Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Naked Conversations - Why marketers don't get it

I was reading Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's great but slightly old(well, in tech arena, one year is fairly old) book titled Naked Conversations (Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers) The book is such captivating read, and no, time had no effect on the relevance of the contents, which is blogging as a medium of communication.
At some point NC tries raises the question on whether (corporate) blogs can be equated with Marketing. A new term conversational marketing emerges, and I feel it is quite apt. I tried hard to think of reasons on why in today's world blogs are getting adopted as a medium for individual or group communication, but not so quicky as a channel for corporate communications. The following is my hypothesis:
  1. The campaign mindset:Conventional marketers like to send cues through regular media (print, TV, outdoors, packaging) and wait for the agency to tell them if it worked. Blogs are a two way communication channel, a marketer need to hear the comments. Many would see this business of comments as a distraction, rather than try and understand the sense of it. And then, the executive trait - Who will write my copy?
  2. The gray hair problem: Most marketing folks I know think of their function as pertaining brand image per se, networking, etc. At the risk of appearing hugely judgmental, let me say that their own knowledge of internet as a medium is pretty much passe ( For example, a website is an outsource item, and therefore does not require real good attention).
  3. The generation gap problem: Gray hair trusts gray hair, and there are not too many gray hair champions of conversational marketing. Gray hair is used to command guys in twenties, not listen to them on ideas such as blogging. The gray hair has read his Ogilvy, where there was no such thing.
  4. The channel conflict problem: Most gray hair marketers think of blogs as rival to their websites just because both are online and both have a URL each. The whole concept of community, which is integral to blogging is completely alien to them.
BTW, Naked Conversations is a great book and a must read for marketing guys. Only a word of caution. Create your personal blog and run it for a while before you read it. But consider this as a compulsory reading material, at the very least. And do it fast, before your idea of marketing becomes a living dinosaur.

Still wondering who are Scoble and Shel Israel? No I am not telling you, go Google them!


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2 comments:

shel israel said...

, thanks for these very kind words. The book is a bit dated, which goes yo show how fast tools and times are changing. What does keep the books best thinking alive is that the tools and cases may change, but the issue of the Conversational Era is just beginning.

Rajesh Kumar said...

Shel, thanks for your comment, which I truly treasure. We will keep the conversation on this topic going on this blog.