Marketing Is Dead; Long Live Anthropology

August 1, 2008 at 6:15 am | Posted in Business, Communication, Forrester, Li, Charlene and Josh Bernoff - Groundswell: Winning in, Marketing, Online marketing, Research, Social Media, Web 2.0 | 6 Comments
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Courtesy of jbhill via Flickr

Courtesy of jbhill via Flickr

I’ve had a little case of writer’s block this week, so I started with the basics: I read the definition of “marketing” in Wikipedia.

The impetus of this was a comment I wrote on a recent Brazen Careerist article in which I boiled down marketing to selling stuff. Really? That’s the business I’m in? I get up at 5am to write because I love making crap fly off the shelves?

Listen to Wikipedia’s definition: “Essentially, marketing is the process of creating or directing an organization to be successful in selling a product or service that people not only desire, but are willing to buy.”

Bleh! Sure, there’s creation and desire (positive), but there is also directing and willingness to consume (negative). It’s almost like it’s not enough for them to buy it; you gotta make them want to buy it. Make ’em beg.

Frankly, this doesn’t sound like the business I’m in at all. I find marketing these days to be customer based – where are they and what do they want? – and less, well, skeezy. Ideally, marketing these days isn’t invasive or worthless or annoying. In fact, marketing these days sounds a lot more like anthropology than marketing.

What do you think? Are web 2.0 marketers really anthropologists of the present time? Don’t we study why certain people behave a certain way (and how to influence that behavior)?

Continue Reading Marketing Is Dead; Long Live Anthropology…


Online Marketing Skills Aid Housewife’s Counterterrorism Campaign

November 1, 2007 at 6:05 am | Posted in Communication, General, Marketing, Online marketing, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment
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One of my taglines is that online marketing is easy (as easy as offline marketing, at least). Sure, the medium is different, but it is about building trust, creating a bond with a reader or consumer, and instigating an action based on this relationship.

Here is a story from WIRED magazine that builds on these ideas, for the good of society: Behind Enemy Lines With a Suburban Counterterrorist.

A housewife in Montana has infiltrated terrorist cells through online marketing. Don’t believe me? Listen to how she gets close to terrorists [emphasis mine]:

“Once a kind of bare trust is established, she will, like a good con artist, push her mark away, refusing him, telling him he’s not worth her time. Then he will come right back, often with surprising offerings of information to prove that he is the real thing. “If they could see me, little blond me, they’d go crazy,” she says in a burst of hearty laughter.

Much of Rossmiller’s success can be credited to her understanding that the chattiness and chumminess that often cinches digital friendships applies in terrorist chat rooms just as it does in Yahoo Nascar forums.”

The same concepts that drive Rossmiller’s campaign should be the same in theory that drive all online marketers: trust creates a relationship creates an action. I will delve into trust more in later posts, but creating trust online is the same as our other relationships – it’s built on loyalty, integrity, professionalism, and dialogue.

Can online marketing save the world? Maybe not. But it sure doesn’t hurt with examples like these.

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