When author and marketing guru Seth Godin published his book 'Permission Marketing' back in 2001, the traditional methods of marketing were being fundamentally transformed by the maturity of the internet and advanced email marketing techniques. Rather than attempting to "win" an end user's attention through mass marketing and an almost constant wave of interruptions, permission marketing focuses on giving people opportunities to receive relevant and pertinent messaging. Instead of pushing content, it is about pulling them in. With the focus on building intelligent systems within the enterprise, including the expansion of social collaboration capabilities and data-driven personalization, these same ideas that Godin wrote about in 2001 are being woven into our expectations for internal communications. By making internal comms more interactive and personal, organizations are giving employees more opportunities to collaborate -- and positively impacting end user adoption and engagement.
Companies are increasingly moving toward solutions that incorporate real-time communication and social collaboration capabilities into the workplace, but the trend is also shifting toward more user-generated and data-driven content as a way to pull people into the corporate dialog. By providing a much more personal and relevant end user experience, employees are more willing and able to discuss and share ideas, and to collaborate.
"Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them." -- Seth Godin
The problem with broadcast communication
Several years ago, a number of well-funded collaboration startups made the claim that email was dead or dying, and that social collaboration would soon replace the outdated platform. That reality never happened -- at least not the way these vendors had predicted.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence have crept into the intranet. Building business intelligence and discovery capabilities into the traditional email platform has transformed it from a purely broadcast communication mechanism into an important data repository. However, it is just one piece of the solution. On its own, without the added technology, email works best as a one-to-one platform, losing relevance and personal connection when the target audience grows too large. But as an information repository, linked to and accessible through other collaboration tools and search experiences, email is finding a second life.
In a 2015 study conducted by uSamp Research (CMSWire), their survey results showed that the ways in which people communicate are changing. Much of this change has to do with the nature of our enterprise tools which give us the ability to work from anywhere, across any device, and collaboratively with the people we need to work with, when we need to work with them.
In this sense, email is an important tool for push communications, or for broadcast messages. However, two-way or many-to-many communication and collaboration increasingly happens across other platforms. Email alone is no longer enough. According to the survey, more than 44 percent of workers want to see broader adoption of collaboration and communication tools. As employees become accustomed to connecting with friends and peers outside of the company through social networks, instant messaging platforms, and consumer-based web meeting platforms, they are requesting similar capabilities for internal communications. Communication must be two-way, synchronous as well as asynchronous, with conversation and data being portable across tools and devices.
Interaction can drive collaboration
Within many companies, collaboration is viewed as a "nice-to-have," but may not be viewed as business-critical. In these organizations, internal communications are still treated as a top-down activity, with important news and company policies pushed out to employees in a one-way flow. In other words, these companies have not "asked permission" to broadcast their messages, and as a result, people largely ignore them. And then these management teams wonder why adoption and engagement are stagnant, and why the corporate intranet seems abandoned.
Organizations that recognize the qualitative and quantitative benefits of enterprise collaboration -- and of the need to gain permission to communicate and collaborate with their employees -- will find their employees much more willing to participate in the corporate dialog.
Making internal communications more interactive can have a number of business benefits:
Establishing and supporting corporate culture
Disseminating important information more quickly that traditional channels
Making communication more personal and relevant
Fostering friendships and the cross-pollination of ideas
Driving toward a shared understanding of corporate goals and purpose
At Beezy, we recognize that internal communicates are never a one-way distribution of information, but should provide a way for employees to respond, provide feedback, and share with their peers. Features such as our new Idea Campaigns can spark innovation, and turn a simple corporate communication into an innovation pipeline by allowing people to discuss, critique, and share ideas.