Adapting To Marketplace Democratization No Easy Feat

Steve Rubel wants brands to “get down with the people.” What Rubel left unsaid, is that to successfully do so, marketers must first get down off their thrones. And while this makes perfect sense, what royal wants to freely give up their seat to save the kingdom?

Today I participated in a meeting with a group of senior marketers from one of the largest global companies in the world. At one point the exec who convened the team asked me point blank, “Steve, what’s the most important thing we need to do as marketers in this new world?” My answer? “Get down with the people.”
The time for analysis is over. Cluetrain is no longer a concept. It’s reality. Consumers are forming their own “mecosystems.” They’re fusing matter from all corners of the consumer-generated and traditional media universes into a solar system that revolves solely around them. With this shift, the best way to persuade is now to engage with them one-on-one as individuals, not as demographics, targets or markets.
Still, I am concerned that more marketers are concerned with forging a deeper relationship with consumers than helping them do so with each other. The companies that can bring together communities and get then out of the way are the ones that are going to be the most successful in this new world.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.