« Build something cool in 24 hours | Main | Sample Java Exam Questions »

You ARE a marketer. Deal with it.

Marketingsadstory

It's so trendy to diss marketing. Especially if you're in engineering, product design, or virtually anything but marketing. A comment for me by pinhut on my "You're emotional..." blog entry reads:
"this started out being so interesting. then you reveal yourself as a marketer. please terminate yourself."

The late (and brilliant) comedian Bill Hicks was an early adopter of the "all marketing is evil" meme:

"By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. No, this is not a joke: kill yourself . . . I know what the marketing people are thinking now too: 'Oh. He's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market.' Oh man, I am not doing that, you f***ing evil scumbags." (asterisks are mine)

I was about to protest, "Dammit Jim, I'm a programmer, not a marketer!"

But that would be a lie. In this new open-source/cluetrain world, I am a marketer. And so are you. If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on... congratulations. You're in marketing. Now go kill yourself.

The word "marketing" (and by extension, "marketers") has a bad rep for sure, as does "advertising" and "PR". But they all share a common goal--connecting buyers and sellers. Isn't that what we're doing?

Except with a Find and Replace:

"Buyers" becomes--> "readers" or "users" or "community participants"

"Sellers" becomes--> "authors" or "developers" or "organizations"

As Guy Kawasaki puts it, we're selling the dream.

But the difference between what we now consider "old-school marketing" (otherwise known as The Four P's -- product, price, promotion, and placement -- heavy on advertising and "branding") and the "neo-marketing" we're doing here is frickin' huge.

Here are a few ideas on some of the differences:

Marketingchart

*See this Brandautopsy blog post on a brand hijack, or check out the book.

**Real is relative to the desires and perceptions of the user. And who's to say that taking better photos won't in fact lead to more sex?

***rhymes with "hit"

But even if we feel OK about doing some of these marketingish things, there's still the problem of the word "marketing". We need a word that distinguishes the kinds of things we (developers/programmers, ministers, realtors, authors) do from old-school traditional marketing. I just don't know if the marketing-averse among us can rehabilitate that word... it's been too heavily associated (framed) with old-fashioned, negative, sleazy and inauthentic practices (even if much of that was a misconception... doesn't matter).

My "neo-marketing" label is just lame. Open Solaris' Laura Ramsey and I were talking about it this weekend, and she came up with an alternative that might be a good contender: Modern Attraction. We're not marketers, we're attractors. I don't know if that's the right phrase, but it still sounds better to me than "marketing". (Personally, I was voting for "cheerleader", but for some reason I just couldn't get the other programmers to go along with that...cute t-shirt ideas, though... ; )

Others have come up with replacement phrases as well, but none seem to have truly taken hold, and the word "conversation" isn't enough. What do you think? If we believe in something, and we want others to share what we know can be a fun/meaningful experience, whether it's getting involved in our open source project, or joining our cause, or--yes--buying our book or software--we need to get past our "go kill yourself now" thing. If framing it with a new word/phrase helps, perhaps that's a better approach than trying to give the word "marketing" a massive makeover.

Remember -- when people are passionate about something, and in a state of flow--and you have contributed to that by helping users/members learn and grow and kick ass--these are some of the happiest moments in their lives. Trying to promote more of that is something we should feel wonderful about, not guilty.

Posted by Kathy on August 27, 2005 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b44369e200d83459545c69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference You ARE a marketer. Deal with it.:

» Neo-Marketing, Modern Attraction, Selling the Dream...whatever you want to call it from Solopreneurial Tendencies
I must admit...I have a visceral reaction to the idea of marketing. Ok, make that "traditional marketing." As someone who works hard to build my business from my personal values and experiences, and especially as someone who hates to be manipulated and... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 27, 2005 1:25:54 PM

» Good News for Modern Marketeers! from raving lunacy
(On the headline, it is not a typo.) Lots of marketing news this weekend. Great News! Kathy Sierra has finally come out of the marketing closet!!! Her Posting You ARE a marketer. Deal with it. has her admitting what I have known for some time. ''In thi... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 27, 2005 10:10:50 PM

» Passionate Users from evilzenscientist :: thoughts
I lifted this post from Luis Villas blog - he always seems to get to good stuff early. Maybe being a student again helps Anyway - this post - and others over there (I especially like the one on presentations - I’ll blog that later!) are reall... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 8:11:58 AM

