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Preview: Comments on: As We Move From Citizen Journalists to Citizen Marketers, Am I Obsolete?

Comments on: As We Move From Citizen Journalists to Citizen Marketers, Am I Obsolete?

As the debate rages about how professional news reporters will survive in this environment of citizen journalists armed with inexpensive tools and low-cost distribution, I'm posing a similar question: Where do expert marketers with years of outreach and c


By: Larry Thomas

Mon, 14 Sep 2009 12:58 EDT

Well said, Michael. Your summation is right on target: "Marketers today are listening, as we always have, but now we can do it better, faster, in more places and more productively than ever before. It's our role now to use the ever-evolving tools to cultivate audiences of like-minded consumers and engage them in meaningful dialogue rather than targeting them with messages." I'd like to add that the people who are talking about our brands, companies, colleagues and clients are using more and more video as it becomes the common currency of the Internet. It's important for Marketers to transparently engage their audiences and maintain menaingful dialogue in the medium they prefer. Larry

By: Terry OHanlon

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 21:31 EDT

The best marketing campaign any of us has seen in years was Obama 08. It had lessons for us all, it was an example of an outstanding campaign executed in the age of social media. But social media is only a channel. Citizen Marketers are great, but they'll be a more powerful force for a brand if marshalled, harnessed and directed. Starting with a clear, focussed, distinctive strategy has always been the core of a strong marketing campaign. It remains so. Ensuring that communications via all channels are faithful to that strategy and consistent with each other is the core of a strong communications campaign. It remains so. What's changing is that there are more channels to manage. Terry O'Hanlon


Thu, 10 Sep 2009 15:15 EDT

"In our prior marketing company Fusion 5, we were the front edge of marketing-" and, "So it is your choice, shift to 3.0 (or go the way of most of Madison Ave.) Patrick Meyer CEO NOW Inc. -hey did your "prior company" go the way of "most of Madison Ave."? as you suggest.

By: Lara Richardson

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 14:21 EDT

Completely agree with the article, Michael. Marketers will not be replaced, rather evolve. Marketers will still be responsible to the overall brand message, but now we need to listen more, and guide the conversation. I'm excited to see how marketing becomes even more transparent and reactive to customer feedback.

By: Vickie Siculiano

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 14:17 EDT

I think you make an excellent point that the tools of production are democratized and now anyone can be a journalist - heck, I'm a blogger with a solid marketing education and a master's degree, but still rely on those with the solid journalism chops that have credentials through years of experience. Especially you, Michael. I think social media is a win for all of us who wouldn't necessarily be able to have a voice and be heard, but journalism adds clout and authority, and I'll keep tuning into Ad Age to hear what you have to say, and to share with others along the way - thanks! Vickie

By: Todd Lieman

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 12:47 EDT

Seems to us (as both marketers and consumers) that one of the key components is to remain authentic to the message and the consumer. Consumers are one of the best marketing tools we have (provided they are engaged positively!). In short, consumers can carry a message and campaign delivered by marketers to the next level (witness the Mutual of Omaha Aha Moment campaign). Agree, however, that they won't necessarily replace the marketers. Bottom line is that the most successful campaigns will win out - regardless of where they are created or by whom.

By: Michael Ramah

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 11:47 EDT

I am delighted to see such a vigorous response. We all seem to come to a similar place--ie that strategy, regardless of medium, is at the heart of the struggle. I really like the points made by Patrick regarding Marketing 3.0 and could not agree more--we need to evolve. Don't know what others think, but I get really crazed by the notion that marketing is somehow carved in stone, yet we constantly tell our clients that the marketing plan is a living breathing document. And, I am all over measurment--tired of hearing that we cannot measure our results--we can and we should--particulalry in the social media arena. There are many effective and cost efficient tools available--many are free. Great discussion!


Thu, 10 Sep 2009 09:26 EDT

MARKETING IS NOT OBSOLETE...but many marketers and agencies/consultants can be! There has been a massive shift occurring thru the evolving digital world. And it is accelerating with social networks (Facebook is the size of the 4th largest country in the world), high speed access, 2g-4g smartphones, and a pipeline of technologies constantly launching new innovations. The consumer and technologies are leading and it has left most marketers scrambling. The antidote? re-invent yourself--move to the new Marketing 3.0 Model. In our prior marketing company Fusion 5, we were the front edge of marketing--driving the shift from 1.0 to 2.0. Now in 2010 we are championing Marketing 3.0. How? --Insights: As Donna Hoffman's McKinsey article mentions "listen". Immerse yourself in insights around current attitudes and behavior--on everything from social marketing to post Desperation Economy attitudes and everything in between. Then spend a few hours with Twitter and do some hash-tag research of your own--and it will open your eyes. --Brand Strategy: Yes, this discipline still applies yet it is the inputs and implications that are usually different. The brand positioning and strategic platform is still the cornerstone--yet evolving attitudes challenge you to find the connective tissue for your brands. --Innovation: For this news value and innovation hungry population--you need to have a pipeline of ideas. And these innovations are more than product, package or service applied--it has to be marketing innovation. We have teams in Bangalore, India building iPhone/Facebook apps (generation ahead--fraction of the cost)) --Marketing Connection 3.0: There is an evolved marketing purchase funnel. Personal experience is the number 1 driver, then family/friends word of mouth (including digital WOM); then 3rd party endorsement in the form of an expert blog, a massive barrage of Twitter responses or Consumer Reports online. Then personal research online is the 4th driver. All of these factors are in the 72% to 52% level of importance. (advertising is between 10%-30% at best) And this is where the obsolete marketer/agency issue is. If you are on Marketing 1.0 or 2.0 you are vulnerable. You have to be in today and tomorrow's game. Now add a piece that every CEO and most CMO's are screaming for in the recessionary economy--DELIVER MARKETPLACE PERFORMANCE. Deliver sales/share/profits. Recently one of our clients told his agency head: "bring me ideas to turnaround our sales decline!". Truth be told, the agency has no/limited expertise in turning around or driving sales thru marketing solutions. And this is the biggest challenge that is unknowingly inside of Marketing 3.0 (it is not just about Facebook and iPhone apps). At NOW, we champion Marketing 3.0 in its performance delivering form. We have NOW SWAT teams that do projects rapidly in less than 6 weeks. Our teams include ethno/cyber insights, 3.0 strategy, digital innovation/design, SEO expertise for online and social planning , cyber PR, Blog & Tweet teams, etc. So it is your choice, shift to 3.0 (or go the way of most of Madison Ave.) Patrick Meyer CEO NOW Inc. Twitter: patrickmeyer

