We all have one: a friend or a relative with the communication clock. There’s that person in your life that has a preset ratio of calls per day passed that is somehow directly wired to the quality of your friendship. Perhaps you are that person. I respect that, but I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I have no clock. Picture this: we’re having a conversation at a family event, say Christmas. I can be halfway through a sentence when we’re suddenly interrupted by something else. I’ll go handle that matter, go home, go to bed, get up the next day and go to work. It is entirely possible for me to go two years without seeing you. When we do talk again, I can literally finish the sentence we were in the middle of when we were interrupted. That’s how unaffected I am. Our friendship isn’t challenged by this gap. I’m not worried that we haven’t talked. I don’t remember how long it’s been. I don’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning.
Then there are the people with the clock. You’ll never talk to them enough. You can identify them in one of two ways: they’ll tell you all the time or they won’t. The latter is much worse! That’s the slow silent guilt version. Like a sleeping lion, that’s dangerous. Leave it alone. The former isn’t much better. Even when you do make contact, you’re reminded that you don’t do it enough. It is constant and abrasive and you can’t win!
Somewhere in the middle is the “correct” amount of communication.
Businesses have to walk this line as well. On one end of the spectrum is the spam mailer. For whatever reason, some version of this is the all-too-common standard. If you could find the computer sending this junk out, you’d probably set the whole building on fire. On the other end, there’s the business that has a great product or idea but doesn’t want to bother you about it. The hope is that the customer will just casually find them on the 3rd page of Google search results. Neither one is particularly helpful.
I’ve been shopping for cars recently. This industry is in particular need of an overhaul. If you’re even lucky enough to find an email address in their unusually bug-laden site, you have no idea who it is going to. Most of them force you to put way too much contact information in an obscure little form. In what has to be 80% of cases, you get an initial blast of unusable coupons, bait-and-switch car prices for cars you aren’t interested in and if you’re lucky, there’s a small note at the bottom of the email from the actual salesman you intended to write. Then it happens: the first daily (if not four-hourly) email blast… you’re on their email server. Good luck, weary traveler. I went to one dealership in Austin where the salesman wrote a clean, graphic-free and link-free response. In the response he offered his own cell number and the freedom to text whenever needed. I’m still talking with him two weeks later. Why? He gave me the option of when and how to contact him. His information isn’t buried in spam. I define the communication clock.
That’s the value of text marketing. It is 100% opt in and 100% opt out. You cannot legally continue sending texts once someone has asked you to stop. At the same time, if someone wants to hear from you, they get what they wan so text marketing provides the company with users that voluntarily engaged in their marketing efforts. They’re almost impossible to ignore, yet not so wildly overused that you feel bothered by it. You quickly and conveniently receive the information that is valuable to you. It’s with you wherever you are. It’s your communication clock. Nobody will bother you more than you want. Nobody will add you to a giant server list on an unmanned computer on an island you can’t find. At the same time, you won’t be forgotten. You’ll get the right amount of relevant updates when you need them.
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