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Selling Conversation as a Strategy

Are we doing something wrong in our own marketing or sales process?

Over the past couple of months, we at Idiom Strategies have pitched a string of proposals to companies who stated they had an interest in doing something different and wanted to know if they should “get into social media”.

When we initially met with these companies and explained our view of Conversation Marketing being the convergence of all aspects of marketing and that some of the biggest thought-leaders in the marketing world have been talking about the importance of conversing with audiences as opposed to talking at them, they all seemed thrilled with the ideas. As you can imagine, not all of these companies chose to work with us.

Actually, most of them chose to use their marketing dollars for traditional tactical marketing activities (ads, contests, collateral development, tradeshows, etc.) Some of them said that they realized they didn’t need to do anything more because the leads they had were converting at a good rate.

Are we doing something wrong in our own marketing or sales process? No. I’m sharing this with you because I believe it has more to do with a business culture that is slow-to-change because they can’t see the forrest for the trees.

We aren’t discouraged because some companies are too nervous to try something new. After all, traditional marketing strategies have worked in the past. And we aren’t discouraged that some companies think they can ride current success into the future without making changes. After all, why fix something that isn’t broken.

So why should companies look at trying a different approach? Why should companies consider a conversation marketing strategy? For one thing, just because something worked in the past, does not give any indication that it will work in the future. And in the second place, something may not be broken, but the world is constantly evolving around us so it’s unlikely that something will work forever.

Conversation marketing is not some new-fangled type of marketing, it’s a new way of determining the optimal mix of activities to better achieve your goals. Achieving increased brand awareness, direct inquires and sales and keeping customers happy and coming back requires one simple thing: Manners. Dictionary.com includes the following in its definition:

  • ways of behaving with reference to polite standards; social comportment.
  • a person’s outward bearing; way of speaking to and treating others.

So treat your audiences with your best manners forward. Listen to them. Speak with them. Care about their needs. Share your experiences and insights. Build relationships with them. For too long, marketing practices have simply been talking at people. Would you want to listen to someone who talks at you? Neither do consumers. This is one of the reasons that marketing many people feel that marketing is about tricking people into buying something with cute ads, celebrities, special offers, etc. Give your audiences more credit. Treat them with respect and make your efforect two-directional.

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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.