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Communication Creates Expectations

April 12, 2021
Building and shaping customers’ impressions is part of what your brand must do, and every message you deliver will influence their expectations.

When you deliver a business communication, what is your goal? To clarify? To educate? To sell products or services? To set expectations?

What if I told you that every communication sets expectations? Especially in business. Communication style, tone, and transparency all contribute to telling a story to potential customers, and current customers, about what they should expect from your business, your brand, and/or you. How you will perform as their trusted business partner.

What if I told you every communication educates the reader about your business, your brand, and/or you? It also may educate customers and potential customers about your business’ processes, products, or services.

Communications frame consumer expectations, whether you are a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) enterprise, because businesses are comprised of humans having human experiences. What you say – your communication – can help set you up for success. Likewise, a lack of focus and intent in your communications can be a barrier to your best sales efforts. Planning communication messages results in both a higher goal and a stronger bottom line.

As tempting as it might be, not every communication is about making a sale. Some communication builds relationships and trust. The variety of offering information and asking for the sale also creates more of the feeling of a conversation and less of a sales pitch.

When you put out information just for the sake of putting out information – it’s a bit like people at a cocktail party who will not stop talking about themselves. It’s less a conversation than a monologue. It doesn’t build a relationship. (And if you think business transactions are not relationships, you have forgotten that purchasing is emotional as well as transactional.)

Educational communications build trust which can lead to a sale, and more important to the bottom line, a long-term customer relationship (aka lifetime customer value). The educational information can be couched as an ad or social media (short form content), or a blog or on your website (long-form content.) Clarifying content might compare and contrast your product against a competitor or common standard. It may expound on additional service options.

Good communication starts with a plan. Planned communications begin with thinking about what you want readers to do or how you want them to feel. Regardless of channel, approach the content from that angle. Include a call to action, and you’ll have the recipe for communication success.

Do you want your customer or prospect to feel educated, intrigued, empowered, motivated? Are you solving their problem (offering relief)? Are you making their job easier (offering support)? How will your message support that emotional connection?

Next, focus on whether that communication will be singular or part of a series? Are you building to an information crescendo or reinforcing a brand value, or is the communication part of an outreach campaign? Where is the best place to share the communication? Is it visual or written, or some combination of the two?

Each of these communication choices builds into your customers’ expectations of your business and their experience of your business. Whether customer expectations are met, exceeded, or failed also becomes part of the brand experience for other potential customers. People tend to tell three people about a positive experience and up to 10 people about a negative experience. Those statistics pre-date the viral appeal of our current digital reality. In our modern world of testimonials, social media, and reviews, your customer’s experience easily becomes a part of your brand story that is outside of your control.

But your brand story is not outside the influence of your marketing. Marketing is about communications, and communications can set customer expectations. Your communication plan influences how potential and current customers experience your brand and the expectations they have about you. 

Alexandria Trusov is the Director of Marketing at Euthenia Manufacturing Group and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.truinsightsconsulting.com.