Archive for January 2009
This coffee shop in Milwaukee found blogging an effective tool for getting word out about their business. Their employee-bloggers could present a kindly, relationship-oriented face to prospective drinkers, which in turn engaged them in dialogue and increased business.
But how will that strategy fly with a mid-sized firm that wants to be known as an expert in their field, while developing long-term relationships across the industry? Especially when their entire industry is highly sensitive about trade secrets?
Or how will that strategy work with my medical device clients heavily regulated by the FDA and wondering how the dialogue-engaging, relationship-building blogging can help them. The mere hint of unfettered commentary already makes the lawyers and the regulators apoplectic.
Can the blogosphere be a realistic tool for these clients?
Four realizations frame this eventual answer:
- We are moving to a dialoguing world. It is only a matter of time when our hunting and gathering of information results in dissatisfaction with one-way communication. Marketers would do well to do a u-turn away from developing sets of one-way messages that focus solely on traditional communication channels.
- A dialogical world is a good thing. Speaking theologically for a moment, we were meant to engage with each other—it is a very human quality, designed right into our fabric. There is nothing wrong with persuasion, but respectful persuasion engages without flogging each other with the whip of knowledge-is-king authority. Everybody has access to knowledge these days—or so they perceive.
- Members-only dialogue is an option. To sign in to a discussion is not the worst thing in the world. Signing in can help to protect sensitive elements, provide opportunities for the pages of FDA-required caveats, and actually show the seriousness of the blog.
- Dialogue has a cost. There is no question that resources must be marshaled to maintain an ongoing discussion with clients. That such a dialogue is good and important is a given. Feeding dialogue will require a budget shift from one-way communication resources and tools.
Check out Peter Snyder’s commentary on Obama’s “Permanent Dialogue” (Advertising Age) for a reflection on the quickly approaching dialogical world.