Interview with Tod Maffin, co-author of TOUCH

Interview with Tod Maffin, co-author of TOUCH thumbnail

Interview with Tod Maffin, co-author of TOUCH

Posted on September 29 by Mark Blevis And Tod Maffin
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Tod Maffin, co-author of TOUCH answers some questions today about what it was like writing TOUCH and why the solutions give in the book really work.

Tell us about your book.

Tod: I think we've all had this experience: You call your credit card or cable company and it asks you to punch in your phone number. Then you wait. Then it tells you how important you are, but you still wait. Then it claims you're in "priority sequence," whatever that is. You wait some more, and finally you get a rep — who, the first thing they ask you, is to tell them your phone number (which you punched in at the beginning of the call).

For better or worse, digital business has fundamentally changed how organizations hire staff, market their services, and connect with stakeholders. The problem is, in an effort to use technology to connect with people more effectively, we have lost the humanity — that critical person-to-person connection — which is the engine of commerce. TOUCH provides business leaders of all types of organizations — private to public sector, community to enterprise business — with real-world, proven solutions.

In short — TOUCH shows you how to restore the human layer in business without sacrificing any of the productivity gains in business. Because you owe it to your customers, your employees…. and yourself.

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

Tod: Indeed. While this book will resonate most strongly with leaders (of any title) in organizations, we've written it so that anyone in the company can start using the Five Factors right away. For instance, if you're helping manage your online channels and you get some negative feedback, are you responding the right way? Our SWARM methodology — five steps, sometimes as simple as five sentences — can convert angry commenters into advocates for your brand, but only if you're doing it right.

How did you research your book?

Tod: Mark and I both run firms specializing in making the digital world human again. We work with medium- to large-sized organizations to help them develop more human advertising messaging, legal responses, marketing tone, and internal communications. But besides relying on our own experiences with clients, we also spoke with dozens of thought-leaders in the space.

What was the creative process like for you?

Tod: Mark and I live in different cities but we both use online tools extensively. We tried a number of apps, like Evernote, Google Docs, and more, but in the end we settled on Scrivener — an app specifically designed for book-writing. It's great at non-linear thought capture, but lousy when it comes to sharing a document between two people, so Mark and I had specific days assigned where we were allowed to be in the document. We also met twice in-person for five days each of intense writing and brainstorming.

Describe the most memorable response you've received from a reader.

Tod: We've been overwhelmed so far by the response from business leaders about the book:

  • "The perfect blueprint to bringing that human touch back to business." — Mitch Joel
  • "TOUCH offers a refreshing look at the humanity behind our digital-centric lives, with practical tips for putting the humanity back in business" — Scott Monty
  • "Concise, readable, and actionable" — Shel Holtz

Mark Blevis

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Mark Blevis photo

Mark Blevis

Mark Blevis is president of, a firm which specializes in integrated digital communication and online reputation management. He also heads a team that researches the role of online information and interactions in shaping public opinion. He lives in Ottawa.

Tod Maffin

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Tod Maffin photo

Tod Maffin

Tod Maffin is president of engageQ Digital, a digital marketing firm specializing in creating human experiences for brands online. He speaks to more than forty conferences a year. He lives in Vancouver.