Marketing Revolution: The Art of Conversation Laced within Authenticity

While I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in multiple mediums as a marketer: television, OOH, guerilla, print, direct mail, database CRM, online media, radio, nothing has prepared me for this radical shift that has necessitated the move towards reinventing marketing from a model of selling to a model of listening.

The democratization of media has provided increasingly more tools at the hands of consumers and has given them more power than ever before. The consumers, in essence, have become the marketers and, in many ways, continue to elude their pursuers given the increasing media fragmentation. However, at the same time, these tools have allowed their very needs and behaviours to become more transparent –> an advantage that needs to be leveraged. The definition of conversational marketing in Wikipedia asserts a more complacent, acquiescing relationship that marketers should attempt to create with consumers if they are to succeed in turning consumers to advocates. The sweet spot is being able to effectively develop a relationship with the consumer who is an influencer. This can be a dangerous path if not dealt with care and caution. My scribd friend Tizio, who is part of a blogger network, puts it this way, “In my opinion, the great revolution in marketing isn’t the technology, the creativity or the WOM. The real revolution is to speak the truth. Engage discussions and don’t be misleading.”

Many marketers have yet to ascribe to this belief, let alone understand its true impact. The reality of digital media is that the shift of power to the consumer is not the only factor that companies must contend. Time, place and speed of information can seriously cripple a brand if a company does not enlist in strategies to respond, research and proactively manage the messages. A must-read is HD Marketing 2010:Sharpening the Conversation. Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO and founder of Denuo, said it this way: “time is compressed and often a victim of arbitrage. Place doesn’t matter. People can blog or access content from anywhere. Area has shifted to digital focus: content can be anything or come from anywhere. Speed of marketing, in process and execution, is critical.”

My recent experiences have brought to light the importance of integrating blogging strategies, interactive community sites, testing emerging mediums, and including flexibility for iteration; and most importantly incorporating data insights (ie behavioural and verbal) and measurement criteria to gain increased understanding of the market.

Engagement and Advocacy must supersede Awareness and Eyeballs from the onset. I’ve said this before: Deal with the consumer in their space and on their terms….and they will come.

The source of all knowledge….how Web 2.0 is diluting established reference institutions

So… I was talking to my new-found friend, David C., whose incredible wit got me through a 5-hour flight on the red-eye. I just came from a wild week at a ski and snowboard festival and he, from a librarian conference… with its own level of excitement.

Our discussion ensued regarding the plight of the library industry with the increased reliance on the web in search for information. David argued the need to establish credit to the source of all wikis, blogs, knowledge search networks and forums. Validating the sources is not enough. These same institutions have to adjust to the age of web 2.0 and move forward and integrate web resources in ways to convince the user of their value. I remember a time when encyclopedias and other reference books (regardless of their date of publish) were regarded as foundations of knowledge. Inevitably however, the world changes and the source of that information has not been able to adapt and update as quickly and with seamless efficiency as the web. The Encyclopedia Britannica hence got left behind and its pages, unturned. These days web syndication is it, posting the most current information and delivering it to the live web almost immediately.

Another disadvantage of pure information sources is the lack of of collaboration that further enhances the final product. The reality is that information is moving at lightning speed and the growth of wikis and document sharing sites only proves that the quality of knowledge is not inherent in the facts themselves but the minutiae of details that enhances the information. Facts augmented by opinion seeds collaboration, new arguments and new points of view.

The world has progressed from an established source of one –> the one defining reference from which we’ve all taken for granted as truth….to a matrixed web environment where peer to peer sharing provokes users to question established facts, hence supplement meaning. This is the perceived value that perpetuates social web. Can the library industry adjust? You tell me.

%d bloggers like this: