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The results from the Communications Strategy Survey are in. And while they indicate many organizations are struggling to develop a communications strategy, they also indicate many people within those organizations see the value of a communications strategy and are motivated to improve or develop theirs.
The most notable finding is that only 25% of respondents indicated their organization has a written communications strategy.
That means 75% of organizations are sailing their communications ship without a map. No wonder so many communicators are feeling confused and overwhelmed by all the communications options now available!
Breaking It Down
As we delve into the specific aspects of communications strategy, respondents feel best about their understanding of their target audience(s), with 43% rating their org a 4 or 5 compared with 29% rating their org a 1 or 2.
In all other aspects of communications strategy, more people rated their organization negatively than positively.
- On defining & understanding their communications goals, 31% were positive and 38% negative
- On defining & understanding their communications tactics, 31% were positive and 36% negative
- Respondents felt least confident in their tracking of metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of their communications goals with only 17% rating their organization positively and 62% negatively.
Motivated to Improve
Overall it’s clear that the people who responded to the survey are not satisfied with their communications strategy. When asked “Overall, how would you rate your organization’s communications strategy?” only 16% rated it positively while 47% rated it negatively.
On a positive note, though, when asked, “How motivated are you to help your organization develop a better communications strategy?” 70% indicated they are highly or extremely motivated.
I’m encouraged by this because it shows many people see the value of a communications strategy and the potential impact a good communications strategy has to improve communications and dramatically impact the effectiveness of the organization.
When asked, “What is the biggest barrier to your organization developing a better communications strategy?” respondents were fairly evenly divided between busyness (29%), lack of understanding (25%), and lack of leadership (21%). 17% of respondents indicated “other” on this question, but a closer look at those other reasons revealed nearly all could be categorized as time, understanding or leadership issues.
Where do we go from here?
Based on the survey results, I see at least 3 things we can do.
1) Develop Resources. It’s clear that organizations need and want help developing better communications strategies. That presents an opportunity for the development of better communications strategy resources and guidance – books, webinars, tools, conferences and coaching.
2) Provide Examples. An additional type of resource that would be helpful is examples of communications strategies. Some survey respondents indicated they would like to share their communications strategy online either as an example or for the purpose of receiving feedback. We hope to post and discuss as many of these as possible.
3) Parse Data Demographically. More insight may be gained by parsing the results by demographic factors – type of organization, number of employees, role in the organization or years of experience. We’ll be looking into that ourselves. And if you’d like the raw data (excluding email address) to do your own parsing, just let us know.
For more on communications strategy, read What Is a Communications Strategy? and How to Develop a Communications Strategy – with 6 Words
- What comments or questions do you have about the survey results?
- What could be done to help your organization or other organizations develop better communications strategies?