Honing your Web Project Communication Style |
by Rose Holston | April 1, 2013

Four [on the fly] questions that help align expectations.

runaway-trainFeeling stressed after being tasked with a Web project? Most people don’t appreciate the complexity between understanding expectations and actually launching online

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that meet them, not really. It feels like being on a runaway train.

Take Social media– a few years ago no one ever heard of it, now it’s everywhere and people don’t believe they can function without it. But, in between the not knowing why it’s important and feeling an urgent need to be good at it, lies a huge stress

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zone. Your boss wants a Social media campaign and it’s up to you to provide one, even though none of the objectives are clear. We get that.

So we want to give you four questions you can ask on the fly to clarify what the expectations are and align them with reasonable outcomes.

  1. What is the unmet need?
  2. What is the current state?
  3. What is the ideal future state?
  4. What do we need to get there?

Instead of your boss coming in and saying “We need to start a Twitter campaign to make the company look more progressive” and you saying “I’ll get right on it,” not knowing what she’s really looking for, you begin with…

You: “What is our unmet need?”

Boss: “To prove ourselves as a more progressive company.”

You: “How are we not looking progressive right now? (What is our current state?)”

Boss: “We don’t use Twitter and all of our competitors, as well as most of our suppliers and vendors do. We’re out of the loop. We are operating in a way that is

dated, which may explain why most of our

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customers are among an older demographic. It is part of our growth strategy to reach out to a younger group of consumers.”

You: “Alright then. What are we hoping will happen when we create a Twitter campaign? (Ideal future state?)”

Boss: Growth of our customer base, particularly in the 34-64 age brackets.”

Okay, this conversation has helped to clarify what the boss is looking for.

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Ideally, she wants to grow a specific customer base. A Social media campaign may or may not do it. But delving into Social media, if done right, will definitely help your image as a progressive company. Your boss associates Twitter with Social media. You know there are other Social channels and other strategies that might be considered to meet the ideal future state. But now at least you know where to start.

Next, ask yourself, “how do we get there?” Of course, understanding the psychological effects of creating a checklist, you’ve begun creating your Web project checklist of things-to-do to get the ball rolling right?

A great source to collect data that will support your recommendations and find Social stats is the Pew Internet Report, an annual report created by the Pew Research Center. In a 2013 report, statistics showed that:

  • Nearly 75 percent of people 30-49 and nearly 60 percent of people 50-64 use Social media.
  • Nearly 70 percent use Facebook and 16 percent use Twitter. But the number of Twitter users doubles every year, especially among younger adults.

That information tells your boss it’s feasible to launch a campaign that includes Twitter and other Social channels to make the company look progressive.

To grow the customer base, particularly the 34-64 age bracket audience, we need a little more information. Questions begin to pop into your head like, what are the triggers and motivations of your key demographic? What speaks to this audience? What do they watch, read, buy? What Social media do they use and what do they use them for? What kind of content is likely to get them engaged with a Social media channel?

Now it’s time to share your findings with the boss. It’s much clearer to see that going Social means developing online content that meets those needs. Now you just need to reach out to your audience on their chosen Social channels and track your progress.

So if you feel like your company’s online marketing strategies are like a runaway train, stop everything. Take a deep breath. And start with question one.

  1. What is the unmet need?

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