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Name of the Game

Recently, I came across Alison from JoJo Maman Bébé with thanks to Val Down and Jane Buswell.  Alison is a four wheel driver, with a husband in finance in the city.  He escaped the down turn in the economy with the skin of his teeth.  Alison spends her leisure time at the gym, the nail bar and the hairdressers when she is not looking after her two pre-school kids.  They are in pre-school nursery on a part time basis. Alison reads Marie Claire cover to cover most months.  She is, however, well educated and is on a career break from her PR communications role at a well known city firm.

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When you are communicating your business messages in writing do you consider your audience?  I mean, really consider your audience – singular like JoJo Maman Bébé?

You could be selling to the same sex, but different age groups – that’s ok but they need different messages.  Choose one; write to Bridget (aged 60) rather than many.  Then try writing to Bernie (aged 40) then Britney (aged 20).  What do they look like, what are they wearing, where do they meet, what do they talk about, what are their living arrangements and how do they earn a living?  You can add your own questions specific to your business offer.  The messages will be different!

Ah – I hear you cry.  Consumer clients are much easier to identify than corporate!  Maybe; maybe not?

If you are selling into the corporate market – there are many buyers that you need to convince; the technician, the head of dept, the finance director, the HR manager.  What are their names, what do they look like, what do they read, who are they accountable to and for what?  What is in it for them? The words you choose, the sentence structures and the content will be subtly different because the psychological reasons for their buying are different.

Consider John; he is the FD of a multinational.  He is a 50 year old man who has stepped up through the ranks into dead men’s shoes.  He is married has two teenage kids close to university age.  He is a quietly confident yet dominant alpha male.  As finance director his responsibility is to ensure a specific return on any capital expenditure which he rigorously applies to all aspects of the business.  He reads the Financial Times of course.  How you communicate with John is going to be different to Janet the HR manager of the same multinational.  She is female and has a very different persona.  Her job role is significantly more people orientated recognising, moreover that there are legal implications if rigorous standards aren’t met.  It is the same target company, same product offering, and two different psychological reasons for buying.

We know that we can’t be all things to all people and yet more often than not publicity is worded to maximise the potential use of marketing material.  However, doing so fails to get any message across adequately. Of course communicating separately to a portfolio of target clients may seem daunting but the task becomes so much simpler when you know that you are talking to Janet or talking to John.

Do tell – to whom are you writing?

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