Conversation is the future of marketing

Conversation is the future of marketing

We are moving into the “the post-media age,” says the always- interesting John Jarvis.

“Media made society one-way. But now the internet drains the one-way pipes… and pours us all in the same pond together. The internet enables conversation.”

I agree. Traditional media are being eclipsed by the amazing connectedness of the Internet, blogs, Skype, IM, mobile phones, etc. The conversation is already in full swing. The only ones who haven’t noticed seem to be traditional marketers, stuck in their fear and the Old Ways. Traditional marketing messages are being thoroughly and successfully ignored, thanks to time-shifting (and spot-skipping) Tivos, channel clickers, etc.

And what’s replacing one-way (talk-only) media? The joys of honest, two-way conversation. And as Jarvis notes, it’s only natural.

“The natural means of… sharing information is, of course, conversation, through the ability to ask and answer questions… When you listened to… the town crier, you could stick your head out the window and ask for details… Socrates said that education is a conversation… Luther said that prayer is a conversation, and Cluetrain says that markets are conversations, and (that’s) why I say that news is a conversation.”

So is marketing communications. Yelling at customers will yield to telling customers (info marketing) which will soon morph into honest two-way conversations. It has to. With plummeting viewership/ listenership/ readership, Big Media has to learn to listen.

Soon, more companies (and their marketers) will awaken to the fact that the old ways are simply failing. People hate hype and hard sell. They hunger for honest one-to-one conversation. And now they have the power to turn one off and the other on.

Want your company to survive in a post-cluetrain world? Better brush up on your listening and conversational skills. After all, “marketing communications” simply means talking to your customers.

Oh — and listening. That’s what makes it a conversation.

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