Daniel Newman started a great discussion on Facebook on culture and strategy. I had more to say than could be crammed into a little space, and would love to keep that discussion going wherever people are.
Great topic of discussion succinctly summarized by a genius of business, Peter Drucker, that is so relevant to what’s happening today in marketing and social media.
Marketing today tends to focus on broadcast models that support the creation of incredible content (Viral!! Make it viral!!) meant to interrupt and convince. This is what we have been trained to create and sell in advertising and marketing. Superbowl commercials, jingles, viral videos and captivating blog posts. The last two I mentioned seem like marketing content of the present day, but they’re really old wine in new skins – they’re trying to keep to that one to many model, but with different media. That’s the strategy. Find where people are, grab their attention and convince them.
The fact is, people have become experts in avoiding advertising. And they are able to research better than ever. What does have power now is referrals. Word of mouth. The recommendations of trusted influencers that people have relationships with. It’s all relative. Influencers are not celebrities doing endorsements. You wouldn’t ask Oprah or Jay-Z or Tom Cruise what vacuum cleaner is good, or if making your own juice from a machine is better than drinking bottled juice. You wouldn’t ask Sir Richard Branson if a janitorial service is reliable, or Guy Kawasaki if a dumpster service does a good job, or Gary Vaynerchuk if you should host your website on Amazon or with that local hosting company.
Referrals, word of mouth and recommendations all involve conversation. It’s not one to many. There’s a rapport. There are relationships. That’s culture. It’s hard to define, but you know when something doesn’t fit it. You can’t exactly define it, but it’s where you can comfortably ask people who have sold their houses in your area if laminate floors raised or lowered values, where you can ask what insurance carrier you use for business liability, or where to buy massive quantities of yarn to make sweaters on a commercial level.
If you’re interested in convincing numbers on the power of aspects of culture, including word of mouth, take a look at infographics on Pinterest. They’re very exciting. Just keep it in context. You can’t shoe horn word of mouth into an existing top down, one to many, broadcast, interruptive marketing experience. That’s like people trying to make viral videos. Videos become viral, you don’t make them that way.