Conversation Marketing: The Conversation is the Thing

Christine Fife

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Making Conversation to Build Relationships and Grow Your Business: 2010 Style!

The definition I like best for the word “conversation” comes from Dictionary.com:

“Conversation: the informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy.”

But notice that the dictionary hasn’t caught up with the times. It’s 2010, Dictionary People! This definition specifically says “spoken” and “oral” and leaves out all other forms of communication available for the 2010s and beyond. With all the killer Web2.0 and social media networks, apps and tools, the “interchange of thoughts, information, etc.” can now be done via typed discussions (Twitter and forums for example), imagery (Flickr comes to mind) and multi-media (such as videos on YouTube with spoken and written words paired with music, graphics and other imagery.)

What is poignant in this definition is “the information interchange of thoughts, information, etc. … between persons.” A blogger and Tweeter I regularly follow, John Cass, wrote a post today titled Is Content Taking Marketers Down The Wrong Rabbit Hole? This struck a chord with me because I’d planned on writing about Making Conversation 2010 Style today. As John points out, companies need to consider the “social element” of social media rather than using it as just another outlet for their self-serving content.

Their are practically endless options now for where to converse with your target audiences, but the point is to have a two-way conversation that helps you build relationships with those individuals. Social media platforms, networks and tools are brilliant for this. They give your company the ability to listen (and then internalize) what people are saying not only about your products, but about their wants and needs. And you can respond to those individuals in a public forum so that others can read and benefit from the conversation (most people are Listeners–they don’t participate in the conversation but they listen and hear what others say.)

Also, these social media tools currently out, and coming soon, can help you be more efficient in conversing so that you aren’t trying to talk to all 1 million (or more) of your target audience by phone or in person. 2010 conversation style allows you to be much more efficient while reaching many more people. Sure, use these tools to tell people about your great content you’ve created, but also use the tools to get to know people and listen to what they want and need. We all know that the point of business is to sell your products, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be pals with your customers too. You listen to them, you help them fulfill their wants and needs with free, helpful advice, as well as with your products, and they’ll be more likely to buy from you and influence others to buy from you too.

Happy New Year and happy conversing!

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More Stories By Christine Fife

As I drove off to college I never would have guessed I would end up here! But it’s been a fantastic journey. My career has been richly diverse giving me an advantage over marketers who are siloed into niche positions. I strive to be a true Renaissance person—I love to learn about everything and trying new things comes naturally. My career has been no different; I’ve successfully launched enterprise software and medical device development startups, improved communications processes for the regulatory department of a major financial exchange, increased client business and product development for several international exchange program companies and founded an international educational non-profit organization. My master’s degree in Integrated Marketing from Golden Gate University gave me a broad understanding of traditional marketing best-practices, but my BA in theater gave me the skills to understand how people communicate with one another and the importance of promoting a brand in a voice that is right for the audience.