LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA - January 7, 2009 - This is the presentation I gave at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show's Social Media Jungle event.
SYNOPSIS: In an era where trust and consumer confidence is at a historic low, how can marketers move the needle? I assert that the broader cultural trends indicate decreased efficacy of traditional marketing techniques and an opportunity for marketers to build trust through social marketing rather than following long-used intrusion and interruption techniques.
As a marketer, I want my efforts and my craft to produce real value for my markets, rather than unnecessary, irrelevant noise.
Banks are failing. Government is bailing. Property values are falling. When confidence is gone, how do we sell?
We’re seeing this across the board: business is frozen in place. Decisions are put on hold, hires are postponed, and above all, risk within corporations is avoided. Marketers fall back to known tactics, even when the entire strategy behind those tactics is based on 80s and 90s thinking. No one wants to get fired, so innovation stops, even if it might be the absolute right thing to do.
As marketers, we’re seeing dwindling efficacy across a wide variety of channels and media. Our jobs are on the line. Many of us see the promise in social marketing. Others also see how traditional push- and intrusion-based marketing approaches are not only meaningless anymore, but they make us feel dirty as well.
So how do we push fearful managers past their reticence? How do we persuade CMOs that the fail-safes of the past may fail – and that new techniques might actually create the transactions we need to hit? Here are some basic concepts from previous presentations, compacted down to a 20-minute talk.
First off, let’s talk about marketing. This business, this craft of the outbound voice - classic monolog marketing - is highly refined. It’s taught in advanced university degrees, it has a plethora of trade organizations. Of course it would, it’s had 100 years to mature.
I remember as a kid watching Bewtiched, mostly because of a childhood crush on Elizabeth Montgomery but also because I thought Darren Stevens had the coolest job on the planet: selling creative ideas. And his agency was a classic example of how business approached consumers when geography and limited information worked to advertisers’ advantages and consumers didn’t have a lot of choices. In those days, simple approaches like “good to the last drop” or “tastes good like a cigarette should” could work.
Secondly, entire industries are sprung around the tools. There’s a Direct Marketing Association. An Email Marketing Association. A word of mouth marketing association. There’s a trade org for nearly every miniscule sub-practice of marketing. Advertising, PR, event marketing – each are their own highly refined science. And we have lots of specialty agencies in each subpractice who’ve made millions focusing on various marketing channels.
There’s a huge lexicon around marketing. Call-to-action, pre-campaign analytics, market penetration, reach and frequency – when small business owners listen to many marketers, I’m sure they’re confused at best.
Finally, this marketing machine, which controls trillions of dollars of spend, is incented, rewarded and focused on skill with the outbound voice. This leads to job security which is a powerful motivator toward…keeping the status quo.
And so, when the connective power and community size of various social networks became more clear to marketers, they and/or their agencies often saw social sites as tasty media morsels - easy to reach audiences ready for the taking. Agencies took their honed intrusion skillset to Facebook, YouTube and MySpace, buying display ads and later, branded social network presences. “I’ll take a fan page and a Twitter campaign, and oooh, look at this tas