» i think i'm in love... from gapingvoid
Kathy Sierra's amazing post, "You ARE a marketer. Deal with it."In this new open-source/cluetrain world, I am a marketer. And so are you. If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 9:44:28 AM

» Kathy Sierra's Blog from Process 64
[Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 1:14:35 PM

» I’m a marketer? I didn’t know that. from 60k Marketing
Excellent post on how we’re all marketers now. Also an excellent conversation in the comments, but I doubt I’d listen seriously to someone calling themselves “pinhead”. Kathy makes a comment about this “not applying̶... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 4:12:08 PM

» You're a marketer- no really, you are from Randy Holloway Unfiltered
Creating Passionate Users: "In this new open-source/cluetrain world, I am a marketer. And so are you. If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 4:13:10 PM

» We're all marketers from The Daily Peg: Pegasus News, Inc. Founder's Blog
Kathy Sierra's stuff is always pure gold. See her comparison of old and new marketing. Well worth the clickthrough to read the whole thing... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 4:25:25 PM

» Links List from The Pre-Commerce Blog
We don't work for Google. Part I and Part II. (Greg Yardley) I have a lot to say about this, and hope to blog it soon. You ARE a marketer. (headrush) I have a lot to say about this, and hope to blog it soon.... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 10:02:31 PM

» Links List from The Pre-Commerce Blog
We don't work for Google. Part I and Part II. (Greg Yardley) You ARE a marketer. (headrush) We're all Clueless. (Seth Godin) All of these are excellent A++ posts, and I hope to add my thoughts about all three of these insightful items in the coming day... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 10:05:27 PM

» Kathy Sierra on Word-of-Mouth, etc. from The Basement
Once again, Kathy Sierra proves she's the most brilliant female Java author whose in to cognitive science and rides skateboards and horses on the planet. She has recently posted on Neo-Marketing. Here's the chart from her post: I would like to add so... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2005 10:12:53 PM

» Now go kill yourself from The Journal Blog
Here's a message for squeamish marketers (especially those inclined to whine about it): If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source projec... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 29, 2005 8:09:32 AM

» Now go kill yourself from The Journal Blog
Here's a message for squeamish marketers (especially those inclined to whine about it): If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source projec... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 29, 2005 8:11:46 AM

» You ARE a Marketer. Deal With It. from The Blog of Dave5
[Read More]

Tracked on Aug 29, 2005 1:47:33 PM

» You ARE a Marketer. Deal With It. from The Blog of Dave5
[Read More]

Tracked on Aug 29, 2005 1:48:41 PM

» Modern Attraction and Instant Messaging from Ted Leung on the air
Yesterday afternoon, we trucked over to the other side of the water to hang out with Maryam and Robert Scoble. (Good thing that I'm a Spouse Of a Friend Of Maryam). As Robert mentioned, there were a bunch of geek males standing around and talking [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 1:58:02 AM

» Modern Attraction and Instant Messaging from Ted Leung on the air
Yesterday afternoon, we trucked over to the other side of the water to hang out with Maryam and Robert Scoble. (Good thing that I'm a Spouse Of a Friend Of Maryam). As Robert mentioned, there were a bunch of geek males standing around and talking [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 1:59:13 AM

» Creating Passionate Users: You ARE a marketer. Deal with it. from Lifeblog
Neo-marketing, indeed. Kathy Sierra's post and ensuing discussion point out a lot of issues I have bene grappling with in the past 5 years since I was annointed Marketing Manager. You see, prior to that, I was a writer and [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 3:38:28 AM

» i think i'm in love... from gapingvoid
Kathy Sierra's amazing post, "You ARE a marketer. Deal with it."In this new open-source/cluetrain world, I am a marketer. And so are you. If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 9:13:44 AM

» The Difference Between Old School Marketing and Neo-Marketing from MNteractive
I had a great lunch conversation today discussing how marketing is transforming. We got right down to the core point - (word of mouth is the most cost-effective marketing method) and its corollary (the best way to get word of mouth is to have somethin... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 4:08:44 PM

» The bad news: You’re in marketing. The ugly news: You’re alsoin sales. from Mary's Blog
“Marketing” often has negative vibes for people – “Oh, that ‘fluff stuff’ they do over in the other building. Sniff.” Well, here’s the bad news – if we want to make money, make an impact, make a ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2005 4:58:47 PM

