As communicators we focus so much on the content, that we may forget communication is about right place, right time as well.
Communication works best if it takes place in the right place. That could be online for someone in the office, a poster at a station for a commuter on their way to work, or in a lifestyle magazine for someone at home at the weekend. In all these contexts, the consumer is likely to be in an “information receiving” frame of mind. They might be experiencing the problem at the moment the communication takes place. That’s why summer holidays are advertised in mid-winter.
The multi-channel environment has created problems as well as opportunities as consumers switch rapidly between different digital and offline channels. We have a matter of seconds to grab customers’ attention and give them a compelling reason to respond. If we choose a relevant place to communicate, it has to be reinforced with a relevant message. That message must be more interesting than their immediate surroundings.
The right time might be multiple times. Communicators can build up a series of trigger dates when consumers are most receptive. It could be a birthday, national event, or public holiday. The communication could be enhanced with offers and bonuses connected to the trigger date. The right time also means the communication must be more interesting than the current task they are engaged in.
This is proactive communication, what about reactive?
The right time is just as important. When customers need information or when they have a problem, they need a good response – fast. The response is about listening and understanding first. Then it is important to propose practical solutions and take ownership for solving the problem, again, at the right time.
Inspired by an article in CIM Exchange, December 2017