Paul Dundon’s Weblog

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A little cheese and a little whine

Marketing 2.0 – Nibbling away at the hand that feeds it

The advent of social media sites like Facebook is, allegedly, changing marketing. As with Web 2.0, Marketing 2.0 is rather more hype than substance, but it does capture something of a shift which is already happening in marketing and may become commonplace.

Traditional marketing tries to solve the problem of how to make people want what you’ve got. This is in contrast to what one might describe as an entrepreneurial model where you try to figure out how to supply what people want. The marketeer speaks while the entrepreneur listens; the marketeer tries to control while the entrepreneur collaborates. Marketing 2.0 – driven partly by the reality of social media and partly by the utopian visions of people who would join the socialist party if there was one – is about using social media to accomplish a shift from one to the other.

The basic idea is that marketing becomes a game of nurturing and engaging with online social networks. For example, there is an Amazon.com Facebook group where Amazon goes to seek feedback about some of its innovations as well as giving news about special offers and deals. The relationship is complex but a far cry from an organisation pushing messages onto an unwilling public.

In the ideal case, Amazon would construct itself as a social object – a topic of conversation – for a large following which it could then engage to understand how to extract more money from them provide a better service. In so doing, it obviates the need for traditional marketing activities.

And herein lies the problem. Facebook doesn’t run on thin air; and it will never really be able to charge for membership. It’s paid for by advertising – good old fashioned you-want-what-we’ve-got advertising. And if the shift to Marketing 2.0 really takes off, there won’t be much point in doing that. Certainly not on the very same sites where you’re passing yourself off as an engaged member of an online community.

If Marketing 2.0 represents a real shift in the way people spend their marketing budgets, then this is big news. An enormous amount of the Web – not least everything Google has its hands on – is paid for by old-fashioned advertising. People have moaned about this for a long time, but so far it’s been the best way to fund a wide range of sites. But if Marketing 2.0 leaves traditional advertising broken, we’re going to need a new model. And possibly, rather soon.

Filed under: Market Research

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The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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