The Nature of Marketing Revolution

An inevitable debate is taking place around the nature of the marketing. John Moore, at his excellent blog, Brand Autopsy, has been a recent party to the discussion. He offers this edited footage of David Jones, global CEO of Euro RSCG speaking at a recent AdAge clambake.

As I interpret this footage, Mr. Jones appears to be pissing on the whole customer generated marketing/social networking/web 2.0 clique. It’s not exactly what I would call withering, but as I interpret it, there are some substantive arguments offered. For those too lazy to read John’s post, here are the relevant bits from David’s speech to which John calls attention and my brief thoughts.

“Our industry cannot delegate the creation of brilliant ideas to consumers. That has to be our job.”

In general, I concur. However, there is always Ben’s 1%.

“What’s been quite a prevalent trend in the lazy agencies over the last two years is to go, ‘I know. Consumers can now create ideas so what we’ll do is get them to come up with the idea.’”

This is undoubtedly true, but I suggest that it derives from the fact that marketing firms are constituted for a kind of communication that is defined by the mass communication technologies of the last hundred and fifty years. Ubiquitous packet-switched networks with decent bandwidth to our homes can only encourage demand for conversation. Marketers are tooled to talk at a mass audience. This conversation stuff is new to marketers and because it seems to require something of an operational and cultural retooling, I imagine it will have to be forced on them by the market. They may try to include these initiatives in their campaigns, but until they make this constitutional shift, they will be hard-pressed to create authentic conversations.

“If you look at and go play around on the ‘YouTubes’ and ‘MySpaces’ … well, there are a few entertaining things there but there is so much utter crap there. There are only so many times you can watch someone dance in a crazy way or mime badly to a song. And so firstly, consumers aren’t that brilliant at it and secondly, what they will do is not all that relevant.”

This would seem to be the other horn of Ben’s 1% rule. To wit: if 1% of your audience will contribute something profound and relevant, it follows that the other 99% will not. It does not follow, I submit, that the conversation is thus rendered useless, for reasons I’ve mentioned previously, but it does seem to suggest that so-called CGM is likely not any kind of panacea. It is a prediction of what I have the pretention of calling my model of what is going on with marketing that the “traditional marketers” and their tools really won’t go away, but they will have to learn what the new technology really means and that discovery will necessitate a fundamental change in the constitution and creative culture of the marketing firm.

Incidentally, the depths of my loathing for the name, “Integral Marketing” grows daily. How about: Humanization? Anthropic Communication? Yuck. Tribal Marketing? Nope. Really, help me out here.