Tag Archives: communication

Segmenting Your Audience

It’s interesting that marketeers are so focused on segmenting their audience and project managers often aren’t.

To the marketeer it’s not about finding a message that will resonate with everyone, but finding a small group of interested people on the verge of making a purchase and tailoring the message to them. To a marketeer the ideal audience is small, but well understood. Things can grow from there.

The reverse is true of the project manager, for the status update or the request to update time sheet it’s about broadcasting the same message to as large a group as possible. The emphasis is often about efficiency of communication.

Perhaps project managers can learn something from marketeers. Something to think about for your next update or request – does everyone need to receive the same message? Of course it will take longer to tailor your message, but how many people are reading your status reports currently?

The Value of Having Others Share Your Message

When communicating the value of your project, having others spread the word is far more impactful (and scaleable) than communicating it yourself. Surprisingly, electronics manufactures do well here. High Definition and more recently 3D television are big new categories for electronics. The value of HD and even 3D are now being communicated by all sorts of products far beyond the electronics industry, the examples below are toothpaste and paint, but the value of what electronics is selling is implicitly promoted as being premium.

It’s important to determine who can effectively communicate the value of your project.

Getting Your Message Across

Conventional messages are often ignored. Coming at things from a different angle, can help get your message across.

Innovation at Anheuser-Busch

Interesting guest blog here on the HBR site concerning how Anheuser-Busch (the US beer company behind Budweiser) thinks about innovation. What I liked about it was not so much the plan they outline, but how it is communicated very clearly.

Sometimes coming up with a plan is the easy part. The challenge is sharing the plan clearly and simply, and Patrick O’Riordan appears to communicate the plan well.

Three Tips for ‘lightweight’ projects

Large or expensive projects often have project managers, but smaller, shorter projects with just a handful of people on the team may not have anyone with formal project management ability. Here are a few tips for effectiveness in that situation:

1. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

24% of projects fail outright, but given a new project people typically like to get stuck in believing they’ll be successful. Perhaps they will but stats suggest that you should spend 20% of the duration of the project planning it. Seems counter-intuitive, but many mistakes are avoidable by thinking things through in advance. For a 3 month project, that means the necessary planning time is 12 days, that might feel like an unwelcome delay, but the impact on project effectiveness will be dramatic.

2. Pre-mortems

People love to be optimistic, a pre-mortem does the opposite. A post-mortem is looking at things after they have happened for success and failure. A pre-mortem considers that the project has failed (an assumption) and invites participants to look at why that’s the case. The assumption of failure frees people up to poke holes in the plan and think about a better outcome.

3. Communication

Most project failures are due to lack of communication, people don’t communicate enough and assume that just because an email has been sent it has been read. Just as in consumer marketing people need to see a message 3 times before they remember it, make sure you are repeating your message.

2010 Trends: #3 – Social Media

Not new, but more mainstream. Real-time search becomes a reality as more and more content on the web is generated every minute and organizing it becomes more useful. Your social graph becomes as relevant as mainstream media as a source of information you care about. Companies become less reliant on advertising and their message and more reliant on their customers views and comments. The need for managing different personas becomes more relevant as people try to separate their work from their personal life, or simply become more comfortable with blurring the two.

For project managers, this offers new ways to recruit talent, to communicate with stakeholders and even determine and refine the project portfolio in the first place.

Communication and Change Management

In the world of consumer marketing, people are shown a barrage adverts multiple times over an extended period of time via different media such as TV, radio, print to drive behavioral change whether it’s to try a new cereal or purchase dairy products more often. Compare that to the corporate world, where often a single memo, training class or even an email is can be deemed sufficient to drive change.

It seems organizations could learn from consumer marketing campaigns – often more time is spent on crafting the right message than considering opportunities to repeat it over time.

Where’s the marketing campaigne for the internal change you want to drive?