I’m reading The Cluetrain Manifesto at the moment and I ran into something I just had to post. (I know I’m a few years behind on the book, so forgive me if this has already been said. Or, for that matter, is said later in the chapter.)
In Doc Searls’ chapter “Markets Are Conversation,” he writes:
So the customers who once looked you in the eye while hefting your wares in the market were transformed into consumers. In the words of industry analyst Jerry Michalski, a consumer was no more than “a gullet whose only purpose in life is to gulp products and crap cash.” Power swung so decisively to the supply side that “market” became a verb: something you do to customers.
That got me thinking (as most of the book does), and I came up with this:
The best kind of marketing is the kind you do with customers, not to them.
It’s hardly revolutionary in the context of the rest of the book, but I haven’t read it in those words, and they seemed very appropriate. That why companies are embracing viral marketing and should be doing the same with blogs: both make customers a part of the marketing process. You’re not talking to them (or at them), you’re talking with them.
I wrote about this a lot in my “Buzz Giant Poster Boy” story.
While I’m here, let me give everyone the links to my other American Demographics stories, should any of you be interested:
“Move Over, Prime Time” (July/August, 2004) is about an emerging at-work daypart online.
“This Way App” (September, 2004) is about RSS and its marketing ramifications.
“Coming of Age” (November, 2004) is about mobile technology and its effects on youth culture.