Warning: A plethora of metaphors ahead.
Come gather 'round marketers wherever you roam. And admit that the waters around you have grown. And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone. If your job to you is worth savin.' Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone. For the marketing times they are a-changin'. (My most sincere apologies to Mr. Zimmerman).
So how does it feel? To be on your own? With no direction home? Like a complete unknown? Like a rolling stone?
How does it feel to have consumers in charge of what, how, and when they watch, read, listen, and click? I realize that you may not be feeling the significant marketplace changes taking place all around you. You may be in denial: "C'mon. This isn't a sea-change. It's a little downpour of Web 2.0 hype. Have you already forgotten the irrational exuberance that was the dot-com boom and bust?"
Trust me, those heady days are burned into my subconscious mind. But there's a big difference today. And all you have to do to understand that difference is to read the business headlines.
Not Your Father's Headlines (Not Even Your Brother's)
At the turn of the century, the business news highlighted the digital doings of new-school, dot-com companies like Amazon, AOL, DoubleClick, and Lycos. Recent headlines are dramatically different. Here's a smattering from the past few weeks: "Anheuser-Busch to Produce Own Content for Web, Mobile," "ABC News Sells Content on iTunes," "BBH Viral Video for Smirnoff Raw Tea Takes Off ," "Fox Streams Primetime Shows on Local MyFox Sites," "P&G's Secret Deodorant Recruited Participants on the Product's ShareYourSecret.com Website," "Cadillac Drives into Xbox 360/Live Racing Game." Alcoholic beverages, television, deodorant, and Cadillac: it doesn't get much more old-school than that. Or more revealing.
Let's assume for a moment that like those aforementioned brands you are selling stuff that the buying public finds of value. And by "of value" I'm not referring to "purple cow," "Blue Ocean," over-the-top, word-of-mouth value. Just "of value," like deodorant that doesn't stain your shirt, a restaurant that serves a hearty breakfast at a fair price, a car that gets decent gas mileage and rarely needs repairs, or an ice-cold pint of beer on a hot August day.