Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
September 23, 2006 8:26 AM

It's Time For Marketers To Burn The Ships

I've been grappling with new marketing and how it fits into the current infrastructure of advertising, communications and marketing. I was reminded of the explorer, Hernan Cortez, and the infamous story of when he arrived at the New World. Many of his crew wondered what would happen to them in this strange new land? If they faced challenges or resistance, how would the crew return home? Cortez made a bold move: he burned the ships. Now, there was no choice. They had to make it work. There was no home. No history. Home became the New World.

As we enter this new world of new marketing, I believe that, as Marketers, we must burn the ships. Every time a new opportunity arises, be it search engine marketing, Blogs, Podcasting or Second Life, we are far too fast to monetize the channel as if it were print, radio or TV.

Burn the ships.

New channels, like new lands, call for new tactics. Let's take the time to understand the consumers. Let's take the time to understand the environment and its elements. Google AdWords may seem simple, but there's beauty in complex concepts that are broken down into something that is effective and simple.

Burn the ships.

It's time to let go of integrating traditional advertising with technology. It's time to look at how the consumers are consuming and creating content for the new channels, and what kind of advertising messages they are looking for during the engagement. Unique content on a click-to-subscribe basis sheds some light over the dark hue as the ships burn. Video, audio and mobile also glow as the blaze rages on.

Marketers need to be willing to do what it takes to maximize all of these new marketing channels to best deliver their client's brands. There are billions at stake. Google, Skype, eBay, Starbucks and many more of the super-brands have done little to no traditional advertising to build their empires.

It's the late 1400s all over again. It is a New World.

Burn the ships.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Corneel
    Mitch Joel

    I agree!
    Aldo it wouldn't be easy I would like to limit myself to work without the uber-expensive media. The world would be a better place without all that clutter.

    Among lost of things we advertisers should start acting like conversation starters...
    btw: Damn good metaphor, I couldn’t have put it in better words…

    Reply
  • Posted by Kevin Dees
    Mitch Joel

    This sounds like an interesting idea, but I'm not sure it would be wise to advise it. Like Paul Boag of the boagworld podcast, I think its important to integrate the two worlds.

    I do not believe you can have one without the other, specifically in small business. Customer do not exist on the internet they exists in the physical world and they interact with their physical world everyday.

    Yes, people use the internet. They occupy that space but they do not live there... not yet... but, you and I do. We are edge cases.

    However, there is room to grow. The internet is growing. The times have changed without a doubt. But it is unwise to burn the ship until everyone is off the ship!

    The real question businesses should ask themselves is "are my customers off the ship?"

    While, we as marketer need to keep ahead, take risks, and get messy; there is no need to kill off our customers trust by destroying something that can work along side the "new world". Simply put, we need to keep the trade routs open with the old world if we want to innovate, and more importantly change the way traditional agencies think.

    Otherwise, very interesting idea worth investigating.

    Reply
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