Let me go out on a limb here.
In my mind I’m uncertain if much of a marketers role is linked to the future or post act of the direct purchase. I’m uncertain if the marketer is even allowed to have this role – in the minds of people. And I am certain that we have immensely overplayed our part in it for many years.
If the job of marketing is to stimulate the market (which is different from a direct purchase), then who is to say that this can’t happen from within the experience itself? Limiting marketing to just the “process” of purchasing, limits your time with people to an extremely small part of their universe – an extremely uninteresting part – pre-relationship with the product.
Now of course, if one pours a trillion dollars into a launch campaign, people will start to talk about it, but not because it gets their attention, not because they notice it – because it creates something of value that they want to spread.
The job of marketing, as I see it – and this is a slow shift, so most of what marketing does now is still in the old sell/purchase sphere – is to create something valuable, and to make sure that this value is noticed, multiplied (multiplied = “made peoples own” according to Jenkins) and spread.
For a very long time our listening devices into peoples minds have been dismal, our ability to listen to the market – the real market, not the “researched” market – has been so poor that we have constructed our own truths.
With the advent of Adam Greenfield’s the long here and the big now, we are suddenly able to confirm many of our “fears” (opportunities) regarding the public: People don’t listen to marketers, they add some of marketers stuff into their own ideas or narratives, and communicate with other people (marketers aren’t people – yet) in order to draw their own picture.
But this is just a small part. The fact is that if a marketers role is to stimulate the market and create more customers (according to Drucker) then why is our tool the “campaign”, when surely, the best opportunities lie in building direct relationships with people inside the experience surrounding the stuff the brand makes and does – the context.
The fact is that what makes up peoples minds regarding a product or brand is the SHARED EXPERIENCE with the product or brand – not what we spend two weeks two times a year hammering about in a launch campaign.
The good thing is that this world, where people talk to each other, share and create ideas, has opened up and become accessible. Either through listening, through igniting or directly participating. This means that the EXPERIENCE part of the product and brand suddenly becomes much more tangible and operational for marketers, they can leverage this situation to a much larger degree.
(And you can see that talking at end about the product itself makes no sense – who would listen? The only way to create great value is to extend on the context surrounding the product, not the product itself. link)
Therefore marketing changes – from living in a cocooned, protected world with artificial research confirming our abilities, to getting a cold shower and a wake up call. Finding that our best marketing is inside peoples every day life. And seeing that this kind of marketing is not about blasting people with stories or messages, but creating valuable stuff that people want to be a part of and share.
And marketing in this sense might as well be invisible, an immersed part of the experience. It might be conscious, subconscious or unconscious. Because marketing does not have to be something that demands exclusive attention, it does not have to be something that takes more time out of your life, but it has to be VALUABLE, TRANSFORMABLE, MULTIPLIED AND SPREAD.
– Does this make your existing or potential customers the most interesting target for your activities?
(And this is no more than Seth Godins words from 2000 put into today’s connected world – “Make something worth remarking about”).