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MarCom Matters

December 2012
Issue: #38

Keeping it on the Level

Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been spying on my next-door neighbors.

Okay, not on the neighbors themselves, but the stonemasons they hired to build a new porch and patio.

So far, the contractors have assembled an elegantly curved, four-foot high wall that serves as the border for an intimate outdoor dining space. From there, it’s a couple of steps down to a patio area that is shaping up to be a nifty spot for sitting and reading a book or maybe catching a mid-summer snooze.

I’ve always admired stone artisans who can fit together random pieces of rock to create patterns that are attractive and perfectly straight. Then again, I admire anyone who can build anything that comes out perfectly straight.

Because while I do just fine when it comes to repairing or extending things, I’m not so good at building stuff from scratch. Heck, even as a kid my Lincoln Log houses came out looking kind of tipsy.

One reason, I suspect, is that I lack the patience (and skill) for getting the foundation level. And if you start out with a foundation that’s out of whack, it can only get worse. On the other hand, my neighbor’s contractors spent days just measuring, leveling the base before setting the first stone.

So what’s the connection?

Just this: As a communicator, you set the foundation for brand recognition and sales revenue with the messages and content you create.

But like me and my Lincoln Logs, too many companies either forget the foundation altogether, or build it with slopes and sags. Maybe there are too many jargony brochures or the purportedly serious pieces are little more than self-promoting fluff.

To reach buyers and influencers, you need a foundation that’s just as level at the corners as it is in the middle. That means identifying all of your audiences and their roles in the purchase process, the kinds of information they need and the ways they prefer to consume that information. Then, take the time to make sure that each piece fits evenly into that form.

Once you’ve established the foundation, you can rely on it to build out those strong connections with buyers at every touch point…

The bottom line: Outbound communication programs need to be built on a level foundation made from a solid content inventory.

No doubt, getting there takes time, planning, insight and work.

The alternative? Finding yourself between a rock and a hard place.