Common Ground: The Importance of Listening to B2B Public Relations Strategy (And Life)

The mountains of Southern Arizona recently jolted me with a wake-up call on the importance of listening – a caffeine-fueled reminder from the makers of my new favorite fair trade coffee, Café Justo (

What does the world’s best robusto bean brew have to do with business-to-business public relations strategy?  On that visit to the Arizona-Mexico border region, I was reminded that listening is the world’s most unifying common denominator.  Even within communities caught in the throes of polarizing issues such as the immigration debate, a unifying call for attention to a challenging issue is something everyone can agree upon.

From the Minute Men to the illegal immigrant advocates, people throughout the immigration debate’s spectrum agreed:  if only the public at-large would give the immigration issue the attention it warrants, a solution would be in the making.  While the solutions envisioned differed greatly, everyone in Southern Arizona agreed that listening could get us closer to a solution, and that getting the story told was critical to moving forward.

As professional communicators, we are charged with reaching audiences with “our” (or our clients’) side of many different types of business and economic stories.  Consider: how have you woven listening into your communications strategy?

As I walked around the border region and talked one-on-one with people on all sides of the immigration debate, I realized how important the human factor is in today’s world.  Regardless of how sophisticated our online listening tools become, there will always be value in a well-rounded listening program that includes a human analysis of the issues at-hand.

How have you listened to your important audiences today?

To contact Margy Sweeney:

Phone:  312-252-7314
Twitter: @margysweeney
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