Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Conversations are not marketing

I have been enjoying reading James Cherkoff's blog Modern Marketing which I rushed over to after having met him here in London yesterday morning. He offers this great tidbit from The Conversation Group advisory member David Weinberger:
"Marketing has to change. It has to recognize that market conversations are now the best source of information about companies and their products and services. It has to recognize that those conversations are not themselves marketing — you and me talking about whether we like our new digital cameras is not you and me marketing to each another. Neither is our conversation a "marketing opportunity." But the temptation to see it as such is well nigh impossible for most marketers to resist."
You can just imagine somewhere right now there is a marketing department person in some company going around to the product development staff saying "I need 4 blog posts a week from each of you. Go out and pump our product in the blogosphere." The temptation is real -- we in the industry keep saying that getting engaged in the conversation is important, and that the people who should do it are the real people in the business. But it must not be forgotten that this is only a useful activity if it is authentic -- if it is done because the person really wants to participate in the market and has something to add that the market will appreciate as valuable. Just flogging a product is a waste of everyone's time.

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