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Conversation is not about critical mass; it's about critical connections. You will forgive me for talking about leadership for a moment. I know you're all interested in marketing and have recently joined probably one too many social networks, feeling a bit of indigestion in reading yet another title with the word conversation skillfully placed where it can be noticed.

According to Margaret Wheatley, we live in a quantum world. And that might explain a few things. For example, for those of you fond of thinking of metaphors for working together, jazz might be a good one to represent such a world. Because it demands that we be present together, and be willing to improvise.
Isn't blogging all about improvising? We agree on melody, tempo, and key, and then we play. We listen carefully, we communicate constantly, and suddenly, there is music -- possibilities beyond anything we ever imagined.
The music -- the conversation -- comes from a unified whole we have accessed among ourselves, a relationship that transcends our false sense of separatedness. "When the music appears, we can't help but be amazed and grateful," writes Wheatley.
The relationship is what makes the conversation, even if it's only in someone's head. We never do know and rarely learn how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness.
That's one of the reasons why I think blogs are excellent internal communications tools. Part environments where to provide transparency into the inner workings of an organization, especially when it is quite large, part places where employees can learn to play jazz/fit together.
Influence does not occur as a direct result of force exerted from one person to another, it ensues depending on people's engagement with the ideas presented to them. To engage and tap the creativity that is already present, we need to present opportunities that will allow the forming of relationships.
What employees perceive is what ultimately the world and your customers will touch .... your colleagues throughout the organization are also brand ambassadors and company spokespeople .... formal or informal. Listening for a cue of where you enter the conversation is a hallmark of jazz and of great marketing organizations.
Whether you work in the marketing department or not, being part of a culture that understands the importance of connectedness shows in every external touch point and relationship. This is why blogs have become an important tool for communication -- it was never a question of critical mass, it was always a matter of critical connection.
Are you using a blog internally? If yes, how? If no, why not?

Continue reading "The Marketing Conversation Starts Inside" ... Read the full article

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Valeria Maltoni helps businesses understand how customers and communities have changed marketing, public relations, and communications - and how to build value in this new environment. As a communicator she specializes in marketing communications, customer dialogue, and brand management. Valeria has come to define modern business as a long and open conversation. Conversation Agent is recognized among the world's top online marketing blogs. Valeria is a Fast Company expert blogger and a contributor to The Blog Herald. She is a co-author of , a groundbreaking ebook collaboration by 103 of today's top marketing writers. Valeria is a frequent public speaker on brand marketing, customer service, and building successful business teams. She publishes in both English and Italian. Educated at the University of Bologna and Villanova University, Valeria combines New World sensibilities with Italian style. She's an active member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the American Marketing Association (AMA), the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (WACA), and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).