Making Internal Newsletters More Relevant

newsletter

Internal NewsletterToday far more information is being generated every hour than ever before. Because of this, some people are experiencing overdose of information. Same is true for corporate internal communications and therefore newsletters are growing in size. In order to understand how internal newsletters could be made more relevant and effective, one must understand how people consume information in todays time and improve newsletters.

People are consuming more: Since more information is being generated, more is being consumed! This may not mean that people have substantially increased the time they spend consuming information; it may just mean that they are consuming more efficiently.  Here are some efficient mediums:

  • Video information: Internal Newsletters too may adopt this medium. It need not be as advanced as news channels but simple webcam communication, recorded Webinars, Cell phone recorded snippets from leaders could be a great way to communicate content.
  • Infographics: Marketers have latched on to infographics so fast that most companies are coming up with new infographics for their client. However same could be used for internal communication and newsletters.

People look for curated information: People trust on reliable people for filtering out irrelevant and unnecessary information and presenting the most important once. Social media has enabled this feature very effectively.  Internal newsletters could leverage this practice. Digital newsletters may be provided with feature for rating articles. Articles that are very good would get highly rated and may attract people to read. Also leadership team may be given a chance to recommend articles. If any article is recommended by a top leader, then his fans would read the article. This leads to curation by highlighting rather than by elimination.

Customized Content & Delivery: People are looking for sources that customize information to individual’s needs. Internal newsletters too need to grow in this direction. Instead of one size fit all approach of creating one newsletter for everybody in a company, several versions of newsletters may be generated. The key question here would be to segment the population right. Here are some ways:

  • Format Segmentation: Senior members may prefer a simple text format whereas younger population may prefer more colourful format.
  • Rich media Vs Text: Some people might prefer watching video or read thought infographics whereas some may prefer good old text
  • Medium Segmentation: Some may prefer Email, some may prefer print, and some may prefer tablet while some may prefer cell phone.

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Initially, one may choose to release all possible combinations of the above and find the top 3/4 popular combinations so that unpopular combinations could be eliminated to save costs.

Asking for suggestions: How may times do you ask your employees, what kind of information he is looking for? Providing information that employees want with information that you want to distribute is like adding advertisement in between entertainment programs, a model that evidently works!

Tactical Method to Run Successful Content Marketing

Today everyone is talking about content marketing and every day I come across quick tips on how to succeed with content marketing. But the truth is that content marketing is a very long drawn marketing technique that requires lot of rigor and discipline to bring taste of success. Key benefit of the extra effort is the sticky nature of content marketing that keeps customer in for longer and more loyal. If you are game for it, then here are is ways to go about it:

Audience: As is in any marketing strategy, content marketing too starts with identification of Content Marketing Strategycustomers, demographic and psychographic study and classification. Upon completion of the same, the content marketer needs to listen to them on social media, blogs, speaking events, etc and understand what issues and topics they are talking about. Once this is determined, select the ones that is addressed by your firm, which is the target topic to hit your audience with.

Content Strategy: Once you have the topics, see who has latest updates on the same in your firm and contact him for assistance in content creation. Purpose is to draw a 6 months content topic plan so that you could execute on the same. You may want to tie up with content writers and publishers to help you in execution. Content creation is done by picking several sub topics in the main topic. Once these sub topics are put in calendar to the following steps:

1. Secondary research: Google to understand what is the exact body of knowledge.

2. Primary research: Connect with people in your organisation on their point of view, connect with eminent people in your circle or connected through people in your firm to get their opinion and collate the same.

3. Explore possibility of doing some number crunching for local marketing and relevant to your target audience.

4. Build chain to thoughts in order to ISSUE –> STATS –> SOLUTION –> YOUR FIRM’S AFFIRMATIVE ACTIONS.

5. Script: Once the thoughts are in place, get a content writer to pen everything in following manner which ever is suitable: Blogs, Whitepaper, Publication, Speaker event.

Content Delivery: Distribution of content depends on kind of content. If its blog then it goes with your blogs section, Whitepaper goes with slideShare. A Speaker event record goes into YouTube. You must have the following platforms to ensure effective delivery: SlideShare, YouTube, Blogs section, Facebook, LinkedIn, Newsletters, Closed customer Groups on LinkedIn, Email distribution list. One could reuse content by say blogging about a speaker event or whitepaper on the same. Ensure there is some new developments covered while reusing content.

