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Category: Best Practices

Interview with Thomas Purves, Futurist, at the Canada 3.0 Forum

The Tie that Binds Great Design: Marketers Must Be Conversation Starters (Part 2)

Thomas Purves, Toronto-based blogger, futurist and technologist spoke to me at the Canada 3.0 Forum about how the social web and mobile ubiquity will change the game for marketers. Having a good product is not good enough; marketers have to create the conversations for consumers to involve themselves, and their peers, with the brands they support.

Virtual training and online seminars are favorite tools of marketers and sales people because they are practical, cheap and the technology behind them has improved significantly over the past few years. Let’s face it; “Connect with your clients, without ever leaving your desk chair!” is a pretty strong sales pitch to lazy marketing and sales folks. I am not knocking the utility of Webex or GoToMeeting.com as sales and training tools, but when it comes to creating meaningful conversations with clients that help you glean insights about how they are using your product, virtual interactions are kind of like taking a photo with your finger covering half the lens.

My point is nothing beats real face time with users. This is a more traditional approach to sales and marketing but the opportunity to get designers, engineers, sales and marketing people in the same room with customers is an important way to learn how users are interacting with your product. A company conference, training retreat or a refresher course luncheon are great ways to get some face time with the end users, but make sure you drag a few of the engineers and techies out for the event too. This can be a challenge because often engineers are not comfortable interacting with clients but get inventive in terms of incentives. Otherwise,
find support from senior management as they often have special powers of persuasion.

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