December 23, 2007
so what's all this new marketing stuff, anyway?
Some people call it "The New Marketing". Some people call it "Marketing 2.0". Whatever name you care to give it, I get asked about it a lot. Here are some random thoughts, in no particular order.
1. "The New Marketing" came about because of two unstoppable forces: [A] The invention of the internet and [B] the beginning of the demise of what Seth Godin calls the "TV-Industrial Complex". Thanks to the internet, as Clay Shirky famously stated in 2004, "the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast." While this was going on, large companies found out that people were starting to ignore their ads. We have too many choices, too many good choices, and we've gotten too good at ignoring messages.
2. Seth Godin is quite rightly the world's most respected writer on marketing. That being said, a lot of people haven't heard of Mark Earls yet. They're both friends of mine, so I don't want to compare them too much. Seth is a master of taking complicated ideas and presenting them in a way that any Average Joe can understand. Mark is more of a Marketing Geek's geek. His stuff makes uncomfortable reading for anyone in marketing who hasn't been stretching himself lately.
3. The most important asset in The New Marketing is "having something worth talking about". This makes certain marketing people squeamish. A lot of us grew up in an era of flashy commercials for rather uninspiring products, and something in our DNA makes us believe that's the proper way to go about things.
4. If I had one big insight from the last year, is how The New Marketing has everything to do with how your product or service acts as a "Social Object". Kudos to Jyri Engestrom for turning me on to it.
5. My second big insight from this year was learning that, even with a fairly everyday product, you can create social objects simply by using your products to make social gestures. That's what we did with Stormhoek. The message wasn't, "Here's why you should buy our wine". The message was, "We think you're kinda cool, and we like what you're doing. We'd like to be part of it, somehow." And much to everyone's surprise, it worked rather well.
6. Blogs were the big story for 2005. YouTube for 2006. Facebook for 2007. What's the big story for 2008? I have no idea. Nor do I think it matters. For the big story, really, is always going to be the same. Websites comes and go, but "Cheap, Easy, Global, Hyperlinked Media" will be with us forever, save for Nuclear Holocaust.
7. A lot of what fuels The New Marketing is quite simply, the most important word in the English Language: "Love". It's hard to get someone to read your website if you're not passionate about your subject matter.
8. I'm trying to train myself to avoid "Microsmosis" i.e. mistaking of a microcosm for the entire cosmos. If you got all your news from blogs, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there are just two phone companies- Apple and Nokia. But Sony, Motorola, LG and Samsung sell a lot of phones, too. Just not to our friends.
9. My Definition of "Web 3.0": Learning how to use the web properly without it taking over your life. I'm not holding my breath.
10. Why is it so hard to explain The New Marketing to large companies? Because the people who work there are simply not prepared to relinquish the idea of control. Live by metrics, die by metrics etc.
11. I find all this more interesting when I don't take it too seriously. Like all things internet, it's far too easy to get carried away.
[UPDATE:] Robert Scoble leaves an interesting comment:
Friends are going to be the big story in 2008. Here's a post about why it's wrong that I'm a gatekeeper between my friends and you.
Posted by hugh macleod at December 23, 2007 5:37 PM
Maybe we need a new term. Mktg by Bullying or Barketing or Mullying perhaps.
Neat,concise and just to the point...Liked the post very much..Kudos to you Hugh!!
2008? Micro-sites. Technology has evolved that we don't require a Facebook or monster app to join and socialize with folks. For a couple dollars a month, we can create our own micro-social network on the niche of our choice - and we can do it without advertising and influence from the monsters. Thanks in part to Ning.com for the evolution of social networking!
@Mikethebee I think Damien Mulley might already have designs on such a term
Excellent cartoon Hugh, good to see you back after your 'rest'
We seem to be living in a "post-cynical" age. I'm in my mid thirties, so I've grown up in a maelstrom of advertising on all media. In many ways, advertising never properly "sunk in." When I was a kid, my mother tells me, I used to play with my legos or Star Wars figures in my room and would come out to watch ads then go back and play when the show came back on. I had built up, in essence, an immunity to advertising to the point that it became purely entertainment. By the time I'd gotten out of college, "viral marketing" was all the rage which, frankly, made me a little sick to think that the person next to me at a bar might be pushing a product - subconsciously or not. That was 10 years ago.
What's left? I think you hit the nail on the head, Hugh, when you brought up love. A desire to increase market share is no longer enough. It's gotten too transparent. We have so many choices at our disposal, that the effect, often, is a type of commercial paralysis. One has to have more than a "product" or even a "brand" in order to stand out. And the only way to do that is to sincerely love what you're putting out there and for the peeps that are helping you promote it have to love it too.
God help ya, Hugh, but you really seem to love Microsoft, and you communicate it very effectively. which is something the folk at the Blue Monster don't do so well. It might make all the difference.
Thanks for some of the most insightful reading I've encountered in my attempt to educate myself for a job I'm passionate, but not knowledgeable, about. And the comments are icing on the cake.
I always gain tremendous insight when I stop by...this of course was no exception...thanks for "loving" what you do. It does have a positive impact on others in search of answers.
Many blessings in the coming year! :)
Great post and links. thanks
Ain't it the truth Hugh...as an add on to #10.....not only is about control, but its about people in the organization thinking that what they did 3 or 4 years ago is going to work still and the constant pressure for them to generate the "leads" Gotta have the leads man....gotta have the leads.
Awesome thoughts! I just wanted to add that I notice with the Facebook phenomenon, a lot of my "non-geek" friends have started sharing stuff on the net, which just actually makes the occurence of "Microsmosis" slightly lesser.
Probably, in the future, we are just going to expand our network to include the non-geeky stuff online too (so, now you would know about LG, Samsung and other phones!).
Thanks for an insightful Christmas day read
I like the idea of social objects; puts some responsibility on creators of online entities to think hard about the what's and the why's of their creations and why anyone would care spending time looking at it and then choosing to interact/join/register/buy/comment/signup/vote/rate/share/email/print/bookmark
We have reached the age of eyeballs and attention indeed!
It would be good to understand more on what happened re: Stormhoek. Having a sizeable foghorn helped I'm sure. Can you really attribute success to the social object thing? What about the blog halo effect? Or success in making it into MSM? I's there something about wine that makes it specially suitable as a social object? What do you do about stuff that requires a service component?
New marketing, eh? It's still "wank" words to me.