This is all about targeting your messages effectively to your members and key stakeholders. You want to ensure at the end of the day that you have reached them, resonated with them, informed them, compelled them to some action, and added value to them.Yes, tactics are important: which weapon to use (e.g., communications vehicle) and who pulls the trigger (e.g., format or delivery channel), but the end goal is reaching your audience.
Get Ready! Start with your plan. Make sure you understand the goals and objectives before you begin to develop your programs, deliverables and the implementation timeline for your association communications.Once you know what you are going to do for the year, put everything under the microscope… analyze the market segments within your membership. Look at stakeholders and markets outside of your immediate membership. Ask yourself who needs the information you are going to communicate.This allows you to begin defining your audiences. The key here is to define them as discretely or minutely as possible. With technologies and capabilities today to identify and reach audiences more finely, it is crucial that you segment these audiences as much as possible. Why? Because this helps you to be more relevant and meaningful – the more targeted you are, the more relevant and compelling you are to the audience. The more relevant and compelling you are, the more valuable you become to them. Just like with marketing, communications is all about targeting… it’s about CONNECTING with your audiences. To connect, you need to be able to find them first.
Once you know the audiences as finely as you can cut them, you then need to differentiate between the decision makers and the influencers within those audience.Often times, an organization will be communicating with an influencer but using messages meant for a decision maker – this doesn’t establish the connection you need. And therefore your messages don’t resonate, your call to action often goes unanswered. The dynamic between influencer and decision maker is an important one – it happens with the stakeholders in each of your associations. Talk to your members… understand who influences them. And then use those influencers as another touchpoint in your communications activities to impact the decision makers in your audiences and get them to take action.
Once you have identified each audience, including decision makers and influencers – and you may find some influencers have an impact on more than one audience – you can begin to map them out in a larger stakeholder map. This helps you visualize and grasp the breadth of your audiences when you are preparing your programs, messages and deliverables. It also helps you see how some interrelate.
Once you have mapped your audiences and influencers over those audiences, your next step is to figure out where and how they get their information. So as I mentioned at the opening, it is more important to hit the target, yes. But when looking for the right weapon – which could be an information source such as your magazine or newsletter – as well as how the bullet will be delivered and the trigger pulled – which could be a digital version of your communications vehicle that you push out through an interactive email to your members – you need to begin with the information sources your members value and trust.Why? So that you can make sure that your association sends information through those sources and others to maximize your impact and reach the audiences and influencers. Again, it helps you establish CONNECTION with your members. And connection and relevance mean value.If you are able, try to assess the relative importance or weighting that your audiences give to those information sources… How? ASK THEM! This should NOT be guesswork! Conduct surveys. Online tools like surveymonkey or websurveyor or others. Newer tools like twtpoll.
If we don’t understand each audience’s perspective – their different perceptions of the world – and how we can connect with them to create compelling messages, we cannot possibly hope to reach them no matter what the weapon is or who pulls the trigger!So this comes down to knowing the audience’s needs, pains and wants… what keeps them up at night… what impacts them more significantly…
Once you have identified each audience, including decision makers and influencers, you can begin to craft messages in a way that resonates with each of them. Some of your messages will be the same – these are your CORE messages.Others will be tailored to those perspectives I just mentioned in the previous slide. These are what help you connect to the audience. If these messages relate to their own self interests, they are more likely to pay attention and take action. As a general rule of thumb, people need to hear a message 7 times before it begins to sink in. Plan your communications mix accordingly. And this includes picking the right weapons or communications vehicles before you pull the trigger.
The challenge now comes in putting it all together to create value in the eyes of your members and stakeholders. To connect with them and compel them to some action. You started with your plan, goals and objectives. You identified your audiences, including influencers and decision makers. You learn how they like to receive information and gain insight into the various audience perspectives by understanding their needs, wants and pains. And you have mapped a core set of messages as well as tailored messages to each audience.Now put it together with your communications programs.
And then pick your weaponsDecide which mix of communications vehicles will reach the audiences with those messagesAnd then pull the triggerDetermine which mix of channels over which the communications vehicles will travel to your audiences.Hopefully, if you have done your job well, with proper preparation, you will hit the bulls eye.
The end goal is hitting the target to compel your audiences to actionEstablish connection by understanding your audiences moreConnecting with audiences means being relevant and building valueDifferentiate between decision makers and influencersKnow their information sources – don’t just guessMap core messages and tailored messages to each audienceDetermine the mix of vehicles (weapons) and channels (the trigger) to deliver the messagesUse what you know about your audience to be more targeted, effective and compelling
ASAE09 Annual Mtg B Monterio Slides V2 31 Jul09
Creating Clear and Compelling Messages: Ready, Aim, Fire!<br />Target Your Audiences Effectively<br />Sunday, August 16, 2009<br />3:15 pm – 4:30 pm<br />Brad Monterio<br />Vice Chair, Communication Section Council<br />www.asaecenter.org<br />Connecting Great Ideas and Great People<br />
“It is far more <br />important to be <br />able to hit the <br />target than it is to haggle <br />over who <br />makes a weapon or who pulls a trigger.”<br />Dwight D. Eisenhower<br />
INFORMATION SOURCES?<br />“It is far more important to be able to hit thetarget than it is to haggle over who makes a weapon or who pulls <br />a trigger.”<br />
To effectivelycommunicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceivethe world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. <br />-Anthony Robins, life coach<br />