Timing is everything. Is the market ready for your message?
Proverbs – and let’s face it, clichés – that focus on time and timing are prolific in investment-driven businesses like real estate and capital markets. And for good reason – after all, a good investment at the wrong time is no longer a good investment. Similarly, a good message can fall on flat ears, if the timing isn’t right – no matter how correct or wise it is. Deciding when you communicate facts, figures and messages to the world should be as central a part of your communications strategy as the actual content of your messages.
Today, the market is more complex than it ever has been, particularly in the commercial real estate sector and the world of corporate site selection. To make sure the market is ready for your message, consider the following three questions:
- Who is my audience? Where does their business stand in the economic cycle? Right now, real estate – particularly employment-driven sectors of commercial real estate – are lagging other industries like financial services and professional services in the economic recovery. Be sure you know if your audience is in “growth” or “survival” mode, and tailor your messages accordingly.
- Am I too late to the game to offer a fresh perspective? People don’t have time for ideas that they’ve heard before. For example, if you have a message focused on sustainability, consider how much green washing people hear every day. Make sure you have something new to say – and that your message stands up to any likely challenges.
- Am I too early? Is my audience ready to hear what I have to say? If your audience is not open to what you have to say, you’re wasting your time – and theirs. Be sure to connect your message with their current interests and challenges.
In 2005, I ghost-authored a retail market communications piece that received negative reviews from the audience because our research was good, but our timing was bad. Together with my client, we carefully researched statistics on the spending habits of Generation Y, on Americans’ lack of savings, and presented a case that retail could be in for a rude awakening. Far from being heralded as a prophet of market cycles to come, in the overheated market of 2005, retail professionals were looking for inspiration on how to go faster, close more deals, and beat out their arch-nemeses. Instead, we threw them into a cold shower of ugly statistics. Moral of the story? There’s no value in an “I told you so.” A more productive way to engage your audience is to educate them on how you can help them meet the challenges of today’s economy, while planning for all possible futures. Nobody wants to hear a blunt take on how they are getting it wrong.
Remember that clichés are born for a reason. How are you using market timing to make sure your communications are resonating with the market?
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