Communications is a resource that we need to exploit for our benefit.
Exploitation has a bad connotation, but it is not a bad word. Exploitation means to make use of and benefit from a resource. Communication is a resource that we should be using to benefit us.
There are two other missed opportunities to exploit communications to benefit our cause:
• Employee Communications – There are so many events and occasions that are underutilized because employees are not aware. So many due dates are missed because employees let deliverables slip through the cracks. Yes, you sent emails telling them when the budget details are due. They also received hundreds of other emails of varying importance. Advertising and Marketing has its “Rule of 7." Information consumers need to hear a message seven times before they will consider acting. Repetition is key to successful communications.
• Customer Communications – We have great events, classes, products and offerings, but we are not getting any traction. We spent money on advertising, but we are not attracting new business. Maybe your advertising is effective and beautifully crafted, but if no one sees it, no one acts on it.
Why is the IT guy lecturing us on communications and advertising? Because technology can help. There are a lot of opportunities to generate the communication repetition you need with technology. The consumers of the information you are trying to reach, employees and customers, can be right in front of you. Consider these technology-driven communication strategies:
• Digital Signage – All companies have large format monitors in their conference rooms and classrooms. Most have large monitors or televisions in lobbies, cafeterias and common areas. Digital signage provides the ability to display custom content on broadcast television or presentations on these
Think about the crawl across the bottom of the screen while you are watching cable news channels. Think about the images down the right side of the screen. It would be great to display employee-consumable information in the cafeteria with major events, milestones and due dates for employees to see while watching Dr. Phil on their lunch break or on a conference room interactive touchscreen.
Another example is to advertise yoga and spinning classes, accessories and events to customers as they sit in your gym’s cafe after a workout. And consider the revenue opportunities of providing space on the lobby television or monitor for local businesses to advertise their products and services to your customers. Digital signage is inexpensive, impressive and can have a very attractive ROI.
• Greeting Technology – It is still 2021 as of this writing. When I walk into a business, I am usually greeted by someone that wants me to sanitize my hands, put on a mask and take my temperature prior to admission. There are technology offerings that can provide this service along with so much more. I have implemented devices that resemble a tablet on a stand sitting on a reception desk. Visitors look into the screen as they enter.
This device does facial recognition in under two seconds to validate identity of known employees and visitors or capture images for new ones. The device also takes the user’s temperature and either allows or denies access based on a temperature threshold. It can be programmed to ask users to remove their mask temporarily for the scan or to put on a mask if a mask is not present. It can be programmed to ask for metadata such as name, company, and who they are here to see and take appropriate actions. Some even come with built in hand sanitizing gel dispensers. And while you have their attention, let’s provide information on our events, classes and specials.
These are just two of many examples. The key is to think outside of the box and use technology to improve communications. Technology can be exploited to drive incremental sales, inform consumers, generate revenue, and never miss an opportunity to impress and inform.
About the Author:
John Miller is Founder and CIO of Real-CIO Consulting (www.real-cio.com). Real-CIO Consulting is a Professional Services organization founded to provide strategic Interim and Virtual CIO Consulting Services to companies that are between IT Leaders or cannot justify a full-time CIO. Most importantly, it is founded to “Pay IT Forward” by providing leadership coaching and mentoring services to those looking to advance in their careers.