Real conversations with real people about real products and services.

Reading this article from Azeem Azaar yesterday, and reflecting on conversations over dinner last night here at The Retail and eCommerce Directors Forum I am struck, yet again, how much opportunity there still is in companies truly engaging in online conversations with customers or business partners - and how few do.

Most companies still hold the internet at arms length, whether through the controlled actions of their own marketing departments or, even worse, by using digital agencies many of whom are still stuck in the internet dark ages.

And yet their staff are increasingly all over the internet, probably having to try and work out if they are allowed to talk about work and if so not sure how to. Conversations about their organisations will be happening all around them. They are going to have to join in some time.

I don't want to be a business's "friend". Remember Organizations Don't Tweet - People Do. I don't even want to be friends with people who work for the companies I buy from. But I do want to have real conversations with real people about the real products and services I want to buy.

Your staff are my best chance of doing this. Why not help them get good at it and help you get closer to your customers?