Income targets. They're either a dead weight number plucked out of the air or a vital way that a comms team can contribute to help an organisation's finances. We compared a rather good Granicus event in Birmingham that looked at how this could be done better.
by Dan Slee
Mention the words 'income target' to a senior Public Sector communications person and a shadow often casts across their face.
'We've got an even bigger one this year,' they'll say. And the conversation hangs heavy in the air.
It is often an unspoken thing.
At the Birmingham Granicus Public Sector Digital Engagement day the issue was spoken about at length. In the morning, the focus was case studies on how people were hitting their targets. There were some gems and hugely imaginative approaches. A hub for small business? With postal forwarding?And meeting space? That's pretty good going. Judging from the room, income targets are going from the tens of thousand at the bottom end to a more daunting £500,000.
In the afternoon, we crowdsourced ideas and inspiration to tackle the problem.
Should you have an agency approach?
The private sector has been paying their bills for years by knowing exactly the hourly and day rate and billing for it. It requires a different approach to the 'we say yes to anything' approach of many Public Sector teams.
Understand your true costs.
Look closely at your pricing structures and how they compare with others.
Professionalise your team.
Manage the demands between internal and external.
How about culture change?
It's true that culture eats strategy for breakfast. So how do you tackle that?
Focus groups with customers can be useful ways to convince senior people of a new approach.
Tenants and parents' groups can be good places to look for potential focus group members.
Evidence of internal success in the field should be shared.
Messages need to come from the top down.
What do you know about Data Protection?
Yes, yes. It's not the best loved topic in the world. But there are changes coming to Data Protection that will have a huge impact. Soon, fines can be huge. And YOU could be liable.
Be clear about how you are using the data and what you are selling. An email to someone who has opted in about council tax updates is fine. Blasting them with offers and promotions isn't.
Talk to your data protection officer. Make friends with them. Be up-to-speed on what is coming down the track.
Know your data protection skills and look to monetise the advice for others.
Fines under the new regime can be millions.
Should we be always selling?
Sales doesn't come easily to a press officer. So how do you tackle it?
Know where the line is and don't sell your soul.
Talk to people to work out what can be turned into products and marketed.
Employ people who can do sales jobs if you are looking to sell.
Know that lessons don't always transfer.
Pssssssst. Would you like a free whitepaper on this?
We are writing a whitepaper with Granicus and we'd like your help. In return you get a copy. Sound good? All you need to do is complete a short survey. It'll take a few minutes and you can do it here. It'll be published at the Granicus Public Sector Communications event in London on September 26. You can reserve yourself a place at the event
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.