Spanning the globe for insights into human behavior and persuasion.
I wanted to say more in my response to Michael Cleverly's post
on marketing. But I'm hamstrung by my Treo. I know, I'm lame. I have this nice all-in-one communication tool with which I can blog from anywhere, and I'm complaining. But Treo's default browser doesn't allow more than 2000 characters in a textarea field. Any suggestions for a work-around?
At any rate, Michael's objection wasn't with marketing, it was with promotion. Promotion--advertising, direct, publicity, media relations and the like--is probably the most villified of the 5 P's (the other four, for you non-marketers, are product, placement, pricing and position). I believe some of that disdain is deserved. But in most cases, the problem isn't that marketers want to manufacture a need. They just want to be the one out of many choices that people make. They want to connect buyer and seller.
Of the millions of people that see a TV spot for Meier & Frank, the vast majority of them will ignore it. The rest of audience will either go to the store or wish they could. But for a retailer like M&F, whose business model depends on getting as many people into the store that they possibly can, that's the best they can do. They've got to cast as wide a net as they can. Competition and the constant need for growth compel almost all businesses to do the same.
Most of the promotion we experience has nothing to do with us, and we hate the interruption.
The problem is relevance, and marketers know it. That's why we listen when someone like Seth Godin
coaches us on how to develop relationships with our audience. That's why we're so interested in conversational technology like blogs and wikis, because it will allow us to better reach and relate to the people who will buy our products and use our services.
But, sadly, no technology or tactic will make much difference until the economic reality for most businesses changes. And I don't see that happening soon.