Dialogue starts with listening


In its simplest form, dialogue communications consists of listening to customers and prospects,engaging them in a creative way that makes them want to talk to you, soliciting a response, listening to their reply, and responding in kind with addition information, advice, answers or questions.  All-in-all, a fairly straightforward process for B2B marketers to master.

We think there are three basic steps to consider when looking at dialogue communications as a process in your overall marketing communications activities.

Step one: Shut up and listen

What this really means is listening to customers and prospects before you initiate brand communication.  Listen with big ears.  Hear what they have to say.  Don’t just listen to the internal sales team.  It’s vitally important for you to understand what’s relevant to customers and prospects and how they’d like to be communicated with.  And when.

Step two: Engage them

When you think about it, it’s kinda like asking someone to dance.  You don’t just grab them and begin gyrations as many so-called “direct” communicators and the practitioners of CMR do.  At this stage of dialogue, messages don’t have to be personalized.  But they should solicit a response.  They should ask for a contact, ask a question, ask for a reply, make an offer.  Engage them in such a way that they respond.

Step three: Listen and respond

If you have done the first two steps correctly, hopefully you are getting some response. So you have to be prepared to respond immediately to specific requests or questions with personal, specific replies delivered in whatever form they want them.

No matter what media tools you use to continue this conversation, the tools should function interactively.  It’s the back ‘n forth dialogue that builds brand familiarity and ultimately some belief that your brand may be the answer to their needs.

So put on your listening ears and get to it.  Then create the opportunities for dialogue that will build your brand.


Photo credit: Creative Commons

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