Why you can’t control the message any more

Mon 03 Aug 2015

All the communication channels we use as individuals and as businesses are changing.  Those who keep up will flourish.  Anything less local than the shop on the corner of your street will die if they do not.

It’s not a new sentiment and it’s probably one you’ve heard before and shrugged off, or covered your ears yelling, “la-la-la” because you don’t want to listen.  However, if your market is in Britain these are things you need to know:

It is predicted that 65% of UK shoppers will buy something online in 2015.  The British already spend more, and a larger proportion of, their cash online than consumers in any other country in the world.  In recent years, predictions like these have generally been on the conservative side.
You may think this just means you need to polish up your website and add a shopping cart to start reaping the benefits, and you would be utterly and completely wrong.

Think of the great communication technologies of the last century; telephone, radio, television, telemarketing.  Then came email and the chance to spontaneously and virtually at no cost, blitz potential customers with news of your wonderful wares.  What has happened to all these things?
Telephony is just one tiny adjunct to the social media engine every teenager and older carries around in their pockets.  Ask a teenager what they use their phone for and it will be primarily for messaging using such ubiquitous tools as Snapchat and Kik, sending images, of course, garnered using the same device.  Landlines are a thing of the past, fading fast.  A UK survey carried out last year found that more than a third of people ignore their home phone when it rings, expecting it to be a sales or nuisance call – not great news for telemarketeers. 

Twenty-eight per cent don’t even know their own number and only keep a landline for their broadband connection. 

Radio listening has long been in an almost imperceptibly slow decline but thirty-five percent of UK listening is now done via the internet.  Television is under assault from companies like Amazon and Netflicks whose mass of downloadable content has already helped eradicate the video rental shop you used to visit.  Send someone a blanket email selling at them and you’re most likely to receive unsubscribe requests or complaints.

Broadcasting, messaging at people, will not help your business anymore.  To promote their interest, to gain their trust, you have to converse with them.  Lots of people don’t actually like having conversations with their customers.  They’re as likely to tell them things they don’t like as things they do.  They will ask for things to be done differently; delivery methods, packaging, even the products or services themselves.  The question is, do you know how to have those conversations in the right places and the right ways so that people will think better of you and your business?  Do it right and it could do wonders for your bottom line.  Do it wrong.. well, let’s hope you run a corner shop.

If you think it’s time to learn the modern art of conversation, find yourself a PR professional who’s already doing it.

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