Thursday, May 30, 2013

Counter-intuitive Communications Knowledge

I've heard a couple of counter-intuitive pieces of knowledge that interested me from a professional point of view this week.

The first was from my friend Kate, in a guest-post for a comms blog, talking about communicating with young people. Her counter-intuitive finding is that regular through the letterbox snail mail is quite attractive to teenagers. There's a tendency to assume that the only way to reach young people is through social media, but if everyone is piling on there trying to get noticed, maybe a good old-fashioned, co-ordinated, well-written marketing mailing might be the thing instead.

The second thing was an article from CopyBlogger I saw posted on LinkedIn that cites research showing that the more emails you send the fewer people unsubscribe from your list.

I remember having an argument with an incoming senior manager at a place I used to work who said  people were complaining about 'getting too many emails'. As a result he wanted us to cut down the frequency of our regular newsletter. I said I thought that was a bad idea as even if you mailed every week, the most you would spend 'in front' of the reader was 2-3 minutes per email. Even at five minutes for a lengthy email newsletter, mailing once a month gives you an hour's exposure per year. That's not much at all if you want to use it as a relationship-building tool.

Anyway, seniority trumped common sense, as it often does and the newsletter got scaled back. The organisation that relied on relationships with the people who supported it suffered badly in the recession, and eventually the senior manager left in an undignified manner. Depending who you talk to he quit or was given the boot.

The thing with comms is you can't argue with the science, even the counter-intuitive stuff. I meet lots of people who don't get comms, and that's the main point they don't get. Good communications don't just happen.

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