Welcome to the virtual bazaar

photo by Allie Cooper

Back in the days of yore and the world of yester-year:
Back before the Targets, Amazons, and Walmarts took over, we lived in a world filled with marketplaces.

Traders from near and far would gather every week to show off their wares and tell their tales. Everything from coffee beans to chamber pots was available to the masses. Everyone had favorite traders and soothsayers, who knew them by name and remembered their top-picked trinkets and savory spices.

But the marketplace was so much more than the original one-stop shop. It was the piazza where politicians would campaign to the masses. It was the center where women would meet and talk about their families, their children and the dinners they were planning. It was the watering hole where men would discuss politics and sport and philosophize about life in general.

It was the place where the community went to meet each other, and to talk.

The world wide market:
Today, that community has grown, and so has the marketplace. No longer is the marketplace limited to those within a certain square radius, and no longer is information on goods only available to a handful of experts.

Instead of discussing remedies and politics in the town square, there are online forums and social media, where someone from the other side of the world can share a viewpoint that otherwise may have gone unheard and never considered.

One against a million:
However, those experts that used to have a monopoly on knowledge and goods are in a bit of a bind—no longer are they in control of what their customers can learn about their product. For the first time the customers, not the businesses, are able to control the amount, flow, source and speed of brand and product information.

But, instead of businesses burying their heads in the sand and waiting for the return of the bazaars, maybe it’s just time for a business communication makeover.

Time to let someone else have the floor:
For the first time, business communications is all about listening and responding. Instead of shoving your knowledge down the throats of your customers and prospects, try lending an ear. It’s no longer about self-serving monologues, it’s about a dialogue and engagement and, you know, listening.

Bring back the communication:
You see the markets of old were never all about consumption and control of information. They always thrived on our ability to communicate and connect with our fellow man. The first markets were filled with talk. And guess what? They’re making a comeback.

One Response

  1. Kay Martin says:

    Well said Allie. I like the direction the world is taking in regards to customers being more in control and brands having to be more transparent and responsive! That bond is more real and there is stronger sense of loyalty when a brand interacts with customers on that level in such honest and empathic ways.

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