Ripples from the Remote Past

Long before telecommuting was thrust upon reluctant and skeptical businesses by a global pandemic, the earliest version of this website proclaimed,

“Leveraging the advantages offered by the Internet to leave the costs of bricks-and-mortar behind, Ripple Effects provides digital marketing expertise at lower costs for us that become lower costs for our clients.”

Though it is true that, over the past three years, telecommuting has won over the hearts and minds of even the most skeptical micro-managers, it wasn’t always such an easy sell…

In 2006, with the global pandemic still a decade and a half in the future, a representative from our team was invited to propose platform planks to a local federal government policy task force on environmental action.

Return in your mind’s eye if you will to that simpler time when Daniel Powter’s Bad Day was #1 on the Billboard 100 chart and covering your face was only something you did if someone caught you listening to it at a red light. A digital marketing upstart walks into a boardroom of politicians and policy wonks and utters the following words (which in hindsight, may as well have been a sorcerous alien manuscript).

National Telecommuting Strategy.

What witchcraft is this? What does it have to do with the environment? The perplexed assemblage of policy-makers had been invited to entertain an idea of incredible audacity:

Canadian leadership should promote and incentivize implementation of online remote operations for businesses, agencies, and educational institutions. The reasoning? Cost savings; increased productivity; better employee-work-life balance; lower costs to the health care system; increased access to the labour market for persons with disabilities; decreased wear on infrastructure; enhanced international engagement opportunities in commerce; mitigation of lost-productivity due to inclement weather, natural disasters, or (ahem) pandemics — and perhaps most importantly, creating a remarkably powerful mechanism for limiting the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

As all this cheekiness might suggest, the National Telecommuting Strategy was not a #1 chart-topper of Bad Dayproportions with said government task force. But over the last three years, the topic has come up often around here. How would things be different right now if Canadians had already been telecommuting for a decade when the pandemic hit?

Never one to shy from diving in after measuring the depth, Ripple Effects took the spirit of the National Telecommuting Strategy to heart — and, nearly a decade before functioning remotely became the difference between swimming and sinking, the little marketing agency with metrics as its mantra became a fundamentally Internet-based operation.

Part-and-parcel with being a telecommuting pioneer that also happened to be a marketing agency, came the notion that a society making the move to working digitally, would also move toward marketing digitally. Like a fish naturally takes to seafood, Ripple Effects took to digital marketing (and also, perhaps to a fault, to water-themed metaphors). 

If digital marketing had become important because people merely played and shopped online, how important was it now that people work there too? Exposure alone dictates that revisiting a shift to digital emphasis in your marketing-communication mix is likely — especially for business-to-business products and services.

If personal devices are now also business devices, how do you properly parse consumer and b2b audiences with consideration for how, when, and where they prefer to be engaged? The importance of formatting content for smartphones and tablets grew. Zoom? Meta? Say what?

Virtually overnight, everything became a moving target — and feedback by way of analytics got bumped from merely being a competitive advantage to being essential. A fundamental paradigm shift had been forced upon the global business community in a span of time measured in months; and just like that, businesses were fish out of water.

As a remote collaboration and service delivery pioneer, that is also an analytics driven digital marketing leader, Ripple Effects understands the fundamental considerations required to isolate, engage, convert, and retain audiences in a telecommuting world.

And in an ocean where people are suddenly workers as well as surfers, your best bet for catching a wave is to talk to the people who make them.