The industry magazine Media Spectrum recently asked me for my assessment of dialog marketing trends in general and the role of social media in particular.

It is true that dialog marketing is undergoing a major transition. New channels are turning up everywhere which are already response-capable, or at least will be in the near future. And the inventiveness of our over seven billion fellow human beings in this respect is inexhaustible. If there aren’t already moving images in public toilets, it surely won’t be long before this last private and quiet place of retreat is taken from us.

Jokes aside, there is a lot happening. And not only that— it’s also very challenging. Because many of these new channels are digital ones, are available 24/7, motivate people to communicate more quickly and directly, and fundamentally democratize the opinion-forming process with regard to brands. Without being asked, we are in the middle of a quiet revolution.

“Content is king—now also because of involvement of customers #Dialogmarketing #Transformation“

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Remember the days before Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. When one brand message, and only one, was trumpeted out and was unmistakable for everyone. When press statements on the state of the nation were still carefully passed up and down from department to department before they went public. Good things take time, after all.

That was the old days. Now, people ask whether their brand should search for friends or not. Whether the company website should allow customer comments or not. Whether employees should be allowed to tweet or not. These questions are all right and understandable, but they do not aim at the actual heart of the quiet revolution.

The two central questions which are really crucial at the end of the day are:

  1. What do I really have to say or contribute? And is this an added value in the eyes of the target group, as well?
  2. Which leadership paradigm do I live? Do I serve and do I want to shape the future, or am I attached to power, position and fame?

Or, to reduce both questions to a common denominator: human beings are at the center. By the way: these are not questions which concern marketing alone. They concern the entire company, from the Board of Directors to the janitor. And they don’t stop short at suppliers and service providers.
And so, despite all the innovations, we are now back on familiar territory.

“Content is king”—I bet you’ve heard that before, right? The difference from before, however, is that content is no longer produced in secret rooms but, above all, by customer involvement. Solutions, added value and emotional experiences not only for people but with people.

Right. This makes things more strenuous than before, and it’s therefore all the more important that we self-critically examine the paradigms that shape our thoughts and actions day in, day out. Not just as individuals but also as a company. What do we think about negative customer opinions? Or about additional interfaces with colleagues? About the customer requirements of the next customer generation? Do we see opportunities or problems here? Do we have a crystal-clear mission statement for our corporate community which all our employees have internalized? A mission statement that not only exists on paper but which employees carry in their hearts— and which serves as a compass in the age of the quiet revolution, while the merry-go-round of life spins ever more quickly?

If not, there is no better time to start than now. For one thing is certain: we are only at the beginning of this quiet revolution.


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