Stay connected to stay relevant

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You know the feeling: You're sitting in a conference ses­sion or a long meeting and suddenly the voices start sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher, “Wonk-wonk-wonk-wonk-wonk.” That's right, “conference coma” happens to the best of us.

In fact, chances are you're reading this editorial from DMA08 in Las Vegas — facing a big, big show, with hundreds of exhibitors, sessions and special events. Believe it or not, attending a large conference can actually help you become more attuned to your own customer's experience. If you feel overwhelmed with too much information, imagine how a cus­tomer feels when he or she is bombarded with a vast amount of e-mail, direct mail and out-of-home advertising every day.

Our main feature this week highlighted the importance of being attuned your to customer's wants and needs (p. 16). Lauren Bell spoke to Travelocity about how it has survived in a tight travel market by focusing on its customer relationship management. What struck me was the importance of staying connected to customers in a relevant, personalized way. This may sound like a simple concept but it can have a powerful impact on a brand over time – especially during difficult times.

Whether it's an e-mail, a Web site or a conference, we all expect the same thing from communication and events these days — the stuff that is relevant and interesting. And, it's easi­est to pay attention when that information is presented in a way that is not overwhelming.

So, if you find yourself squinting as you face down the bright lights of the Vegas strip this week, remember that you are not alone — your customers may have the exact same reaction if you don't connect with them in the right way.

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