The Old Rules of Marketing

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

New Rules of Marketing and PR  |  Marketing  |  Advertising

I'm messing about with some thoughts about marketing prior to 1995 (my line in the sand for the start of broadly accessible public Web) and what such an understanding teaches us about the wrong way to market online. I'm convinced that successful marketing on the Web is dramatically different than in other media (like TV commercials) yet most marketers refuse to see the differences.

Prior to the Web, only two significant ways existed for an organization to get the word out to buyers: convince the media to write something or invest in expensive advertising.

In the old days, marketing simply meant advertising:
> Advertising needed to appeal to the masses.
> Advertising relied on interrupting people to pay attention to a "message".
> Advertising was one-way: company-to-consumer.
> Advertising was exclusively about selling products.
> Advertising was based on "campaigns" that had a limited life.
> "Creativity" was deemed the most important component to advertising.
> The agency winning advertising awards was more important than the client winning new customers.
> Advertising and PR were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies and measurement criteria.

Prior to the Web, good advertising people were well versed in the tools and techniques of reaching broad markets with lowest-common-denominator messages via interruption techniques. Advertising was about great "creative work." Advertising was about reaching large numbers of people with a single message.

Unfortunately, many companies and agencies rooted in these old ways desperately want the Web to be like TV because they understand how TV advertising works. Advertising agencies that excel in creative TV ads simply believe they can transfer their skills to the Web.

They are wrong.

Compared to new marketing on the Web centered on interaction, information, education, and choice, advertisers can’t break through with dumbed-down broadcasts about their wonderful products. With the average person now seeing hundreds of commercial messages a day, people just don't trust advertising. We turn it off in their minds (if we notice it al all).

If I think you are spinning than I am not interested. If I think you’re selling I don’t want to know.

The Web, of course, is different. Instead of one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment that it is needed by a buyer.

The Web has transformed the rules and you must transform your marketing to make the most of the Web-enabled marketplace of ideas.