20 April 2018

– Richard Voisey, Nwes Business Consultant 

The government in recent years have been banging on about the importance of young people leaving school with the basics of a qualification in English and Maths. Rightly so, there has been recent debate as to the success in improved grades and subsequent improvements in skill levels of young people being forced to retake the exams following failure.

It has also been evident that school teaching budgets are currently focusing in academic subjects rather than the arts as apparently, they are more relevant in helping the country towards financial success and an effective economy. I firmly believe that drama, as an example, offers so many transferable skillsets that compliment students in developing their careers, confidence and communication.

This brings me to my point; how do we communicate and what is the best method. On a recent early morning Monday walk through my village, I got the opportunity to observe students at several bus stops waiting for the journey to school. As a youngster, I would have looked forward to meeting my school buddies whilst waiting for the bus and use the time to chat about the events of the weekend and discuss the forthcoming plans for the week. What I witnessed in the main, were individuals engrossed into viewing the screens of their devices. There was just one exception where a group of five had formed a circle to talk amongst themselves.

Linking all this to business and a major new event, Tim Martin, the chairman of J.D Wetherspoon has announced that his pub chain has closed their social media accounts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I see Tim Martin as a successful businessman and a maverick and it is therefore quite typical of him to buck the trend, be his own man and lead from the front. From a marketing perspective, he has created headline news and as such developed a great trending story which will of course flow through the core veins of social media.

From a practical perspective, he is correct in being concerned that his customer facing Management team might be concentrating on their phones when they could be supporting their staff and looking after the needs of their valuable customers. The Head Office staff could be working on supporting operations and developing the business rather than ‘working’ on social media platforms.

There are benefits in using social media at part of the marketing mix, however it comes with a caveat. It needs to be focused and relevant. It needs to be part of the marketing plan and, part of the promotional plan. If left to its on devices, it can grow into an obsessive, time grabbing distraction.

Its good to talk with customers and there are numerous ways of achieving it, don’t let the other communication habits die.


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