» Old-school/New-school from Things I've Seen
Kathy Sierra writes some great stuff on the collaborative blog, Creating Passionate Users. You ARE a marketer. Deal with it. begins by reminding us how practically the whole world scorns marketers. (Think used car salesman for an over-generalized image... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 31, 2005 10:53:41 AM

» Creating Passionate Users: You ARE a marketer. Deal with it. from Tomas C
article in English / artículo en Ingles o en Español usando Google o Altavista/Babel Fish from tomasc.com –» My name is Tomás ... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 1, 2005 11:52:24 AM

» NeoMarketing from DiarioIP
Vía Passionate llego a esta tabla de la vieja escuela vs. la nueva. Es muy ilustrativa. Merece la pena leer el post que la acompaña.... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 2, 2005 4:14:16 AM

» Stack + Macro = "Stacro": A note to professional OSS and Redmond too from James Governor's MonkChips
I had been meaning to write up OpenLogic for a while. These guys are smart and have a cool approach to managing open source distributions and interdependencies.Anyway, Stephen got there first, which is good because it means I can focus... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 2, 2005 10:14:18 AM

» Apologies to Creating Passionate Users from The Marketing Microscope
In my last post I mentioned the kerfuffle Google has going on w.r.t. paid links. I also posted to ad ... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 2, 2005 3:14:54 PM

» 趣闻要闻(8月28日—9月3日) from PODCAST PODIUM 播客宝典
Podshow的Podsafe音乐授权条款引发播客争议 [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 4, 2005 11:10:45 AM

» O novo marketing from Fabio Seixas, versão txt
Lembro-me dos primórdios da Internet no Brasil, lá por 1993, quando ainda acessava pelo laboratório de informática da PUC-Rio. Nossa! Quanta coisa mudou. Hoje em dia continuo a me surpreender com as mudanças que a Internet nos trouxe. Mudanças técnológ... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 6, 2005 2:27:17 PM

» A reminder to all : We are a Marketing Firm from Fresh Yields Blog
We are, really. We dont just design pretty websites. We design pretty marketing websites. We dont just implement ecommerce solutions. We implement ecommerce marketing solutions Everything you put on the web is marketing material. Y... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 8, 2005 1:49:58 PM

» Old-marketing vs. neo-marketing from eTc :: El Blog de Marketing en Español
Tabla comparativa entre los principios del antiguo y del nuevo marketing. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 9, 2005 3:08:14 AM

» our social world from gapingvoid
This is a list of links I will be referring to during my upcoming talk at Our Social World, on Friday. 1. Why does advertising suck? 2. Why is advertising expensive? 3. The Hughtrain. 4. The Cluetrain. 5. Robert... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 9, 2005 8:50:56 AM

» Old-marketing vs. neo-marketing from eTc :: El Blog de Marketing en Español
Tabla comparativa entre los principios del antiguo y del nuevo marketing. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 16, 2005 10:19:24 AM

» Market Onto Others... from XYZephyr
Being called a marketer is almost as bad as being a smoker nowadays, as a Kathy Sierra poster tries to intimate. Please terminate yourself, he says, obviously thinking that her blog is sending out subliminal messages to vote Republican. Her [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 20, 2005 12:07:57 AM

» Lubatud viited Eturunduse seminarilt from Teller plõksib
Lubasin täna toimunud Eturunduse seminari lõpus, et panen ettekandest läbi käinud viited ka siia välja. Skype'i ajaveeb Skype'i kolmandajatele arendajatele suunatud ajaveeb Microsoft Channel 9 Google Blog Foto.diip.ee English Cut Robert Scoble Cluetrai... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 20, 2005 2:55:33 PM

» Lubatud viited Eturunduse seminarilt from Teller plõksib
Lubasin täna toimunud Eturunduse seminari lõpus, et panen ettekandest läbi käinud viited ka siia välja. Skype'i ajaveeb Skype'i kolmandajatele arendajatele suunatud ajaveeb Microsoft Channel 9 Google Blog Foto.diip.ee English Cut Robert Scoble Cluetrai... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 21, 2005 4:26:18 AM

