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  • Scott McInnes

#41 | HELLO?! I'm over here!

drawing of stick people one stick person is circled in red

Go to Amazon, Spotify or Netflix (as I do often) and you'll see messages like:

'Based on your previous purchases, we thought you might like these items'

'Inspired by your shopping trends....'

'Made for Scott McInnes....'

Using your purchasing, viewing or listening habits and preferences, these channels are picking relevant content and products for you - making it easy for you to access stuff that you might like.

It's almost as if they care!! Of course they don't - they know that if they personalise content and products to better meet your needs, you're more likely to buy. The End. And you like it too, because it makes your life easier.

Marketing companies have been doing it with direct mail for years - targeting particular and services at specific segments with particular needs. It's more cost effective for them to mail 100,000 people for whom they know the product or service is relevant, than mail 10,000,000 for whom the message MIGHT be relevant.

So why aren't we doing this at work?

Today we have a bunch of channels - email, town halls, intranet, yammer, slack, Facebook @ work, posters to name a few - which tend to have one thing in common, they all say just one thing. They don't differentiate between you, the 24 year-old grad, long-timer Bill on reception, or the caretaker.

Everyone gets the same message, at the same time through the same channel.

Whether they need the information or not. Whether it's relevant to them or not.

So here are some thoughts on how you can start to personalise content to better meet the needs of your audience and, in doing so, land your message more effectively

Three questions to ask

There are three questions to ask yourself every time you send a message: 1. What do people want?

2. When do they want it?

3. How do they want to receive it?

Leaders are key

Leaders are the ultimate communications channel when it comes to communication. They know their teams, what's going on in people's lives and how to land messages with each of them most impactfully. However, to be most effective, you need to ensure that they have the tools, support, confidence and experience to be that channel. Simply throwing them a PowerPoint deck and asking them to brief their team is a waste of time.

Channels are getting there

We are seeing increasing ability to personalise communications channels. Personalising intranet homepages is a great example - the ability for me to turn on my computer in the morning and see the stuff that I want to see and news about the things that I'm interested in. And yes, perhaps we need an override if there's a big, important message we want to get out there but, generally, there isn't.

Employee personas

Even the most basic personas can make a difference - in which department do they work? However, if you choose to, then getting into age, gender, location, department can allow you to choose language, positioning and channel that truly suits each of the individuals in your organisation.

THEN look at channels

We’ve too much focus on 'channel first' and, often, we bend to the 'Can you just put this on the intranet' or 'please send this mail to all staff - it ABSOLUTELY has to be to ALL Staff'. With a bit more planning and thinking we can go back to colleagues in the business and given them good reason as to why that's not a good idea and, possibly, a better option.

So think about what you're saying and to who and how you can make that language as relevant and engaging as possible for that particular audience.


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