Marketing Magazine introduced their new look and feel for the April 30th, 2007 edition. There have been many changes within the organization and it all culminated in this most recent issue, which features a new Editor (welcome Christopher Loudon), new size format and new slant on content.
The cover story titled, Marketing 2.0, starts off as follows:
“You're no longer in control of your marketing messages. Your customer is more than just a target. The old ways you design and advertise products just don't work anymore. Welcome to life in Marketing 2.0.”
Marketing 2.0 is a terrific read and I'm a huge fan of Marketing Magazine. I'm just not sure about that intro. I'm actually starting to believe that Marketers and Advertisers are using this whole, "the consumer is in control" as an excuse.
Marketers and Advertisers are more in control than ever before.
There I said it.
Marketers still decide which brands to put into the market, the message and the channels by which we'll use to get our word out. Nothing has changed on that end. The consumer, who would either accept or reject that message (to buy or not to buy) and spread it by word of mouth, now has access to some of the same distribution channels and equal capability to have share of voice in those specific channels.
It's a big deal. But it's not the whole deal, and that about sums it up.
Consumers are not creating TV spots and running them on mainstream media. They're not booking out-of-home media properties and populating them, and they're certainly not running print ads for your brand.
So what are they doing?
They're watching you. They're talking with you (sometimes, just to you). They're sharing what they like (and dislike) with a community of people who are like-minded. They're taking the materials we Marketers have given them and are mashing it up. They're either having fun with your brand or taking the piss out of it, but, they are not in control of it.
George Masters is the guy who created the now-famous homemade Apple iPod mini ad. He did not ask for permission. He created it, he published it to the Web and he watched it spread. If you watch the video close enough, you'll note that the integrity of the brand - from the Apple logo to how the iPod mini looks - is intact. There's no doubt in any consumers mind that this is an iPod Mini ad.
This does not put Masters in control of the Apple or iPod brand. He used it (and their likeness) to create his own message. What, exactly, was Masters' controlling here? Apple controlled the brand and the message while Masters controlled his creative expression and his new-found ability to share his creativeness with the world by uploading it to the Web.
Let's stop worrying about who is in control of our marketing messages and start worrying about how great and innovative the brands truly are in the marketplace. If we focus on producing great brands with great messages that resonate with consumers, we'll worry a whole lot less about what "control" is, because we'll all be too busy connecting to our consumers and creating more engaging brand experiences.
End of rant.