…the internet has created a new species of human being. And these new human beings live in a wonderful world in which they have relationships with all the companies that make the products they use.
And the only time companies need to advertise to these people is when that relationship is broken and failing.
You see, these new humans don’t buy things for practical reasons — like, it works better, or it’s cheaper, or it looks nicer. It’s all about the relationship.
In a comment on The Ad Contrarian’s post, Jon P says, “The idea that online communities and conversations are going to replace advertising as the engine of our economy is just plain nutty.”
So who is right and who is wrong?
Turns out, everyone and no one. Truly exceptional companies with world class products and services don’t need advertising, for the product or service creates an unending supply of positive word-of-mouth. Patagonia is one of the few companies in this incredibly elite category.
Companies that do need advertising–even great companies like Coca-Cola–can still have what Jarvis calls “a direct relationship” with the customer. That’s wonderful, but it’s not enough. Not nearly enough. For instance, is the marcom staff at the client prepared to capture people’s attention and then hold it long enough to establish not just a sale but brand preference? Because that’s what advertising is, and it takes a tentful of highly skilled clowns to pull it off.