Everything Old is New Again

June 11, 2009 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Commentary on the demise of old media and old marketing is at a crescendo, with the motif “everything has changed.” Not so. Technological and economic developments have merely verified what many have espoused for years: no one can afford or tolerate the waste inherent in the traditional marketing process. Seth Godin wrote Permission Marketing 10 years ago, insisting we only spend time on people who want to hear from us (and talk back to us). Al and Laura Ries have built a dynasty of thought on Positioning, published three decades ago, urging companies to stop trying to be all things to all people.

Advertising has been taking its lumps for being unidirectional and indiscriminate. PR has been suffering related criticism, downright sobering for those of us who proudly reference the Ries’ The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR. Tom Foremski blogs the “old rules” of PR are going by the wayside due largely to media transformation. Carpetbombing the world with press releases is out. (He’s right in his doubts about traditional mass-distribution of releases, but I disagree with his assertion that they are obsolete as a communications format.) His guest blogger, Kathleen Mazzocco, describes the future of PR resting with every company considering itself a media company. This correct analysis echoes David Meerman Scott and his excellent book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

In my previous post, “Remembering Real Estate,” I invoke the phrase “you have to earn your business, not buy it.” As a Realtor®  in the 1990s, that meant connecting with the people most likely to select me their agent, not plastering my face on every shopping cart in town and hoping someone would call. The “earning” approach took research, sweat, follow-up and creativity (I had to make sure prospects remembered me after I had chatted with them or delivered sales data in the pre-Zillow days).

The Internet is not abolishing marketing maxims; it’s proving them out (per Godin, Ries, Scott et al.). Big, sloppy, bet-hedging and expensive won’t cut it in any marketing discipline. Properly engaged, people will come to us, demanding to be our customers and unpaid sales force. Know who they are. Put your eggs in those baskets. Earn that business.


Entry filed under: Marketing, Media, Public Relations, Social Media. Tags: , , , , , , .

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