The Art of Conversation Marketing

When you think of a marketer, you probably think of this:

An image of a man or woman shouting into a megaphone. Marketing gets a bad rap for the constant "Hey! Listen!" yelling that we do. Marketers are stuck on talking about their companies and their products as if that's the only message that a potential customer receives each day.

The reality is, we're exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day, at home, on TV, or on the Internet. We're bombarded.

Since we're marketing to humans, not prospect #12532A7, we need to bring back our humanity. One of those things, that many argue has been lost in the Smartphone Era, is the art of conversation.

‘I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,’ said Darcy, ‘of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.’
— Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

Just because one does not call upon one's neighbors for tea in the parlor anymore does not mean that conversation has been lost. It's changed—dramatically. We can use social media, online communities, and even review websites to bring back the art of conversation.

On Twitter, for example, we often deal with customer support inquiries or customer service, but that doesn't mean you don't have to leave personality completely out of it.

Adding in personal details and writing as if you were speaking can definitely help diffuse whatever situation you're dealing with. I recently was having issues with Facebook ads, and having the customer support rep via chat talk like a real person completely relaxed me and gave me the confidence that we'd figure it out, together, rather than having to formally explain everything on a script. 

Just the act of changing his text so that it fit in more colloquially made a big difference.

Just the act of changing his text so that it fit in more colloquially made a big difference.

And even though the focus is often on "hugging your haters," as Jay Baer suggests, there's nothing wrong with hugging your fans, too.

Related: What Marketers Can Learn From Customer Service (Ivy Exec)

It doesn't even have to be super creative.

A simple thanks and a hello, an acknowledgement that there's someone other there behind the tweeting machine, can do a lot to inject personality, build conversation, and ultimately, build up a picture of a brand as a collection of humans, not as a collection of robots churning out product after product.