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Action, Interaction and Reaction from the Ritz team

A hot topic: The best way to reach your audience

Posted: November 12, 2010 - 8:58 AM ET - by Elisabeth

Contrary to popular belief, I am a fan of technology. I am fascinated and delighted by the technological advances that allow us to communicate quickly and effectively as a virtual agency. I’m like the queen of three-way calling around here!

Seriously, smart phones, Google apps and Skype are just a few of the tools that help us to interact with each other and our clients efficiently.  In many cases, we have even been able to expand our services or avert crises.

Yet (couldn’t you just feel that coming?), there is truth to Marshall McLuhan’s expression “the medium is the message.” Some advancements can create a barrier to your audiences’ receptivity to your message. Let’s take me – and texting – as an example.  I wish I could declare my beloved iPhone a “No Text Zone.” Not just in the car. Everywhere!

If it’s such a burning issue that you need my attention RIGHT NOW and you are interrupting me with an urgent tone being emitted from my phone, then why isn’t it ringing? If you know me well enough to text me, you probably know how annoyed I am by the abbreviations and grammatical shortcuts that are inherent to texting. You also know that I am not hip enough to know whether your are Laugh(ing) Out Loud or wishing me Lots of Luck and that I am old enough to think BFF is a typo. If it’s not urgent, send me an email. If you’re 1) a client, 2) somebody I like, or 3) you give it a catchy title, I may even skip over the 50 or 60 emails ahead of you and open it first. … and if you have called and/or sent an email, enough already!

I recently signed up to follow a particular marketing guru on Twitter and was surprised to receive four – 4! – text messages promoting books, lectures, etc. Now I’m no guru, but I know it’s not a smart strategy to run up my phone bill for text messages and expect me to spend more money on your product or service. I selected Twitter as my preferred format to receive the information.

If you ask me, I will happily tell you how I want to receive information from you. … and here’s the most important part of this post: So will all the rest of your stakeholders. Let each stakeholder tell you whether he or she prefers phone, email, text message, Twitter or another channel. Don’t annoy them before you even capture their interest.

For me, if it is really important, pick up a phone. … or you could set yourself on fire and run through my office. If it’s urgent, I’m going to need to feel the heat.

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