Archives for posts with tag: digital

When my Dad died, about 12 years ago, there were a number of pieces of paperwork we had to complete. I say paperwork because the forms we had to fill in were just that, paper.

Dad was truly pre-digital. He didn’t have a mobile phone, an email address or an online bank account. He didn’t have anything digital. Heck, the guy didn’t even own a pair of jeans. When he died, we wrapped up his affairs in a 100% offline way. And that was it. He generated no more paper. He didn’t write any more letters.

Nowadays a good portion of us are digital. I’m sure you are, reading this blog post. When you die, what will your digital death be like? Will someone set up your email out of office for you? ‘I’m sorry, but Paul is not in a position to reply to your email, ever. You see, he’s dead.’ Will someone close your Facebook account, your other accounts, your online subscriptions? Will they even know where your passwords are, if you’ve committed them to offline or online sttorage somewhere? There’s guy I’m connected to on LinkedIn who hasn’t just retired. He died along time ago, and I get his work anniversary notifications, which is a bit surreal.

Your digital death extends way beyond your physical death, perhaps forever. When you die, you’re not just in our hearts and minds, you’re still around in the ones and zeros.

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When it comes to experiencing things, there are two kinds of people. The first type is those who, if they can’t actively follow something live, they follow it online while they’re doing something else. For example, getting updates on the Wimbledon semi-finals while you’re at work. The second¬†type is those who, if they can’t experience all of it live, they want to shut the world away and experience it later, recorded, and have their own ‘private live’ – albeit somewhat delayed. The example of this is someone who doesn’t want to be disturbed with any updates on an¬†event, and who rushes home unmolested by real-time devices or intrusions to watch or listen to the recording.

I belong to the former group. I can’t see the point of experiencing an event in a sterile environment that’s live only to you. It’s asocial rather than anti-social. Being off the grid – and staying off the grid, which some people prefer to do – is pretty hard to do, especially in this connected world we inhabit. If we haven’t bothered to configure our settings, our laptops and mobile devices get pinged all the time by social media updates. Our instinct is to check the ping, even if we’re on silent – I’d better check, it might be important – and before we know it, our concentration drops for a moment, we read the update unwittingly, and the surprise is gone.

From a sales and marketing point of view, we have customers and prospects who embrace always-on technology, and some that don’t. We also have customers and prospects who are the first kind of people and some that are the second kind. As sales and marketing professionals, we need to try to allow customers to interact with us by whichever means they prefer, which might be exclusively one, or both.

Ask yourself this question: if I work in a predominantly digital environment how should I serve my customers and prospects who prefer to be off the grid, who respond to traditional rather than digital forms of communication, who don’t want to be contactable sometimes? Do I actually want to serve them at all?