Marketers are experts in remote communications, but in the way we work we revert to type

It is interesting that, as the country is hit by two apocalyptic events – the floods and the tube strikes in London – people are once again talking about remote working. For my business it is a big issue – not only do we have employees the breadth of the country, but also at the far reaches of the globe. I spend many early mornings and late evenings on conference calls with someone whose day is somewhat sunnier than my own.

Secret Marketer

But conference calls are funny old things. There is an amusing video going around YouTube about the pitfalls of such forms of communication as people drop off, stop paying attention or generally do all the things face-to-face interaction overcomes. And when the conversation is in a language that is not the mother tongue of many attendees, and/or the person with most to say is walking along a windy high street, I have to say that, while they are a necessary evil, it is hard to beat eyeballing someone in front of you.

When I started out, my team were all within slapping distance of the boss. When the boss spoke, people would stop what they were doing and listen. They were expected to commute in and/or move house to where the marketing department was based – none of this working from home malarkey. 

Technology has changed all that – but for the better?

As marketers we are meant to be experts in communication – to get our point across using whatever medium is available and make the recipient take action as a result. We are used to communicating with customers miles away, so surely we should be the first to embrace remote communication. We should be able to use clarity of message, embrace non-visual aids and cut through noise to get our point across. 

What is so different when we are talking to colleagues? I guess that, while there should be no difference, when it comes to how we do business we forget what we do for a living and revert to type. And, after all, is there a better time to catch up on that mounting inbox of emails than a good old conference call on global risk management?