“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply,” a famous and true quote by Stephen R. Covey.
Much is being said about marketing communication, but a lot of the focus falls on what we should say, how we should say it, where we should say it and when we should say it. Telling brand stories, writing in an inclusive way, prioritising social media platforms, researching the best time of day or week to publish, all of these are important for effective communication.
But do we ever consider the importance of listening?
Social networks create a platform from which customers communicate their changing expectations and preferences. They can express themselves, what they experience and of course interact with each other by sharing opinions, asking for suggestions or recommendations. This is a wonderful opportunity for brands to listen to both existing and prospective customers and to learn about their interests and preferences.
Without listening, brands miss the opportunity to learn and also to engage. When brands enter a discussion in response, it can add immense value to the relationship between consumer and brand.
In a more direct way, picking up on “where can I buy” and similar online searches, social listening is also an effective channel for generating sales. Such leads indicate authentic interest and gives you the opportunity to recommend your product or service.
If there is one thing the hospitality industry understands, it is the importance of online brand reputation management. Everyone visiting an establishment, using a product or taking part in an activity can share their opinion and experience without being an expert. These opinions, much more than expensive advertising, serve as motivation for consumers to use or avoid a product or service. Being active online, regularly monitoring references to your brand and engaging in a suitable way, are crucial in managing your brand’s reputation.
Listening has always been a very important part of communication and in today’s world with a bombardment of messaging, listening has become the essence of marketing communication.