Why I’m So Passionate about the Digital Dialogue

ion interactive CEO, Justin Talerico

ion interactive CEO, Justin Talerico

How many people really listen? The best conversationalists listen, process and engage extraordinarily well. The same is true of salespeople — the most effective ones are often the ones who listen and process better. Listeners tailor what they say based on what’s said to them. Their message gets more and more specific as the conversation goes on.

Marketers have traditionally not been real good at listening. There are reasons for that — some more valid than others. But the fact is, marketers have always been much better at talking than listening. Unfortunately in the digital world, this lack of listening skills affects sales as well. If marketing doesn't probe and listen, they can't pass on what they hear and the sales team is left in the dark.

Defining the Digital Dialogue

The digital dialogue is a marketing conversation that takes place before personal selling. It’s a mutually beneficial exchange of information between a brand and its prospects. It takes place between an interactive web experience and a user.

What it’s not is important to define as well. The digital dialogue is definitely not long forms asking for field after field of data. That’s more inquisition-style than conversational. And, as we all know, non-essential form fields reduce conversion rates at a breakneck pace.

The mechanics of the digital dialogue are important. More accurately, the perception of interacting with experiences that engage in a dialogue must be that we’re not probing for self-serving personal information. Instead, we’re enabling a more meaningful experience for the customer. We’re listening, and using what they tell us to make their interactions with us more specific and relevant.

Listening and relevance happen both within the prospect’s current session, as well as in future sessions. Messaging becomes more tailored as time goes on. And when prospects do move from marketing to sales — either by raising their hand or by sales reaching out to them — the knowledge captured in the digital dialogue informs the human dialogue.

The real conversion picks up where the digital one left off.

Kind of sounds like marketing & sales utopia with a dash of super-alignment thrown in for good measure, huh? Well, obviously, it’s not that easy or everyone would be doing it. But establishing a basic dialogue is pretty straightforward.

You can start by mapping out the top three things you’d like to know about your prospects — things that are strong indicators of how they fit with your brand and things that align with their needs. Take those and visualize them as an assessment, quiz, survey, game or other interactive experience. Then measure the relative quality of the prospects that engage in your dialogue. Then measure how those sales conversations go compared to cooler ones. And how sales efficiency is impacted.

Establishing a two-way communications channel in marketing satisfies buyers who want to move deeper in the funnel before interacting with sales. And it provides high-value segmentation data that drives personalization, relevance, qualification and scoring.

That, in a nutshell, is why I’m so passionate about the digital dialogue.

Here’s an example of an assessment that engages in a digital dialogue with its participants.

And, if you want to see some of the mechanics in action, join us for a product webinar this Thursday. It’s specifically about enabling the dialogue in interactive content experiences.