By: Kevin Lenard

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 09:24 EDT

Michael, thanks for a calm, rationale view in a sea of "social media" hyperbole. You and your commenters above are absolutely right, "user-generated" does not mean replacing an entire area of legitimate expertise. Like the nobility wearing rare shells around their necks 10,000 years ago, people desire brands and appreciate the benefit information they get through marketing efforts -- those things aren't going away. What the marketing industry is facing today is not annihilation, just evolution. It is the TV industry that is about to face what the music industry already has: recognition that everyone has been paying an entire pyramid of 'executives' way too much for no real added value. TV advertising only ever worked by overwhelming the viewer with endless repetition, not really engaging consumers with any given brand's real value. The recent hype about 'social media' misses one very simple point that I blogged about earlier today, social media is public relations-appropriate, NOT advertising-appropriate. Merging the two words "social" and "marketing" is the same as "word of mouth marketing" -- consumers will share brands they feel connected to and engaged with, they won't do so because they've been manipulated through so-called "guerilla marketing". There's a fundamental change coming for the marketing industry and it starts with thinking from the starting point of the "Brand Experience" -- the initial exposure one gets to a product and its benefits, NOT endless "push marketing" in social (or any other) media. When you start from that point: How does anyone first experience my product? How do they become fans?, you're taking a totally different approach to marketing from what the industry used to take. How can we get consumers to experience our product in an appropriate and compelling way?

By: Faraz Khan

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 09:00 EDT

Great article. In addition to social media, I see a greater role for Alternative & Out-Of-Home advertising in marketing campaigns. Behind online advertising, the outdoor industry has the second highest (and positive) projected growth rate over the next 5 years (3.6% CAGR, MAGNA). What are your thoughts on the Alternative & Out-Of-Home Industries' future role in marketing campaigns?


Thu, 10 Sep 2009 08:23 EDT

Michael - Echoing the above comments - great post. While social media's consumer generated content provides many wonderful benefits from a new way to build relationships to real time listening to the voices of our customers the missing link is how to integrate those puzzle pieces into the overall strategy. That is something that can't be crowd sourced. Twittered .. hope it brings more discussion. This is an important issue that is too frequently misunderstood.


Thu, 10 Sep 2009 08:18 EDT

With all due respect Michael, everyone (especially small companies) have considered themselves expert marketers long before the influence of social media. Ever watch a local car dealer or small company owner be a spokesman in their own television commercial? It is unfair to compare the "citizen journalist" created by blogs and social media to an emergence of "citizen marketer". The "citizen marketer" has been around since the emergence of marketing and communications at the dawn of the industrial age. There will always be a role for those who provide value in consumer communications regardless of the medium. Most clients get very tired very quickly in the social media sphere. After they realize they are not experts, they seek help or they stop all together. The bigger question is, "Does anyone really know enough to help at this point in the development of social media?" Bill Bergman

By: Adam Lauer

Wed, 09 Sep 2009 23:16 EDT

The emerging philosophy that social media = free advertising is not only a misconception, but actually undervalues its real virtue. Social media can be both an incredible resource and a conduit, when as Michael correctly observes, a proper "framework" exists. Brands will still need some help making sense of it all. I propose we start by asking the question, "WHY should I follow you on [insert social network here]?" What a great time to be a marketer - we have so many tools at our disposal to really start to make things interesting. Betsy DiCarlo EVP Operations | AgencyNet Blog: Web: Twitter: @AgencyNet

By: Noemi Pollack

Wed, 09 Sep 2009 17:07 EDT

Michael: I cannot remember reading a better article than this one which presents a balanced view of the melding of the new with the decades of traditional marketing expertise and experience. You make such a great case for the temperance of the hyperbole of consumer marketing, bringing it back to the ultimate goal -- a communications program that is "appropriate to each particular audience." I will certainly use your words (and give credit to the author) when faced with the dilemma of having to explain it all over, and over, again. Thank you. Noemi Pollack