Two cartoon dogs kissing

Digital Love

This article popped up in my News Feed today – it’s from LifeHacker and is about common mistakes that couples make in their communication between each other. It struck me that a lot of the lessons could easily be applied to our Marketing activity – we’ve definitely got work to do on some of them, but others I would say we’re well out in front on…

Assuming That More Communication Is the Solution

“One of the biggest mistakes is assuming that communication creates connection. For many women, this is often true (talking helps us feel connected to others) but for many men (and for some women), this is not true. It’s important to find ways to connect first, before communicating, or else the communication can just generate further feelings of hurt and disconnection. Connecting through a shared activity, acknowledging the efforts the other person makes, or even just being in physical proximity may create the needed connection required to have open and effective communication.”

We already integrate our communications with real world activities wherever possible – but we maybe need to be a little more appreciative of the level of impact that these can have in terms of our relationships ‘above’ communications

Expecting Your Partner to Read Your Mind

“You really can’t assume that your spouse knows how you feel or what you want. You don’t share the same feelings, worldview or thoughts. You might notice the dishes in the sink or remember that the kids haven’t done their homework yet, but he might not. When in doubt, say it out loud.”

We have to remember that we might need to spell out some of our messaging for supporters in our comms – they won’t have always seen everything we have before consuming the content… tricky to balance with not crowding the messaging or ask though

Giving in and Not Really Saying What You Want or Think

“Some people describe the ideal marriage as a two-way street. If you don’t have any arguments, or one side is always directing the traffic, you are riding on a one-way street without any communication. That’s not something to cheer about”

Not everyone will always like everything that we have to say. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t say it. But if we listen to all opinions and discuss the points where we differ, then we’ll end up in a better position with both them and the rest of our audience. Childhood cancers is of course a great example where we’ve had the conversation and used it to steer our behaviour / comms in the future (what a great partner we are)

Harping on about (Possibly Hopeless) Issues

“This is a communication pattern of ever-diminishing returns. Soon just the mentioning of “let’s talk” makes one want to run or hide. A pattern of talking at someone, not to someone, breeds disconnect and widens the relational rift. It does not matter how well-intended the comments are once they are delivered as a bullet point list of suggestions or a stern monotone monologue with no intermissions. Such a way is doomed to just sink in silence and can’t serve any good purpose.”

This is the biggest lesson of all for me – we should be trying to design our communications so that every single one is engaging. Every email that we broadcast which isn’t opened hurts the relationship with our supporters. The last thing we should ever do is talk AT our supporters rather than TO… Gmail and Hotmail think so too which is why they block comms and senders which aren’t engaging a wide enough audience

Not Considering Things from the Other Person’s Point of View

“Sometimes it’s just a matter of being clearer, more upfront, or knowing the best way to communicate with your partner that’s at the core of better communication. Equally important, though, is making the effort to understand things from your partner’s perspective—something we might not always remember to do. Empathy is the most important skill you can practice, personally and professionally.”

Links to the point above – we must always make our messaging as relevant to the supporters’ experience of us as we can do. We might see ourselves as 30 different products linked under a single logo but they see every message as coming from the same institution

© James Gadsby Peet 2013