Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do You Know Who You're Talking To?

This morning I encountered, for the xillionth time, a pitch for a great new product. There is a clear niche it could fill, and no one else is doing it, the pitchman said - so why aren't people jumping on board?

This person had the answer to the number one question start-up advisers say needs to be answered: What problem does your product solve?

But he didn't have the answer to another, extremely important question: Who are you talking to? This question is the corner piece of any good communications strategy.

If you have a solution to a problem that only affects a very small audience, it's going to be much, much harder to gain traction, even if the product is an excellent idea.

And, if there are any other near-solutions already embedded in the industry, even if they aren't as perfect as your solution, you're going to have to be that much more convincing to pry people away from tried-and-true methods.

So, before you start your new Social Media campaign for that exciting new product, take a second to decide just *who* you need to be speaking to. Do you need to get your industry on board first? Or your peers for review? Perhaps it doesn't matter and you need to get end users first and foremost.

Then map out *where* you intend on speaking with these folks and *how* you plan on bringing them into your fold. Fans do not typically hang out in the same spaces as industry peers - and they rarely use the same language. Match your communications to the venue and the audience

Have a plan for engagement. "Hi everyone, I have a great idea!" is often the tone taken by companies when they appeal to their consumer base. Great ideas are everywhere. What you need is a great plan for execution.

Then, lastly, have a clear, concise way to measure commitment. Know what it is you are trying to achieve - perhaps your first step is simply getting people to sign up, then you hope to convert a percentage to the paying model. Know this first, so you can be honest about your success or failure.

Who you plan on talking to is a critical corner piece of your business' puzzle. Get that organized and you'll find that the rest of your plan will begin to come together neatly.

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