Understanding the issues and challenges that your customers and other stakeholders face is central to effective communications. The ability to demonstrate expertise and become a respected voice of authority on these topics will help to enhance your organisation’s reputation and provide context for products and services. As we all know, the ‘hard sell’ is not always well received!
The development of strong thought leadership messages to support this approach can be greatly informed, enhanced and given greater credence if built upon or supported by hard data or documented industry insight. Surveying key market segments is just one means of achieving this.
Importantly, survey results may vindicate an existing position or, conversely, contradict assumptions about market sentiment. Both outcomes are equally as valuable; the unexpected sometimes even more so than the expected.
BLUE experienced this after conducting a survey regarding the – at the time imminent – SEEMP legislation. Media coverage, statements from industry associations and social media sentiment portrayed a lack of understanding of the benefits and a general feeling of imposition in relation to this incoming legislation governing the daily management of vessels. However an industry wide survey conducted on behalf of leading maritime software company, NAPA, revealed that actually although the negative voices were perhaps loudest, they only constituted a small proportion of the market. Many of the most relevant market segments not only understood how to implement the required measures but also anticipated the beneficial outcomes from doing so.
The results from the survey proved extremely helpful to NAPA, providing direction for communications, business development and sales. From a communications perspective, the data informed message development, as well as providing interesting content for channels including media and speaker opportunities. In addition, the sales team were able to contact a qualified list of people who had asked to learn more about software available to support SEEMP compliance, and business development obtained insight into the profiles of companies most open to implementing a digital approach to SEEMP and the key benefits most appealing to prospects.
Making assumptions about people’s thoughts and perspectives can prove dangerous and lead to the incorrect positioning of a product or service. Impactful communications relies upon genuine industry insight and surveying opinions is just one mechanism to develop this, whilst at the same time developing business-critical market understanding.