This tag is associated with 2 posts

Quit marketing now tip #1: default to personal communication

Ah, poor marketing.

It has definitely been a rough patch for marketing the last few years. From those predicting that [fashionable term X] is the “new” marketing (social media! engagement! community-building! customer experience! design! communications!) to those predicting its outright demise, there are a lot of people looking past marketing to whatever comes next.

It's hard for me to say I'm sorry for putting a picture of Chicago in this blog post. I just want you to know.

For many of us, marketing is what we know. We’ve been practicing marketing so long, it is, to paraphrase Chicago (yes, I just did that), a “hard habit to break.”

So if you’ve been tearfully exclaiming, “I wish I knew how to quit you, marketing!” I come bearing hope. What follows is the first in a series of things you can do right now to break marketing’s hold on you. Quitting has to start somewhere. It might as well be here.

First, a short history:

In the beginning, communications were personal. I’m sure it all started when Og was sitting in the cave talking to Grog about his new stone arrowhead design, responding to Grog’s questions and telling stories about all of the animals he had killed with the new arrowhead (brand positioning: lighter design, so you can throw farther, kill bigger, and feed your clan better).

Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution, and all of the sudden we humans were creating goods and services that could be delivered to many more people at once than ever before. While this was fantastic, and made a lot of people a lot of money, the downside was that we could no longer communicate the benefits of the goods we were making to each person individually.

So we developed new ways of communicating to many people at once—mass communications. Along the way, the idea of marketing was born (fun fact: a telegraph was used for mass unsolicited spam as early as 1864!).

And all was awesome. For about 100 years or so.

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Free and the economics of Woodstock

1) In case you’ve been under a rock for the past week, this weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival. 2) I recently finished reading Chris Anderson’s new book Free (which I covered in a post here). Listening to the Woodstock album again (on LP, I’m totally old skool) and thinking about Woodstock in the context of Free made me remember the announcement that changed the concert completely:

It’s a free concert from now on. That doesn’t mean that anything goes, what that means is we’re going to put the music up here for free. What it means is that the people who’re put — backing this thing, who put up the money for it, are going to take a bit of a bath. A big bath. That’s no hype, that’s true, they’re going to get hurt.

According to the New York Post, the initial budget for the festival was $500,000. The promoters’ goal was to host a three-day concert for about 100,000 people paying 5 bucks each. Although they met the goal of selling 100,000 tickets, the promoters never finished the ticket booths or fences (due to a late change in venue), and the crowd quickly became overwhelming. To avoid making a dangerous situation worse, they made the decision to turn Woodstock into a free concert.

Although great for the spirit of Woodstock, this was a devastating financial decision for the festival organizers. The Telegraph did an interesting interview with the Woodstock promoters where they explained the financial mess this way:

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Hey, I Wrote a Book!

The Ad-Free Brand: Secrets to Building Successful Brands in a Digital World

Available now in print and electronic versions.

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