I can’t think of any organization that’s doing all that it could to communicate effectively with its customers. Even the giants such as Apple create communications problems by introducing products that are clearly not ready for prime time. Most organizations do not score above 85% in communications assessments, and that often includes giant corporations who have spread their communications in multi-geographies and divisions.

There’s always room for improvement. The difference between the winners and most other organizations is that the winners know how to assess how they are doing and make improvement changes. Make sure you are clear on what should be considered important so you don’t waste time on unimportant data and metrics.

Here are three essential rules for effective strategic marketing and communications:

1. Know well what your customers need and want. Know what interests them. Not just about your products but the products they use throughout their company. Kodak recently stated that they are working with clients on how to integrate Kodak products inside their organizations as well as how to integrate Non-Kodak products into the mix. A huge step for Kodak but one that should build trust with their customers because they are confident enough in their products and strengths to help their clients with competitive products. A new way of doing business?

2. Use an easy to understand language to tell your story. To often marketing communications are written in the jargon of the selling organization, not the client’s language, and this always creates a negative boundary. It’s interesting to me that so often a company will announce their new website which includes a new design, but use the same copy that appeared on their former website. By always being original and simple to understand, clients will quickly know what you are saying and this will encourage them to read on.

3. Test your communications. You can’t improve what you don’t measure, as the saying goes. Business marketing is no exception. Most organizations have not built in effective financial management that keeps score of what is and is not working. This helps explain why so marketing directors are often criticized and have a difficult time rationalizing their marketing expenditures. There are literally dozens of books written on this subject, ROI – Return On Investment. It is a practice that your Chief Marketing Officer should include in your marketing program.

A simple test of whether your marketing communications are on target is to ask yourself the following questions: If I had to read this marketing copy, how would I rate it? Enjoyable? Boring? Too technical? Not logical and doesn’t flow well? If you find too many negative answers it may be time to change your marketing strategy, and that should start with what would your customers really enjoy learning about.