Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, April 09, 2007

On Conversations.

A co-created book is to be focussed on that over-used word conversation. I'm not sure my thoughts warrant a chapter, but here they are.

Markets should indeed be conversations.

But people don't want really conversations.

Conversations take up time and usually indicate that something is unsatisfactory.

Nor do people want to be bombarded with interruptive "ice-breakers" disguised as relationship-building.

Lines are not conversation.

What people want is to know they can have a conversation on their terms.

What people want is to know they can have a conversation whenever they choose.

What people want is to know that that conversation will be heard, appreciated and acted upon.

People want meaningful dialogues not irrelevant small-talk.


Blogger Gavin Heaton said...

Hey John ... I hope you are contributing!? It would be great to have you be part of the book!

5:38 AM, April 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I frequently try to get people to distinguish between wanting "to do" something and wanting "to have done" something.

There are lots of things where people really want to have done it instead of actually doing it.

Conversations with companies are one of those. They love the feeling when it has happened, but don't want to take the time to actually engage.

When it's time to buy a new product, I want to buy it from a company that I feel comfortable with. However, the getting comfortable probably means that I should have been seeking out the conversations 6 months ago.

In other words, I want to have had the conversations.

8:13 AM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Exactly. You are spot on. People want conversations on their own terms! Good thing we know it, but now what?

How should we twist, turn, and change our brand (and brands story) to take it to the conversational level our consumers want?

Ron E.

PS- I'm not expecting an answer, just something to snack on.

8:13 AM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...


You're welcome to use this as my contribution but as I say I'm not sure it's substantial enough. I'll see if any more thoughts come but less is more.

9:00 AM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger dataminer said...

Maybe as simple as online service agent to answer questions at least I 'd think it be a first step in furthering marketing web 2.0


5:40 PM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger Gavin Heaton said...

Hi John ... we do have a 400 word limit -- but I don't think we have a minimum! I never actually considered it ...

Having said that, we are asking all contributors to submit new writing (ie not previously blogged or published).

If you are keen, please drop Drew an email and let him know.

6:55 AM, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It depends on what you mean by conversation, dialogue, etc. Words are in constant flux and take new meaning depending on the context and frame of reference of the users/talkers/writers.

12:01 PM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...


In my mind conversation has a specific oral meaning - we know when we're having a spoken conversation. We know those we enjoy and those we don't, those we wish to continue and those we choose to avoid.

However, when businesses and consultants start defining what a conversation is, we are getting into the territory of something that is crafted for the benefit of one party. The word is used as a short-hand and this too often leads to marketing practices that fail to acknowledge the bicameral nature of the ideal conversation.

It's not about semantics, it's about intent and I see parallels with CRM programmes which also are not focussed on the customer.

1:00 PM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...


It's a glib answer to your question, but I think it's about prioritising a human customer service function that truly serves the customer and providing a product/service which is so good that the number of people who need to apporach the customer service department is minimised.

1:02 PM, April 10, 2007  

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