TEDx talk on how marketing is changing.

1948--DuPont-news-about-nylon

Creative Commons License photo credit: x-ray delta one

At the TEDx event TedxNewtown I spoke about how marketing has changed since the Internet. This is what I said.

Once upon a time someone would stumble upon some stuff or craftsmen would start making something that they thought people would buy. They would then take it to a place where they thought people would buy it. If people liked what was on offer they would buy and they would tell their friends and pretty soon there would be demand.

Then along came industrialisation. The way business won the industrialisation game was to standardise offerings because by doing so they would enjoy the economies of scale, reduce costs and maximise profit. The focus was therefore productivity and efficiency and this is why companies are still run by efficiency experts.

The process of getting the word to spread so that people could buy in volume was taken out of the hands of the customer because modern broadcast media was far more effective at doing so and too expensive for ordinary consumers. Television was the most effective of them all. Branding attached the meaning the marketeer wanted for the brand and it was broadcast over and over again until it was believed, where else was the consumer to get the information to dispute it?

It was the widescale  use of broadcast media such as television that sparked the invention of the discipline of marketing in the 1960’s and supported the underlying principle of mass marketing, in the words of Seth Godin selling average stuff to average people (the most acceptable product to the largest possible market)

The Internet changed that. It changed it because it has altered the balance of power in the transaction.

Power can be thought of as having been derived from three sources, the threat of violence, from wealth or from knowledge and information. The Internet changed the source of information from the brand to the masses because it made it easy to access trusted information and opinion from friends and your network.

Brand control evaporated as information became searchable and free.

At the same time the Internet provided the cheapest and most effective tool for the spreading of ideas for the consumer, the one to many channel of television could be replaced by the more trusted one to one channel of the Internet. The consumer now had the knowledge, the information and in his hands the cheapest and most effective tool for idea dissemination ever invented.

How do you market products and services when the basis of modern marketing has been eroded?

The answer is simply that that you go back to the core of the process which was established long before marketing was even invented:

You make stuff that people want and you offer it in a way that is remarkable – so that people talk about it and so they will spread the word for you.

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