Monday, October 22, 2007
The future of marketing
When I was a kid, marketing meant the farmers market: Stalls, vendors, smells, discussions, conversations. Nobody tried to convince you of anything, you browsed, you tasted and when you liked something you started a conversation.
Have you ever been to a Middle East Bazaar? You can offer the best price and profit but if you don't engage in a conversation, the merchant will refuse to sell since you didn't regard him as an equal. Sure, the merchant wants to make a sale. But he gets out of bed in the morning because of the interaction between him and the customer.
The gist of Conversational Marketing is to re-discover this old idea of marketing. In order to do that, we need to value the conversation as high as the customer does. The conversation has to be the center piece of our marketing. And, we need to be equals. What does that mean?
We need to be able to say no. Just like the customer says no to us all the time. The consumer might be in control. But we need to find a way to say no to customers. If we say no to certain customers, we will elevate our brand. Because we don't try to just get the sale. We want to be part of the conversation. And some customers shouldn't be part of it. Just like some people shouldn't participate in certain conversations. Keeping these people out might be the hardest part of your conversational marketing plan. But it also might be the one with the highest ROI. And the toughest pushback from the brand organization.