property the Amazon of holidays!
So be prepared to keep your message simple, clear and relevant.
Incorrect timing of messages
Planning is essential, you send a message out at the wrong time and it gets lost in the ether. I can assure you I have been very unfortunate many times when releasing a news story to the press and it's a big day for business or the government has made a major announcement, or there's been some atrocity or disaster - these stories will dominate.
Therefore for big announcements it's worth seeding the story in advance and giving yourself more time to get the news out there, perhaps under embargo, through interviews or exclusives (though not such a big thing any more).
Further this applies to your email and social media marketing - when you send it will have an impact on the open, engagement and click-through rate. Send it at 2am in the morning by 8am it is lost, but send it at a time when is in line with when you customers engage with your product you will see the engagement snowball. Data here is essential to understand your customers and target audiences behaviours, then making it timed and trialling A/B testing.
Problems with the communication medium
You have to factor in the challenges of the channel in which you are sending the message and the likely impact it will have. Social media benefit from the right #hashtags trending at the right point, but organic growth is difficult unless it is a specialist or local product, therefore there is a higher cost through social media advertising.
Emails are at risk from GDPR and ensuring you are compliant, as well as junk/spam, unsubscribe - so you really have to think about the Value of the content you are sending. Always add value, don't try to bombard with sales messages, or telling them that you're the best - actually show it!
Attitudes of sender or recipient
It's not okay just to send messages if there is no relationship or relevance, you also have to consider the language and what you expect the reader to do. This is a two-way relationship, by listening first you can deliver what they want, but by simply speaking you become noise - then you risk a lack of trust which can result in a message not being taken notice of.
Before sending a message - know that your audience have an interest in receiving it, and if not - let them politely leave the conversation easily.
Language & cultural barriers
The type of language you use, the choice of words and how you talk to your customers is essential when building that relationship. First you need to know if they are the buyers, the influencers or the users - get them on side, give them the information they need to make the right decision and feel involved in the product.
If you're going beyond your own country markets into Europe or beyond, you need to be aware of the cultural differences, there's no point simply using Google translate - and believe me, as a former English teacher - this is not a good idea. Don't go cheap on regional campaigns, engage a marketing specialist who won't only translate but also regionalise because each market has different needs, agendas, maturities, expectations, and ways of doing business.
Problems with the message itself
This is danger zone; "We are the leaders" or "The most innovative" "The cheapest" The highest quality" "A disruptor" "Local"
Don't say anything that is not true and cannot be verified, and understand what it means to use certain words - being cheap doesn't bode well for quality but if its Mass Market you want then be prepared to push yourself into the market. Being a leader actually means engaging and leading the marketplace and demonstrating this across numerous channels not just in your sales literature.
So - when you make a statement, don't let it be incorrect - believe it, breathe it, live it.
If you want to discuss any communication barriers you have with your marketing, the channels or with stakeholders, just give me a shout on email@example.com or call me on the number on the website.