Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New marketing, but are we ready?

I really should be plugging our blogger social event that just happened last night to launch The Open Room, but i'm just so suitably buzzed up right now about something that i just have to type it down first. Yes, it's that important, but don't worry, The Open Room is somewhere a part off all this.

i'm currently attending the IAS Graduate Diploma in Digital Advertising, it's on every Tuesday from 7pm to 10pm, and it's taken considerable strain. In fact, things weren't going so well because, every body was rehashing the same thing over and over again. New marketing, new media, new advertising, basically everything was X X & X with a 2.0 behind it.

you get my drift, you've heard it all before. we've been telling it to you till no end. 2.0, digital, social and post- become great things to put in your product and service offerings so that clients will bite.

but it just won't work because you're just doing the same crap with a 2.0 stuck to it. so what you get is:

digital crap
social crap

crap in, crap out.

and what do i mean by crap?

trying to service, sell products and services that worked on a unified mass media platform on what we see today in mature markets as a increasing fragmented media landscape

here's an illustration. in mature and connected markets like the US, Japan and even Singapore (super high broadband penetration) think about the choices you have:

Cable TV
Broadband (Youtube, Flickr, Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, Netvibes, RSS)

The list could go on forever, and that's the media fragmentation we see, coupled with the insane amount of choice we have today.

What brand of toothpaste to buy? what type of toothpaste? whitening? more calcium? 12 hr protection? 24 hr protection?

Basically, we as consumers wanted choice? the marketers gave us choices. and i guess in the process, a lot of crappy choices, and we were at their mercy. choice became clutter.

now, with the Internet, we research what is relevant to us, we try to pull the information that is relevant to us, but it's hard work. And the offers and unsolicited information that finds themselves to us, is SPAM. marketers, advertisers and PR practitioners should take a look at the world's spam folder one day. we can only be positive that its digital, for i forsee worldwide deforrestation if spam was still paper.

So my point is this.

The old way of selling doesn't work on the new breed of consumers.

Marketers, PR and Advertising have become complacent in the way we engage consumers. we don't! we expect one way messages to work, or pseudo interactivity disguised as feedback, survey or clicking on a link..??

I used to be scared of this barrier. This barrier into the consumer space, this natural resistance to the things that we try to do.

Today in class, talking with like minded people, i think some of us felt that we had to change the way we did things. We had to find not just a new way to sell things, but genuinely connect with consumers, be their partners that make life better for them, we go down to their level, or we bring them up to us. Either way, don't take it the wrong way.. the idea is that we should all be on the level playing field.

bring back the days when i wanted something, and went to the small independent shop near my place.. rekindle the joy of having a genuine service that served a customer need or want.

what am i talking about?

about the idea of building shelters or sleeping bags for homeless people sponsored by advertisers or clients. perhaps you could do something good with your ad or presence?

how about the food stores that took your grocery list for a party you were organising, and helped you calculate how much each person owes you? and perhaps helped you collect that money?

how about building an online tool that genuinely helped solved information overload problems?

what about that branded shoe that you designed yourself?

what about that computer that you put together yourself, but they built and delivered to you?

what about that mp3 player that you got engraved, for yourself or a loved one?

NOW, all this doesn't just happen overnight, corporations are process driven, and different departments have goals to meet, but slowly.. once people start understanding this key insight on the difference between choice and clutter, something will change.

and change is exactly what i'm talking about. change in the way we as marketers, PR and advertisers do things, in the way we service our clients and our communities.

instead of being the agency, we become their partners, and we help join the dots and form long lasting business relationships with their customers and their brands. in fact, consumers should not be seen as such statistics, but as stakeholders, or business partners who enter a business-client relationship.. you get the idea. VALUE THEM as part of your company!

and that's where The Open Room comes in. i could have started this post telling you all about it, getting myself a media hit for it. but i hope you can see that The Open Room is just a small part of this ecosystem of change. We did it to connect brands and bloggers together, as if they could be business partners or colleagues.. and foster a natural, casual, fun, relationship or transaction. To have each other understand that we're all a part of this, and we'll make our business work together. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and detracters to one brand, will find solace in other. hopefully that other brand will welcome them with open arms.

maybe we'll then see that the pie is big enough for everyone. *shrug* (i sound like a non-profit don't i?)

so in closing, our market has changed gears, we need new marketing to connect with new audiences. why are we hoping and praying to the unseen god of materialism that our old methods will work on a truly different consumer. A consumer just like you and me, and yet.. so intrinsically unique.


Jonathan Kong said...

Exactly why The Open Room is a great initiative to start something. Hope to see more of such initiatives not only from Ogilvy but also from media related agencies or even any other companies in Sg. To effectively gain momentum, the buzz needs to get around.

My thoughts is that, much smaller companies or startups will perhaps... be more aware of what and how social media gives them a edge over their competitors. As we know, buzz marketing is viral and free and that really is cost effective but takes time to build. Whereas big corporate companies maybe looking at the big picture than anything else.

Ultimately, I felt some things need to start from ground up. That is, start courses on social media, new marketing, web strategies and that sorts at Polys. Give seminars or talks. The more conversations and interactions, the better it is, it's supposed to be social anyways.

Thanks for the article Brian!

cator said...

Talking about segmented markets, "boomers" are maybe slow to start but as time goes on their are more and more of us online. Places like the Ecumen Changing Aging blog reports about a new networking opportunity connecting investors, bankers, real estate developers, consumer goods companies, health care professionals, journalists and marketing experts who are interested in serving the senior marketplace. There is a new resource in town, called Mature Market Experts, In short, if you serve, market to, or write about people who are 50+, this is the group for you.

Cool Insider said...

Good ideas posted here, especially about creating products for customers as opposed to finding customers for one's products (Seth Godin 101). From my own experience, I find that what's truly lacking is the lack of follow through and stick-to-itiveness in the social media scene. We need to go beyond the idea and strategy stage to real implementation and execution, and have the endurance to see them through. It would be brilliant if more companies could step forward with real case studies of what worked for them, and what didn't, in their quest for perfecting the art of delighting their customers.

brian koh said...

@lancerlord you're right, it takes effort to drive stuff from the ground up. I think social media has championed the Startups and SMBs because it really offers a launchpad for more personal services and products to be launched. Big brands just tend to be monoliths, you know they're there.. but how do they effect your life? (clue: ubiquity)

@cator thanks for the link, i think it's a great blog with lots of good research and insights. might not be pertinent for the Singapore market though..

@cool insiderhahaha, yeah.. it is very Seth Godin 101. I hope i'm not hyping it up more than i need to.. rather new to marketing, much less new marketing. But i believe digital has changed the rules in which we sell and communicate. the same way the Guthenberg Press, Television and all these other great mass communication tools have changed the way we did things from the 1300s to the 21st century.

If Moore's law and the Singularity theory ring true.. we're racing towards a very new way of doing things.. -)

brian koh said...

@jonathan kong sorry, i should have addressed that to you and not @lancerlord. haha.. was mixed up with what i saw in mybloglog.. -)