conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Dialogue 2.0: Can a Marketer Game a Conversation?

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Yes. But maybe no?

Lots of us try to figure how to turn a conversation to our advantage.

Marketers increasingly slip us information just when we want it, like Google giving directions to the donut place on the way to my next meeting.

Bad Google.

Carefully observe, one must.

Carefully observe, one must.

Carl Griffith, writing over at ClickZ, wants marketing websites to recognize and reengage with returning customers via their behind the scenes content management system. He wants websites to engage in dialogue like people do: no need for reintroductions. We know you—you know us—where did we leave off last time? Cookies help this happen, of course. Amazon is an example of picking up where you left off and adding suggestions for more purchasing joy. That is likely where all web properties are headed.

Mr. Griffith goes further: what if we programmed into our content management systems a way to pick up on non-verbals? He means those signals that pass between animate conversation partners (I wrote human first and then remembered how much non-verbal information dogs pick up): the open or closed hands, the orientation of shoulders or head toward or away from the speaker, the eye contact (or lack thereof)—all these bring depth and context to our conversations. That depth and context adds to the words exchanged or belies the words exchanged. Listen to Mr. Griffith:

You will be familiar with the throw-away lines in everyday conversations around the importance of non-verbal communication and what we have now in the world of digital are ways of understanding the more silent and less obvious conversations and dialogue we now have with our consumers driven by context and the insights we should derive from the sum of interaction and engagement.

As a consumer—or for anyone increasingly wary of how our own national security apparatus listens in at will—it’s easy to read sinister overtones into these marketing improvements. Marketers will want to be wary of any resemblance to the NSA, although all the players are starting to look like classmates from the same surveillance school.

But in a human conversation, we start to get the sense of when our partner is yanking our chain—or outright manipulating facts and/or lying. And we back away. Quickly. Perhaps the computer programs that touch our web conversations will go the way of 30 second TV spots—a chance for us to cognitively check-out because we know we’re being sold something.

Mr. Griffith’ vision of dialogue 2.0 is starting to sound like a return to monologue, only in shorter bits and micro-fitted and shoehorned into seemingly ordinary conversations.

Caveat emptor.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston (Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life)

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Written by kirkistan

April 3, 2014 at 9:32 am

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