» Lubatud viited Eturunduse seminarilt from Teller plõksib
Lubasin täna toimunud Eturunduse seminari lõpus, et panen ettekandest läbi käinud viited ka siia välja. Skype'i ajaveeb Skype'i kolmandajatele arendajatele suunatud ajaveeb Microsoft Channel 9 Google Blog Foto.diip.ee English Cut Robert Scoble Cluetrai... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 21, 2005 4:27:56 AM

» Marketing Person Not a GeeK from Resonance Partnership Blog
Toby Bloomberg at Diva Marketing conveyed a disussion she had regarding Blog Tags with Stowe Boyd from Corante. Toby's point was that as a marketing person not a geek, tagging was a challenge. Boyd's point was that she should get over it and that not k... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 3, 2005 7:09:55 PM

» Hello, yes I am still here from frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger
You know, when one of your own mentions that he has seen a new blog post for a week, you gotta wonder... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 2, 2005 3:17:59 AM

» We are all Marketeers from Nick's Delphi Blog
[Read More]

Tracked on Nov 6, 2005 6:51:32 PM

» washing machines from washing machines review
[Read More]

Tracked on Dec 20, 2005 6:48:56 AM

» Rethinking ROI for the the blog generation: Return on "I", Dennis, Hugh, Kathy and You from James Governor's MonkChips
I have been a touch remiss in reading Dennis lately. Slow down mate, I can't keep up - and I am the second subscriber to say so. This post about Scoble and ROI got me thinking, especially given that I... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 5, 2006 11:03:11 AM

» Rethinking ROI for the the blog generation: Return on "I", Dennis, Hugh, Kathy and You from James Governor's MonkChips
I have been a touch remiss in reading Dennis lately. Slow down mate, I can't keep up - and I am the second subscriber to say so. This post about Scoble and ROI got me thinking, especially given that I... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 5, 2006 11:18:43 AM

Comments

I think this is one of your best posts ever. I especially like the old-school / new-school comparison table, which echos many similar thoughts I've been having lately. The brand hijacking is especially interesting. Because word of mouth is becoming so powerful, I feel more like the collaborator in the process of marketing rather than the controller of it.

You might also enjoy this article I wrote a while back called "Marketing From Your Conscience," which is about how marketing becomes a privileged duty when you honestly believe you're doing genuine good by spreading the word:
http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/marketing-from-your-conscience.htm

I think in one sense the Internet is helping to raise our collective intelligence, such that we're less likely to fall to old school marketing tactics. There has to be some genuine substance to a product or service now -- on some level it much achieve a measure of greatness to get noticed. It must provide real value.

Posted by: Steve Pavlina | Aug 27, 2005 10:41:11 AM

Bravo for the piece on marketing. I've been working as a mentor on a Google Summer Of Code, and my very first question to Gary was "How are you going to market this? Let's start with the module name. What are you going to call it?"

The #1 problem with the perception of marketing is that people think "marketing" = "advertising" = "TV ads for soap." It's something that we all must get past.

This also came up when Bill Odom & I were working on our slides for last year's OSCON talk on getting hired. We talked explicitly about treating yourself as a product that must be marketed. Even if you don't advertise the product, you still must manage yourself as a product. You must still know what upgrades and improvements to make to the product.

Maybe there's a word other than marketing that will make the young (and not-so-young) and skeptical see marketing in a more palatable way.

Posted by: Andy Lester | Aug 27, 2005 3:24:52 PM

If marketing is so unpalletable, why are so many people still trying to get into the field? Why is it still ranked as one of the "hot" jobs of the 21st century? Why do all the people I know in Finance and Sales departments often see their jobs there as gateways into marketing?

Quit whining. People make lawyer jokes. Will they stop if we start calling them "barristers" or "attorneys" more often? Not bloody likely.

I think the table you've put together above is nice. Shallow, but nice. It's directional and helpful to folks who are still mired entirely in the 1950's style of, as you put it, "old-school" marketing, but going totally "new-school" -- that is, to swing completely into the right-hand column -- would be as unwise as to stay completely in the left. Why? Because as marketers (and I'm fine with the name, by the way) we have a responsibility to several groups of people... not just users.

Creating passionate users is a wonderful goal, and I love lots of your writing on this site, and more companies/marketers should be doing many of the things you advocate. But let's also remember that (in many cases), we are beholden to those crazy shareholders. Too much of the stuff in the right-hand column can water-down shareholder value in certain circumstances.

