New Era Marketing is all about Joining the Conversation

One of my big interests as a Strategic Designer, is in the field of marketing, advertising and branding. In particular this whole buzz about new media and its impact on today’s consumers. This is also one of the reason why I started this blog in the first place. I always believe, the best way to find out about something is to do it.
From my stand point as a designer, I have always found the consumer behavior part of marketing most intriguing and a very important aspect of the profession of Industrial Design. It is unfortunate that it is not stressed enough in schools in favor of the more engineering requirements. (Which is also equally important.)
Daily, I lament on how it is now getting harder to design products that consumers want. The Internet has influenced how we buy things, and as a result, consumers as we know it have change. Consumers are no fools, and we cannot treat them as such, for example by selling them inferior products tempered by price. Armed with the knowledge derived from the Internet such Uber-consumers (or Pro-sumers as Joseph calls them) have not only the know-how, but the voice to influence how people will see you, your product, and your brand. Times, they are a changing for world of marketing, as we are heading into a word of “new consumerism”
Logically, if Marketing and Advertising has to change, how we study and research our consumers and their behavior has to change as well. Otherwise how are we as designers able to gain critical insight and develop successful products?
Thus late last year when a New Media Marketing blog by Joseph Jaffe that I follow, conducted an experiment called “Use New Marketing to Prove New Marketing (or UNM2PNM in short)” I was very interested. Simply because as a designer I would be now able to better understand this new consumer phenomenon that the consumer electronics business have been struggling to design for in this last couple of years. This phenomenon is basically consumers who are tired of advertising, weary of marketing copy, immune to design eye candy, cynical to product promises and suffering from information overload.
Thus eagerly I signed up and became part of this experiment. The conditions of this experiment was that Joseph would send me and other participants a copy of his Join the Conversation book, and together with his website and the books’ website, we will be able to see and feel first hand the flow and ebb of how consumer see this book. UNM2PNM in its full glory. Very Nice.
However that is just the mechanics, the real “meat and potatoes” of things is actually in the Join the Conversation book. The book itself is an amazing summary of what you might have missed if you have been “living under a rock” since the advent of Social Media and Web 2.0.
While a lot of the terms are not entirely new, especially if you are a serious blogger or a participant in new media, Joseph explains them in a easy to understand and insightful way. To me it even clarified some terms that I had a cursory knowledge of.
More importantly Joseph brings this issue of New Media and how it can be tied back with Marketing. He does this by first describing the Marketing strategies of the past, its mistakes and why it is not working today. Being Marketing trained, I particularly like his description of the “Shot gun approach” to advertising, and the problems with Word-of-mouth marketing. Alot of it had me nodding in agreement.
He also then goes on to describe why the New era of Marketing is all about a conversation with your consumers, and hence the book’s title Join the Conversation. Best of all the second part of the book are Joseph’s strategies and ideas for companies to start having conversations with their customers, and how to take advantage of it.
Unfortunately I am a slow reader, and am about less than half way through the book. This is because I like to read and digest the written work at the same time. But strangely at this time, I sense a great urgency within the book, and that Marketing, Sales, PR and Advertising will need it more that I. As a result the book is instead doing the rounds with various people I know in that industry. (Hi SIL!)
As such, if you are in the above mentioned industry, I urge you to pick this book up ASAP, particularly if you still hold on to your bastion of traditional media. Your job and eventually mine will depend on our understanding of this New Media. My best guess is we have about 6-8 months or less before we go the way of dinosaurs. Yes, it is moving that fast.

  • Mario Vellandi

    April 17, 2008 at 8:52 am Reply

    I’m still waiting for my copy in the mail, as I signed up too (albeit late in the program). While I’ll likewise breeze through the book, it’s nice to hear that it’s well written and Joseph’s writing will solidify much of what we currently experience.

  • larry Rosenthal

    April 17, 2008 at 7:00 am Reply

    6-8 months….? lol
    the dinosaurs are already dead, the small mammals are now the size of giant sloths, and the glacier is advancing…

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