Yesterday’s in-house sales meeting resulted in some powerful insights. My sales employees were urging me to expand the scope and frequency of our online editions, using offshore resources to generate daily content updates and produce weekly e-letters amalgamating the content. “We can use this to generate value-added resources for our advertisers,” one representative said.
I admit that I wasn’t the very best listener in the world at the meeting, which ran to its full hour maximum time allotment (company policy is that all meetings except for special twice-yearly planning meetings must start on time and conclude within 60 minutes). I had been (and still am) working to resolve a challenging phone system problem. For some reason, outbound calls are going through okay, but inbound calls to one of the company’s lines — which includes our toll free 888 number — are heading to constant ringing.
We aren’t big enough to employ an in-house technician for this sort of stuff, and it takes some effort to figure out the technical support rules, especially when the problem’s cause can be at several levels. But this isn’t the main point of retelling this matter. It is this:
The phone doesn’t matter.
Wait — just five years ago, the loss of a major phone line and the ability for clients to connect with us through the 888 number would result in a business panic attack — I mean, if potential clients (and current ones) couldn’t reach us, we would be in an over-the-top crisis. Today, however, virtually the only uninvited calls we receive are solicitations. Notably, as well, as I checked into the voice mail system, I discovered a lost voice mailbox with several old messages dating back more than two years. Every important message lost in what effectively had been permanent voice mail jail ultimately got through (and quickly), either with email, or through some other communication.
Here, then, we are in a place where conventional phone communication doesn’t matter, normal print media has lost much of its effectiveness, and yet we can remain viable as a media and marketing business, in part because of our ability to adapt and create value.
We’ll set up the enhanced coverage and online capability — providing venues for the branded content described in this iMediaconnection story — and, yes, I’ll arrange to repair the phone links. The marketing rules are changing. Are you catching on?