John over at Full Bleed Arts Marketing has a post that made me think. With all the tools at our disposal today, we seem to be more internally focused than ever! Maybe the fact that we now interact so much digitally means that we’ve lost the ability to think about humans being on the end of our messages.
Sales and marketing, for all the hype, are in my opinion the hardest to technologically leverage – because it depends on good ol’ human nature. And that hasn’t changed since “the conversation” was scrawled on a cave wall. Whether you are a “drummer” in the 1880’s hopping the next train to call on the local dry goods merchant or the most Facebooked and Twittered “social media expert”, persuasion and communication is still your stock in trade. We just do it with a button push instead of a two-day train ride now.
I remember being in a sales position years ago, back when trade shows and that kind of marketing was the norm. Going to each one was a gamble. The costs were usually outrageous, and based on the show’s draw. You were literally priced out of the market on the bigger well-attended shows, unless you could really convert your contacts at the show to sales. If all you did was stand there and collect business cards without making some kind of human connection, any follow-up contact after the show was pretty much wasted.
I think the same applies today to the newer tools. My relatively brief Twitter experience really only garnered me a bunch of impersonal link-blasts. Most of the email lists I have subscribed to, or documents I’ve been able to download from someone’s site or blog have been pretty generic, hoping to cast the net as wide as possible. Most of it is just rehashes of rehashed information. It is almost as if our ability to broadcast our message easily and for free has made us make the message more impersonal.
You’ve still got to connect, human to human. And the principles for doing that have never changed, and never will. It’s the one part of the world that will never be quantified, no matter how many databases are at our disposal.