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Friday, January 09, 2009

Communicating 24/7

How do you communicate these days?

Twitter seems a little beyond me -- how much do you need to know every thing anyone is doing every minute of the day (and how much do I need to know what you are doing every minute?)

Video messaging and blogs, well, are possible, so are services allowing you to broadcast live streaming video wherever you are. But what is your audience -- does anyone care to see you, that much?

Email is everywhere; certainly for me (and probably you) it has replaced the phone as the primary communications resource; in a busy day I might take or receive two or three phone calls, but handle upwards of 100 email messages.

Email has blurred work times. Our business has a policy that emails can be sent and received any time, but phone conversations must be handled (except in extreme emergency or by special arrangements) during daytime business hours. The reason: You can voluntarily turn off your email, or elect to respond at your convenience -- while the phone is, well, jarring.

So what can you do with all of this? In the last few weeks, I've started taking my Blackberry to bed with me. Not particularly because I really need to read and respond to emails in bed, but because the vibrating function on the device allows me to set my 'alarm clock' without waking Vivian (at least most of the time!)

The new approaches to communication may invite arguments that everything is excessive these days, but I find it has provided more freedom -- I can go to the gym in the middle of the day, with my laptop in my backpack, and Blackberry in my pocket, and work out during the 'quiet time' -- while keeping in full touch with the business. Rush hour isn't a problem; working from home or remote places, I can avoid the agonizing waste of long and painful commutes.

How do these alternative communication approaches affect your marketing strategies?

Clearly you need to understand and be able to use the new media effectively but I don't think you will get very far (or have many friends) if you try to turn your Twitter account into a blunt advertising outlet. And if you are going to email me, please realize that spam is as offensive -- even more irritating -- than before.

If you wish to comment on my blog, feel free, I encourage it, but if you are stretching things just to get a backlink, your comment will be deleted, unread by anyone.

The new tools change the scope and time of communication; creating opportunities to express really relevant marketing messages and ideas, but you need to think personally, individually, and with a relationship-centric approach. Broadcast your advertising messages somewhere else (or purchase some print ads in our publications).

Share, connect, provide insights, or (best of all) practical and individual resources for the people and organizations you wish to reach, and you can, indeed, communicate with decision-makers even in their beds.

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