I took some flack last week for my synchronicity comment in this blog. A couple of people reached out and said either, “what the hell are you talking about,” or “you’re frigging crazy.” The latter is a pretty typical daily occurrence for me, it’s true… but the former: fair point. I didn’t elaborate. I shall now do so in the most asynchronous way possible: writing this blog two weeks later, while letting my brain partially melt listening to Ruben Gonzalez.
Hablar cara a cara es la mejor manera… whoa… this Cuban shit is getting to me. But Gonzalez is right: talking face to face really is the best way. Marketing is changing, and it’s changing quickly. It seems like every single day there is some new channel that fragments our attention spans further. To quote Douglas Coupland: I MISS MY PRE-INTERNET BRAIN. (Great read, btw – if you click on just one measly link here, make it this one. My other links are usually locker room innuendo or 90s rock videos. This one isn’t!)
Thanks to the likes of Amazon, Uber, and Best Buy, clients are getting increasingly accustomed to personalized, instant attention. Don’t get me wrong: I know many of you are trying. And getting some verbose email about a real estate development after filling out a reg form on a project website is fine.
However, I will burst the real estate world’s collective bubble right now: your sales teams almost never actually respond. At least not in a fortnight. In towns like Vancouver, Seattle, LA, and Toronto, where it’s a knife fight just to present offers, this sucks. I would literally bet my dog Speedo that most buyers don’t want to wait longer than Moby Dick to be contacted with answers to their questions. (I couldn’t make it through one blog without a big-haired rocker. Sigh.)
Marketing Has a New Clock
Anyway, back to timeliness. The old model of digital marketing was as follows:
Email blast or web visitor → data form → email back or send content
→ CRM/nurture → sales call → qualification
The problem with this model is the asynchronicity of it – if, indeed, your sales team follows up at all. Now, we can have instant, synchronous conversations that look like this:
SEO/SEM/organic traffic → web conversation (qualified via bot
if you’re really keen) → highly qualified lead
For 2018, I say f#*k the forms. Get your marketing team to investigate the plethora of messaging apps out there and start having timely conversations with real people. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s much more valuable to both parties. For my “you’re frigging crazy” feedback friends (yeah, you know who you are) who are trying to tell me that nobody wants to use messaging or web conversation apps… heard of Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Viber, or WhatsApp? You don’t use one or two of those?
For the quants out there, here’s some more data to stoke your analytical fires:
- In 3Q15, messaging app usage surpassed social networks.
- More than 50% of users between 18 and 55 have used chat bots.
- Consumers no longer believe in store hours – they want 24x7 service.
- 1 in 5 adults over age 33 would prefer not to communicate with this guy. (All kidding aside, messaging makes everyone look sexy.)
Still think I’m cray?! My prediction for 2018: The best and the brightest real estate developers will start having real conversations in real time with their valuable customers – rather than subjecting them to yet another useless form.
The first law of thermodynamics says that energy (consequently mass) can’t be destroyed or created; it can only be changed from one form to another. The elemental particles that make up you, me, the earth, space, the stars are all the same. When we are born, they form our brains and bones; when we die, they will form something else. It’s always been this way, and always will be. In one form or another, our energy will continue for billions of years.
Our consciousness… well, that may be another story.
Billions of years before us, billions of years after: in the grand scheme, our lives, no matter how consequential, are the tiniest blips on the cosmic timeline. Our legacies, futures, pasts – they really don’t matter. But our consciousness, the essence of being, might matter a little. It may be the only thing that actually matters, since our matter doesn’t matter (nerd humour).
One of the things I’ve learned in my brief 40 or so years is this: consciousness is a choice. Synchronicity is important. Being present – here and now – is all that this experience called life is about. Consciousness is what turns electrical inputs (lights, sounds, touch) into the human experience – the experience of being aware.
It’s that experience that we take for granted, or get too busy to acknowledge, or lose track of. But it’s fundamentally what makes us tick as human beings: presence and interaction. And maybe we forget that our clients, our friends, random strangers on the internet – each and every one of them is battling this experiential crisis, too.
So in 2018 – my year of synchronicity – I am going to be present, be open to experience, be open to failure, reciprocate to people who care about me, enjoy the process, seek discomfort, try new wine, soak it all in, and (as you can see) be vulnerable.
Let’s open things up a little. We just might like it. And our clients might, too.
Life is a helluva story.