The Power of a Conversation

The Power of a Conversation

Remember conversations? They were those things we did in the dim and distance past before email, Facebook and Twitter, Blackberries, iPhones and the rest. You know, those days when you could sit in a room together and talk, face to face, without something buzzing, rattling or beeping.

It’s conversations we used to have with customers, when they’d come into your shop and you’d ask them how they were. They’d give you chapter and verse including a few nuggets of valuable insight and the next time they came in you’d have those ‘4 candles’ for them (as a backup for the fork-handles).

As the power of large brands got bigger, and ATL and DM communications became more mass market and all encompassing, this art of conversation was lost. It became a one way street, “Buy this you know you want to!” The message repeated over and over again until we did. And if that didn’t work, try another ad. Not quite the two way conversation we really value as consumers, customers and indeed human beings.

For all the new fangled technology involved and the lexicon of new terms we pre-spectrum generation are still getting to grips with – RT, pokes, #, @ (the list goes on). Arguably the biggest advantage of social media such as Facebook and Twitter is the ability to reclaim the conversation with customers.

The number of touchpoints opened up by these digital avenues is staggering, but what they all do is spark dialogue. The kind of two-way conversations that can bring so much value to any business, asking customers for their input into new services, testing new/existing services or even developing new products. All this is possible once you open dialogue with customers.

Of course, it isn’t always the best idea to act on every word, suggestion or demand, but for every rant or useless idea you will get a valuable piece of advice, experience or gold nugget. But the important part is the conversation.

Social media is a great way for any business to reclaim the conversation. Not just with your clients, but potential customers as well as suppliers, mentors or your network of advisers. Integrated with traditional marketing, digital marketing and social media adds the kind of dimensions that may have been lacking for a while.

Getting customer responses (sometimes in real time) to your traditional marketing is a fantastic way of measuring and testing your campaigns and thereby massively increasing the effectiveness of them.

Of course we should all learn these lessons in our daily life and turn the laptop/iPhone/BlackBerry off and converse.

But then again if we stop now we’ll never evolve that third eye and extra thumb that will make modern life so much easier.