Conversation Marketing: The Conversation is the Thing

Christine Fife

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Animal, Human, Person, Cog, Number & Now We’re A Business

Evolution of Man from Animal to Business

No, I didn’t drop dead and I didn’t win the lottery and just abandon writing a blog. I got lazy for a week, had the flu the next week, had too much work for a couple of weeks and then had a revelation. It’s hard to take time out and write a blog post amidst all that.

But now the revelation is going somewhere and I’d like to share it with you. You may not know this about me, but in my first, errr I mean second career incarnation I managed international educational exchange programs. Much of those responsibilities focused on marketing, which lead me to a master’s in marketing communication, but I digress. And I am the co-founder of Peace4Kids, a J-1 visa high school exchange program, which I still work with. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for working with teens and college students, which brings me to my revelation.

In the beginning we were animals, right. Then, at some point we were thought of as something more because, well, we thought more–we were humans. Then, someone thought a bit more about it and broke out of the proverbial box and said, “Hey, no. I’m not just a human. I’m a person.” Well, then wars happened and religions started getting all up in our business and the dark ages occurred and then some enlightenment or something and then the industrial revolution and suddenly we were cogs. Just cogs in the wheels. Then… there were so damn many of us and computers came around and we needed something easier to track all of us because there wasn’t just one or two John Smiths, there were 457 in Dubuque, Iowa alone, so we became numbers!

So here it is. The big revelation. We aren’t numbers anymore. Or actually, I should say, we are each so many numbers now–numbers and passwords, and bills and invoices, and accounts and rights and responsibilities–that we are each a business unto ourselves. It is so complicated to be a human being that we must all become business experts if we plan to succeed at our own lives. Oh sure, we can survive without any business training, but chances are that means you’ll end up one of the millions of Americans in major credit card debt or without medical insurance or someone who can’t figure out how to pay your taxes. And hell, think of how many people you know who don’t vote because it’s too complicated to figure out ballot measures (sorry if I’m now making fun of you.)

So this little tirade is not really about marketing, really. But in a way it’s related. We need to consider that each individual person is more like a business now than they ever have been in the past. Life is complicated and as a society we don’t seem to be doing much to catch up and teach the next generation. We need to be letting teens and college students know that they need to not only understand the basic business principals to prepare to run their lives, but they’ll also need the advantage of a bit of branding and messaging for their own career and personal lives as well. Be looking for more on this topic to come. I promise not to be gone so long again!

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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.