Most customer communications, marketing content and sales conversations are 30 to 50% less effective than they should be. Proof can be seen in over a decade of 3rd party market research, which is summarized into the following Customer Communications Index:
Less than 50% of your marketing and sales communications are relevant to your customers
Less than 30% of your marketing content is relevant to your customer-facing teams
This substantial communications gap is caused by 5 primary problems in the way most companies go-to-market.
Top 5 Causes of Ineffective Customer Communications
1) Volume Management
The primary metric by which Marketing is managed is the volume of content produced. How many pieces of collateral were created, campaigns run, sales tools produced, and training programs delivered? There is little incentive to produce more effective content when effectiveness is not being measured and used as a management tool. In the time, quality, and cost equation, quality is a distant third. It’s a primary driver for why content that is very well written, but not very influential.
Solution: Benchmark your customer communications against the index above. Then launch an improvement program and measure results versus the index and other KPI’s quarterly.
2) Poor Cost Visibility
There is no line item in the P&L for ineffective customer communication costs. They are hidden in the company’s business model in the form of higher discounting, lower win rates, and slower revenue and market share growth. It’s hidden in Sales’ (field, inside, field marketing, sales operations) and the channel partners’ budgets as the 15-20% of their time spent trying to close the gap between what they need to effectively do their job, and what Marketing produces.
Solution: Gain visibility into the true cost of ineffective customer communication using these six quick analysis points.
3) Persuasive Messaging Is Missing
Another cause of ineffective customer communications is that persuasive messaging, the most important style of messaging as measured by its ability to persuade the most people to engage and buy, is largely missing.
This problem exists because most companies do not:
- Differentiate messaging from marketing content and sales conversations (See visual)
- Know how to determine what categories, styles and types of messaging are required for greater market success (See visual)
Solution: Read the article 5 Easy Steps to Make Your Customer Communications 30 to 50% More Influential.
4) Lack of Methodology and Skills
Knowing the messaging required for greater market success is necessary but not sufficient. You must also know “how to do it”. Historically, creating messaging was more art than science. The marketing profession did not have access to a repeatable methodology to define, create and deploy highly persuasive messaging into the content and conversations used to engage customers. Many Executives are “shoulding” all over there marketing team by expecting them to know “how to do it”. It’s clearly not working.
We know the “how to do it” problem exists because, year after year, little, if anything, changes. Companies continue to engage customers with mostly descriptive content and conversations.
Solution: Get the Buyers Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Engage Customers with the Most Influential Communications
5) Perceived Shortage of Time and Resources
This top 5 list would not be complete without discussing this fundamental organizational challenge. Most marketing professionals know that much of their marketing content is not effective and they would like to improve it. What’s holding them back is the perception that they lack the time and resources to do better.
Solution: More effective prioritization. Calculating the cost of ineffective customer communications will help build a strong business case for creating less, but more effective, content. And, as the organization builds persuasive messaging skills, the volume of influential content will increase.