Real-time Communications – Marketers, it’s time to take note.

I joined Mojo Lingo with a background in solution architecture, UX and product management in digital technologies. My focus had been mostly Web 1.0, 2.0 and leaning into 3.0 strategies and technologies. Most recently, I’d been a member of a marketing strategy agency – not unlike the one depicted in the TV show, Mad Men, except I can’t remember one martini lunch.

So many options to choose from, good tech goes missing

The digital technology team was invigorated by the dynamic and vast world of interactive technologies, but it also felt significant anxiety about staying on top of all the technologies, methodologies and opportunities available. It was a constant challenge for the team to provide the best, most complete and sustainable recommendation to a client – to say it kept us up at night was an understatement. We couldn’t seem to read enough white papers, product reviews, blogs, or forums to make us feel absolutely confident we were always sending our clients in the best direction despite our best intentions.

After joining Mojo Lingo, my agency anxiety level shot up again when I realized that there was a whole other world of digital technologies that had been overlooked in our solution set: Real-time communications. As I’ve come to understand how powerful and game-changing these technologies are and will be, I’ve been struggling to understand how and why marketers, in general, continue to overlook them.

The most amazing structures can be overlooked

The most amazing structures can be overlooked

This post is the first of a series of posts about my exploration into these technologies, an exploration that I hope will reveal why historically real-time communication solutions have been dismissed in marketing strategy and what technologies and events may be changing that mindset. Consider this post a message to my beloved former colleagues and pals: the two worlds of digital marketing and telephony technologies are converging fast, and I urge you to take note. If you don’t, by omission, you may soon be under-serving your clients and feeding their competition.

So what exactly is Real-time Communications?

To set the groundwork, let’s define digital real-time communications:

Real-time communications include any mode of communication in which users can exchange information instantly or with undetectable delay (latency). This technology is also known as synchronous communication and facilitates a bidirectional conversation.

Digital real-time communication examples include:

real-time communications

Junior goes to camp

  • IM (instant messaging)
  • VoIP Voice over IP, also called Internet telephone
  • IRC (Internet Relay Chat) or other chatting modes
  • Live IP-based videoconferencing / teleconferencing
  • Live IP-based telepresence

In contrast, email, blog posts, comments on blog posts or forums are all identified as time shifting modes of communication, or asynchronous communication. The communication doesn’t unfold in real-time mode, it is not bidirectional, and they are not always (though sometimes) conversational.

So now that it’s defined, what does it mean?

While I now better understand and consider these real-time communication technologies quite a good fit for certain types of problems we’ve been solving for in the marketing agency world, I recognize from first hand experience that there are a few barriers that continue to present themselves and to prevent it from being top of mind. However, my work with Mojo Lingo has exposed me to why they should be top of mind, especially in 2013. In my next post, I’ll tackle some of the obstacles I’ve observed and suggest why now is the time for marketers to be thinking about real-time communications.

In the meantime, please feel free to jump start my next post and comment on the obstacles / opportunities you’ve witnessed with real-time communications.

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