Media Strategies: Right Time, Right Tactic

We’ve all used them, forms for collecting information about a client request. There is usually a blank space on the form for intended audience, and space to fill in program objectives. But that’s not enough. Communicators need to know more. Where is the client in the organizational lifecycle? Are they a startup, or a well-established brand? Is the request for promotion of a legacy product or the latest thing just out of the lab?

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Every organization, as well as every product, goes though an evolutionary lifecycle. Effective communication depends on delivering the right media asset, at the right time. At the early stages in the evolutionary lifecycle, general information will be of more value than a detailed training package or an in-depth tutorial. While it true that something is better than nothing, it doesn’t make sense to spend scarce budget dollars creating ill-timed communication resources.

A recent study done by IDG Research asked technology and business buyers about their information preferences as they move through the sales cycle. Early on, buyers seek out general information about an organization, a product, or service. Buyers prefer documentation that allows them to evaluate the offering against their business need.

In creating a shortlist of final vendors, educational content becomes critical to the decision process. At this stage in the cycle, web-based, rich media makes it easier for people across an organization to participate in the review and selection process. Webcasts are a particularly effective communications tool at this stage of the sales cycle.

At the final decision phase, case studies, testimonials, and tutorials/demos are important in differentiating a vendor’s offering.

Communicators owe it to their clients to help them use limited budgets wisely, with investments in the most effective media asset for a given point in the sales cycle. Vendors that offer the right mix of content at the right time will have greater influence on decision makers. The correct content strategy for each phase of the sales cycle will increase the likelihood of making a sale and building long-term customer loyalty.

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