Reality would like to be added as one of your friends!

28 Jan

[by Todd] What the hell is going on around here these days? Have we forgotten what it means to be marketers?

Facebook applications, widgets, WAP marketing, scrapable media? In the past month no fewer than four major presentations, webinars and white papers have crossed my desk focusing on the future of marketing. Each has been persuasive in drawing a future where consumer control is cemented and marketers demand more measurement for the money they spend.

Hugh And yet they are all wrong.

The future of marketing isn’t in new and exciting technology. It is in what we say, not where it’s said.

Look, I’m as much a geek for all the new toys as the next guy. New Facebook app that shows my lineage back to the Czar of Russia, heck yes. A widget that tracks the orbital decay of the moon, tell me where to click.

But take a close look at any discussion of Web 2.0, 3.0 or beyond, and odds are that you won’t find any talk about the message, only how it is delivered. And that’s not right.

If you want to serve your clients and your agency well, screw the technology. There are always people around who can figure out how to make it work. Focus your attention on what to say, and to whom. Content is the real coin of the realm, now more than ever.

What can you offer your customer to gain their attention and time? Look at the airlines – flight delays, last minute sales, special offers; customers fall all over themselves requesting that information.

Or maybe your customers will step forward for inside information, legal of course, the type of stuff that feeds their need to be the first to know. Look at your own inbox. How many news alerts do you have just so that you can know something before your colleagues or friends?

Technology doesn’t create that content. It is merely a tool for making it more accessible to your customers.

The same can be said for the printing press and radio. Indeed, I’d suggest that media barons were the first integrated marketers. They realized that by feeding people’s need for information, they could serve up a heaping side dish of advertising. Unfortunately their grandchildren seem to have forgotten that lesson. But that’s another rant.

Admittedly not every company has valuable content laying around. That’s when it pays to listen. What are your customers talking about? What excites them? Find that and then create a stage for their interests.

Doritos_2 Look at Doritos. Who beyond the age of 14 is going to spend hours in the world of cheese-flavored tortilla chips? But, their target audience will spend countless hours wrapped up in music and MySpace. Enter Crash the Super Bowl, where this year Doritos lets fans pick what unknown band will get 60-seconds of coveted airtime.

This isn’t some annoying product placement, where shoving a brand name into a show either goes unnoticed or interrupts my viewing pleasure. This is rock-solid marketing 101 in the Internet age. Doritos is using its clout and budget to empower its customers. By leveraging the content from these bands, it is gaining a deeper connection with Doritos target market.

I seriously doubt someone on that project said "MySpace is cool. Let’s do something with that?" Get the point? Please, tell me you do.

So, by all means learn all you can about the newest digital toys. Just remember Internet speed can kill a bad idea just as quickly as it will accelerate a good one.