Until now, my background consisted of marketing mainly for business to customer (B2C) organisations. I’ve worked at a zoo, for a renowned spa chain, and a retirement village, all very eclectic and interesting companies, all with their own languages and acronyms and terms, but language you could identify with straight away, even if you didn’t know the industry.
Within these various roles my life revolved around getting new customers, increasing profits, and raising the brand’s identity. Although there were IT departments I never had much more to do with them than the obligatory complaints ‘my email isn’t working’ or ‘the server’s down’ or I need a new laptop’. As you can imagine I was a bit nervous taking on a role in an industry so alien to me, not only business to business (B2B) but IT – only very clever people work in IT!
So, in my first few weeks it was amazing to learn that, well, actually IT suffers the same pressure points and the same frustrations as the other industries that I’d worked in. There’s still the same desire to achieve business goals, gain new customers, increase profits etc., it’s just the language barrier between us that’s holding us back.
Communication is key in business and in the past IT may have appeared aloof in its language, but, as technology is now probably the most important change in the modern working world, it’s trying hard to bridge that gap.
From the IT experts I’ve spoken to so far, there is a strong desire to help achieve overall business goals; a more efficient service, higher profits, better employee morale etc. There is a general understanding that we’ve lacked the tools to speak to each other, and, even if we’ve tried we might not have reached the same conclusion.
The IT leader today needs to be not just a service manager, but a business language translator, giving companies and industries the best directions they can in the simplest, most effective way. This should be a high priority for any organisation, and with new technology and functionality being developed that can make this happen, these targeted, actionable, audited messages can find a common language to open dialogue – though there are parameters that need to be taken into consideration.
Language for your industry
So, what do I mean by this? Language changes depending on your industry. For example in the retirement world we talked about ‘downsizing’, ‘residents’ and ‘CQC (Care Quality Commission). In the spa industry you talk about ‘wellbeing’ and ‘thermals’, and in IT we talk about end users, service desks, and the like. In any case, it’s a language that’s unique to your industry, so communication will be coherent in this language across the board.
Language for your organisation
Once you’ve identified the correct language for your industry, then you can be more specific by creating a language for your organisation. We all know that there are various idiosyncrasies and acronyms that employees identify with their own company; whether it be a classification or a development name, these make up the dialects of your company. They can help make your IT messaging specific to your employee’s or customer’s needs and reinforce the organisation’s identity and brand voice while still using the overall coherent language.
One prime example of how business language is changing is with mobile notification. Although in the social world mobile notifications seem to be everywhere, business is just beginning to see their potential in keeping the company moving forward. This efficient way of reaching your entire team with short crisp messages/tasks or actionables helps break down the barriers of IT.
We’ve all been targeted by push notifications in the social media world, with free offers of a Starbucks or the chance to get a great discount on Groupon – so using this technology for business gives us the tool to speak to our employees in a language they already know.
Engaging the future
As a marketer I can say from previous experience that working with IT can be a rocky ride – you don’t understand the processes that need to take place, you have no idea how long things take or who needs to authorise certain requests, or even why. So it’s great to see (now that I’m an IT insider) that IT companies are trying hard to break down the language barriers by using straightforward tools which create clearly defined simple messages, leading to actionable auditable tasks.
As Laurie Anderson, an American avant garde artist said, “Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.” How much more effective will those stories be when we all speak the same language?
What should I do now?
To bridge the gap in communication you need to consider several things.
Who is your target audience and what is it they need to know? Think about their perspective and what’s essential to their day to day workload. Try to communicate from the perspective of your target audience using language they will understand.
How do you reach your target audience? Is everyone located in one office or are they scattered around the country? Can they all access a PC or are some just mobile based? If you want them all to receive the same messages at the same time how could you make that happen?
Keep communication simple and concise – too much communication can have the same effect as none at all. And most importantly, don’t forget to tell people the conclusion to the message, if an issue is resolved.
How could MarXtar help me?
MarXtar Ltd is an international business with over 10 years delivering IT Systems and Service Management solutions. MarXtar’s flagship product Enterprise Notifier delivers targeted, auditable and actionable communications to desktops and mobile devices via the ENgage! mobile app.
Enterprise Notifier works by informing service subscribers of any major issues or messages. It provides messages in an audited and actionable way, including critical notifications, and allows receivers to respond via the ENgage! App. It also offers the opportunity to gain feedback from all users. It can be accessed anywhere and also has a web-based console for all departments. Plus, it can be tailored to match the language of your industry and business.