Small, Frequent, Fine-Grained Interactions

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I really liked this post by Graham Oakes over on the Econsultancy blog describing the challenge organisations face in adapting to the ‘small, frequent, fine-grained’ patterns of interaction that characterise mobile. He talks about how they erode organisational boundaries (“each one chips away at the edge, breaking up the clean line that many organisations like to place between themselves and their external environment”) by breaking transactional boundaries and cycles and bringing an informality to interactions.

It reminded me of Paul Adams’ post from a couple of months back on how the future of advertising will be about many lightweight interactions over time

Undoubtedly, the growing significance of always-on platforms (and owned and earned media) makes this kind of stuff more important. And doubtless this brings new challenges of exactly the kind described by Graham and Paul. I liked Graham’s suggested imperatives about devolving power to the edges, giving people the tools and insight they need, and sensible use of automation. Many of these challenges and themes arose in the research I did at the turn of the year into evolving client-side marketing structures and agency digital capability.

But I don’t think this means that we’ve seen the end of ‘campaigning’ approaches. Bursts of activity that have a beginning, middle, and an end. The real challenge, I think, is how organisations can balance both types of activity and successfully combine small, frequent, ongoing, unplanned and informal interactions with big, bold, brassy, planned bursts of activity. How they might really capitalise on what Matt Locke once called the ‘new patterns of culture’ – slow, fast, and spiky. There’s a whole book to be written on that one.

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