Each year sees a new trend in the evolution of business communications. Over the past years people have called out Unified Communications, Cloud Computing and more recently Mobility and SIP-Enabled Infrastructure.
Most predictions focus on the evolution of the technology rather than the cultural changes that impact how we communicate within our organizations and beyond.
Have technologies evolved to meet the changing needs of business communications or has technology inspired shifts in communication patterns? Whichever camp you’re in, it’s important to take a breath, look up and scan the landscape so that you can best understand your employees’ and customers’ motivations, experiences and communication expectations. It is this realization that will enable you to improve how your business communicates, not an in-depth understanding of the underlying technology.
I took my own advice recently and looked up and across the communication horizon. What I saw is encapsulated in my Seven Rs of Modern Day Communications. They’re listed below for your consideration.
Speed is the hallmark of today’s business communications. Due to social networks or mobile technologies, the expectation is clear: I want answers and I want them now. Haste is challenging quality at every turn. Finding the balance is the corporation’s next big trial.
Technology has spurred on the Big Data phenomena and crammed data stores with transactional, social and profile data on consumers, employees and other stakeholders. So much so that software (and budgets) cannot adequately mine the horde of data sets for nuggets of insight. On-demand contextual data will be the focus of productivity and strategy sessions in boardrooms across the country. Meta-information will supplement voice, video, chat and text communications to provide greater context for customer experience design.
The phrase “Content is King” was prevalent throughout 2011 and if it was accurate then, in 2012 Context is its Queen. Social interaction and customer care have become completely intertwined. Big Data requires a new understanding of the relationship between the content generated and collected among sales, marketing and customer service teams.
The proliferation of screens, especially mobile devices including smart phones and tablets, has added a new dimension to content creation and display. Multi-device formatting is quickly becoming the war chant of Customer Experience strategist globally. Blog posts for example must be written in various formats to ensure proper engagement across different platforms but this is no longer limited to text. Content translation to sensory preferences such as visual and audio mediums including podcasts, videos, audio, etc. is a newly mandated content strategy.
“Cutting through the clutter” has been a catch phrase since the 90s but it’s no longer sufficient. Yes, content must be visible and stand out from the plethora of mixed media messages we’re bombarded with daily but it must now also impact the reader on an emotional level if it is to solicit any advocacy through sharing, commenting, tweeting, etc.
Related to point #1 above, our 24/7 connectivity will increase the demand for unique content creation and content support. Front line customer service teams will have their hands full identifying, qualifying and addressing the flood in incoming messages that they’ll require 24/7 support services from content producers and eventually content analysts. Same applies to the sales and marketing teams.
Lastly and maybe most importantly, will be the shift in focus to Content ROI. As businesses move along the strategy continuum from social media to social business, CEOs and CIOs will demand a demonstration of the financial value that social communications drive to the bottom line. “Measurable Content” and “Profitable Content” will be new buzz words shortly.
Content Marketing has hit the big leagues. And with it comes added pressure to perform, complete with greater risks and even greater rewards.
Do you agree with the Seven Rs listed above? Others you’d add? Some you’d challenge? I’d love to hear from you.
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego
Join us Wed, May 2nd, 2012 at 8 PM EST for the #bizforum Twitter debate where we’ll explore the future of business communications. Follow along on TweetChat or your favorite Twitter application.