Listening: Once your content reaches your audience, follow up with them about their thoughts by a phone call, their comments on social media, blogs. Doing so would really ensure they participate and provide their opinion. This again could be a content creation lead! Remember, A blogger who blogs often, seldom falls short of topics to blog on!

Benefits: Since you are involving people from your organisation for content creation, there is information passing into your organisation about needs of the market and knowledge passing from experienced professionals to the needy. Since clients see your people and their desires to be part of the solution, there is greater trust and faith that the issues will be resolved.

How Companies Could Avoid Getting Obsolete

Staying relevant with times and not getting obsolete and out of business is single biggest concerns of any large established company. There are several companies that have died a slow death for having a myopic view of the market. Management gurus have always encouraged large companies to adopt, be agile and innovate in order to stay relevant in the market but there is a need to have a guiding method that in a systematic manner ensure this is happening in a measurable way.

Its PURPOSE, not SOLUTION : Companies today are not about products but Purposesolution they are offering to their customer, constantly redefining ways how they are solving their client’s problems. Doing this helps companies in ensuring they stay relevant among clients in the presence of competition. But how about complimentary products? So often seen in the IT & electronics industry; some break through complimentary product ends up killing market for a bunch of companies… sometimes innovative companies.  Book stores were brought to heel by e-commerce, e-commerce is being brought to heel by Ipads and IPads would be brought to heels by something absolutely different! a complimentary product. So how do companies ensure they are staying relevant always? Yup, PURPOSE! Perhaps for book manufacturers, purpose could be constantly moving ideas from experts to needy!

Now what other benefits does that serve?

Your employees will always keep this in mind and reorient with minimum resistance when need for change arises. Company will be quick to spot and exploit opportunities whenever a new technology arises that has potential to grow complimentary products. Not to mention the high motivation levels that a PURPOSE provides to human beings!

Turbocharge House of Quality with Social Media

Social Media & House of Quality_Banner

In todays highly competitive environment, companies are finely segmenting their market and optimizing their product to delight their target segment. Since aspirations, desires and expectations of the target segment keeps changing, companies are constantly tweaking their products and innovating to adopt to the demand change. The House of Quality (HoQ) Matrix is the most recognized and widely used form of Quality Function Deployment (QFD) to achieve this end. It translates customer requirements into an appropriate number of engineering targets to be met by a product design.

Raise of Social Media is fast changing the way companies interact with people and how people interact with companies. People are freely communicating their true feeling on this platform and companies are trying to find ways to capture this data and use it to its benefit.

In this blog, I would explain how companies could use social media to turbocharge HoQ in order to reduce the lead time between changing customer aspiration and delivering customized products. This blog does not intend to explain HoQ in itself. For more on HoQ, click: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~vardeman/IE361/f01mini/johnson.pdf

(Paid) http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/1993-spring/3434/how-puritanbennett-used-the-house-of-quality/

How to couple Social Media to House of Quality?

For successfully coupling Social Media and House Of Quality, we must first have the the right infrastructure such as prominent social media presence in Facebook, tweeter, LinkedIn etc. Once we have prominent presence, we must form a team comprising of all stake holders for House of Quality:

New Stake Holders of House of Quality

Once we cautiously bring the team together and set context we must bring clarity on role of each stake holder. Applying principles of change management would be a good starting point for implementation. As is the case in every process, no one size fits all and every firm must find their sweet spot.

What are the top 3 Key Benefits?

  1. Social Media would help House of Quality document become a continuously changing and accurate document that can be referred by R&D team regularly and produce products that delight customer.
  2. More transparent and system driven approach to understanding customer requirements and allocating resources to meet the requirements.
  3. Reduced lead time between customers requiring a change and the company providing it. This leads to tremendous competitive advantage

In conclusion, House of Quality needs to be a very dynamically updated and proactive document. In order to achieve this, we need to get customer input for the document in real time. Social Media could help us do so in a systematic manner. Achieving this feat would ultimately provide companies with competitive advantage and help them delight their customer.