Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Make love not war


What do football and media planning have in common? Both are littered with military analogies: We launch media 'campaigns', implement 'the blitz', 'target' audiences, hope for 'hits' and 'impacts'. We want to hold our audience 'captive' by delivering 'sticky' experiences. This use of language in the marketing world has defined relationships between brands and people. And created a divide between 'us' and 'them'.

As we know, brands have become the Miami Dolphins of 2007 and people the New England Patriots. It's an unfair battle. Even without spygate, the Patriots (people) have an unfair advantage:

- They have a better strategy (Ad avoidance - Bill Belichick)
- They have stronger weapons (DVR/Adblocker - Randy Moss/Tom Brady)
- They have a huge home advantage (My Media on my terms - Gillette Stadium)

There are two ways to go:
Either we build up our team through draft (bring in new weapons), developing better strategies (Think DMA, Napster, etc.) and try to develop a walled garden that eliminates the home advantage and puts brands/publishers in the driver's seat again.

Or, we develop a new language and, most importantly, replace our current American Football metaphor with something more communal and relationship-building.

As Doc Searls describes:

"Advertising is about supply finding and "creating" demand. Nothing wrong with that. At its best it's good and necessary stuff. But think about what will happen when demand can find and create supply. That's the real holy grail here. And it's one that will take fresh development effort on both the supply and demand sides. The difference between those two right now is that the supply side has been working on targeting, creating and controlling demand for the duration, and the demand side is still getting started."

Clearly, we haven't found the right models for the demand side yet. But we need to start now. And the way to start is with adjusting our marketing language.

Ludwig Wittgenstein said:
The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

Our current language limits us and our relationships with people. Let's change it.

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