I love Madmen. But man, do I hope those days are gone for good: the women-doing-the-typing thing, the drinking, the smoking and yes, that kinda marketing. The marketing whose goal first and foremost (and often, only) is to increase sales even if those sales are killing people (directly or indirectly).
I hear there was a mild brouhaha at this years Barcamp in Vancouver. I can imagine it, a bit — I still remember when twitter went mainstream and the sense of despair that this space for open, real conversation between people with a point of view but without something to sell, was now going to turn into one more friggin’ “channel”. Some people can get pretty twitchy about these things (and sometimes, I can too).
Don’t get me wrong – I just paid for a whole bunch of radio advertising, so I don’t have a hate-on for marketing per se. But I hope it transforms from the inside out.
I hope marketing transforms into a place where marketing is about listening, I mean really, listening, as much as telling. I hope it turns into a way of taking values of us ordinary joes and adapting business accordingly so that we can feel good about the companies we buy from (think: organic, free-range, non-toxic, free trade, women-friendly).
As the prescient ClueTrain Manifesto put it (excerpt only):
- Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.
- Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them.
- Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.
- Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.
- Companies attempting to “position” themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about
ps: for a kick-ass example of great marketing, including use of social media, just get yourself entangled with ING. They are Rocking this space is an authentic, transparent way… and helping us all become savers to boot.