Are you communicating with your important stakeholders?

Who are your stakeholders?

Most businesses have a marketing plan that describes how they will communicate with their prospects and customers. Many do not identify and communicate with their other important stakeholders. The term stakeholders is quite broad and means anyone who has a stake in your business and what it does, for instance, the people who live near a nightclub are stakeholders because they are affected by the way the nightclub manages its noise and traffic and their complaints can affect local government regulates the premises. This is why stakeholder communications is so important.

Government organisations understand the concept of stakeholder communications quite well but many businesses don’t. The two important groups that are often forgotten by businesses are staff and non-customers.

Why are all your staff important for marketing?

Many businesses don’t understand that the people in their organisation all act as salespeople. When you hear people talking about the place they work does it create a good impression or a bad impression? A happy employee creates a good impression of that company. If the employee is complaining, you will not want to take your business there.

If an organisation is not consistent with what it says it can damage its reputation. How many times have you been told two different things by different people in the organisation? It makes you frustrated and it reduces your confidence that the people really know what they are talking about. You often feel like you are being fobbed off. Internal communications is really important as part of stakeholder communications.

Why are “non-customers” important to your stakeholder communications?

Non-customers or non-prospects are important to a business. Even people who won’t buy your goods or services will know people who do and talk to them.  You may sell a gender-specific product to men but women do influence their male friends. You may sell an age-specific service so getting parents to influence their children (sometimes) might help.  It is important to make sure that you make the most of all your selling opportunities through appropriate stakeholder communications.

How to make your stakeholder communications more effective?

Writing a communications marketing plan is a good way of making sure that you stakeholder communications are well thought out and planned. A simple communications marketing plan uses the following framework and a simple plan will address each of the components:

Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What Channel (with) What Effect (for) How Much

Who—is the person or people responsible for communicating within your organisation: sales and marketing, accounts, management, etc.

What—is the message, that is, a different type of message for each group of stakeholders.

To whom—is the stakeholder group that you have identified: staff, suppliers, customers, landlord, etc.

What channel—is how you will get your message out there: face-to-face, social media, emails, letter box drop, etc.

What effect—is what you are trying to achieve, such as, greater awareness, more sales, relationship building, etc

How much—is the cost to undertake the particular communication task.

More information about writing a communications plan.