The Idea Dude


Friday, May 12, 2006

Marketing 2.0, finding the new age beachhead

Some interesting conversations over marketing in the office this week. The consensus is that much of today's marketing efforts are traditional like press releases, banner advertising etc. While they continue to be important, we are ignoring what one of my colleagues calls Web 2.0 marketing. Essentially, it is marketing that is no longer top down, i.e. your marketing department has a budget and must spend this in proportionate amounts on radio, television and media but rather grass roots bottom up. Instead of the heavy handed approach of telling people what they should be wearing and creating and enforcing the brand, the social nature of the Internet is reversing the methodology.

Those who see this will realize the power of the people...literally. Whether it is what people are downloading from iTunes, watching on YouTube, selling on eBay or talking about in MySpace, the successful marketeer of the new age is one who is not the creative genius who concocts the slick campaign behind closed doors but the one who listens intently to the masses, watches trends and then blends his products into the social fabric in a seamless way.

Businessweek has a great article entitled, "How the masses will innovate". And it is not the case of getting masses to contribute after you've done the thinking but really about getting the masses to shape and contribute to the thinking. A similar trend is beginning to pervade in open source, i.e. to let the public help shape the idea, not merely let the people extend and maintain the idea after it is implemented. The collective IQ of the world must surely exceed that of one individual or even 100 individuals. We often talk of collective IQ but in reality most of us have egos which fight furiously and continually that we know better. That is not to say we should just do what others say. We are still masters of our destiny and responsible for our choices but a healthy dose of humility and an inquisitive ear will go a long way to ensuring that what we do will resonate in the world beyond our walls.

One of Sun Tzu's maxims is not to conquer your enemy by brute force but the consummate warrior is able to capture your enemy without them being aware as well as ensuring you do not destroy the very thing you set out to capture.


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