An interesting column in at ForeignPolicy.com says this of the Egyptian uprising:
“It underscores the new reality facing Arab regimes: They no long control the message.” Competing messages gets out via satellite and digital technologies. The days command and control dwindle. (see: The Al Jazeera Revolution)
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If even ruthless dictators can’t control the message, how can you as a marketer control yours?
Jerry Andelin, the Hall of Fame art director used to say, “If it were easy, anyone could do it.” If you want your message to take hold, and hold up to the pressures of the market, you have a few things to do before you settle on a message strategy. This is especially true if you depend heavily on social media.
You need a understand exactly what your product offers and doesn’t offer. You have to know its customer benefits – the desirable results the customer can expect. This goes far beyond listing of features. You have to know its strengths and weaknesses.
You have to identify the communities you wish to join. Within the communities, understand customers’ practical needs. And even more important, understand what emotions are at play – what are they feeling, in any aspect of their life that somehow relates to your product, and why?
Finally, you have to understand your competition, what they’re saying to your customers, and what the customers think about them. Understand the competition of “doing nothing” – resistance to change.
Only then can you craft positioning statements, value propositions and your other strategic messages.
Still, you’re at the beginning of the process. You have a long list of touchpoints to align with your messages and your company’s personality. It takes a lot of work to get your whole organization on board.
Perhaps hardest of all for some marketers, you must make sure the reality of your products and services match the strategic perception and position you’re trying to achieve.
Whether its social media, events, traditional marketing, politics or governance, don’t just jump right in. Develop your strategies in a systematic, methodical way, and make sure they’re aligned with what you actually produce.
As we’re all being reminded, it’s getting harder and harder to govern without the consent of the governed. You sure as hell can’t market without the buy-in of your community.