Same holds true for employee loyalty at times. If you fixate on customers and ignore the folks inside the barn who built the company and know your products and procedures inside and out... you may lose them to a competitor who strokes their egos a bit more.

Same arguments for the legal department, finance and HR. Marketing is a tough gig. The bigger the pot, the tougher the noodles, too. What we've seen in the past decade or so, are some companies that have been able, through the revolutions in technology and communications, to be highly profitable with much smaller companies, in terms of embedded resources, at least in their early phases. This makes it seem as if they need be less "tied down" to many of the "old-school" ways of doing business, since they can make their money without regard for lots of the "old-school" requirements.

That's not the case with lots and lots of "old-school" style companies whose business models haven't (and can't) change, because gravity still requires the same amount of force to pull crap out of the earth and truck it across country. Don't get me wrong -- I'm a total technophile. But just because Google and Amazon can make a bjillion bucks doing business in a new way doesn't mean that steel companies, lawn care companies and fishermen can. And for many of those companies, the old ways of marketing are still just as important.

Let us, for example, witness the very recent and hugely successful Geico insurance TV campaigns. Since starting their two-pronged campaigns -- the lizard and the "I just saved 15% on my insurance bits -- the company has increased its market share by 40%. All using traditional, "old-school" advertising. TV, print and radio. Other recent "old-school" successes inlcude the Absolut print campaign and Quiznos.

The other thing that we need to keep in mind is that this isn't the first "old vs. new" marketing trend-shift in the history of the biz. It hasn't ever NOT happened, not since the advent of the "modern" economy after the Civil War. About every 10-20 years, some new facet of the business world requires that the marketing folk sit up and change gears a bit. Whether it's the Model-T Ford, mail-order catalogs, national magazines, radio, TV, phones... whatever. They all require us to keep on our toes and do new stuff.

Our mistakes are aired on national television, in car lots and billboards. So the view of our mishaps is much more pronounced than that of other professions. You know what? Tough buns. We also get to do cool stuff, play with big budgets, go on neat trips, make fun and colorful displays and create compelling messages that help shape the world around us. If I have to put up with a few commedians calling me names, I can live with that.

Pass around the bandoliers of CMYK cartridges, boys. The old-school, tough-bastard marketing team is on the hill. We'll do all the neat, new stuff in the right-hand column -- when it's the right thing to do -- but when we need to lay down a $20 million national ad blitz; bring it on. Good marketing is good, bad is bad. Let's not get caught up in our own playground of definitions. Whatever moves our company's or client's products is what we should do. Old or new, who cares. It's still marketing, and I'm still proud to be doing it.

Posted by: Andy Havens | Aug 27, 2005 5:53:33 PM

you change the signifier, but you cannot change the signified. you are still sucking satan's [edited] (as bill hicks so beautifully put it)

really, it's like coprophiliacs or NAMBLA members gathering to find a new spin to place on their pursuits.

Posted by: pinhut | Aug 27, 2005 7:28:24 PM

pinhut's right, you know; you haven't addressed Bill Hicks's point. Just because we're all in marketing now, doesn't change anything; maybe it just means we should all kill ourselves. The dispersal of the marketing function over the whole of society doesn't make it any less unpleasant; on the contrary, it makes it nastier, because not only do we have to put up with marketing from others, we now have to put up with the marketing we do ourselves.

The political theory literature on immaterial and affective labour is interesting here (see http://www.ecn.org/valkohaalarit/english/lazz.htm for example). Creative and leisure time activities are increasingly becoming productive for, and tightly controlled by, capitalism. That our enthusiasm for the work we do is increasingly being repurposed into a form of marketing is not a good thing.

Posted by: Tim | Aug 27, 2005 8:43:18 PM

I'm thinking smackdown Andy Havens vs. pinhut & Tim.

Andy Havens: you made some great points (extra points for being passionate about it), but I'm not sure we're talking apples-to-apples (my fault for not being clear). I'm not addressing marketing as a whole -- just the marketingesque activities that non-marketers do, and even *that* within our very limited context. This blog isn't directed at--or useful to--the kinds of companies and products with the size and budgets you're talking about (although obviously some stuff can still be applied). But the idea that, because of the web, a tiny software company or even a horse trainer can find a following and create passionate users -- by being good and helping users kick ass -- but with virtually a zero marketing/ad budget, is pretty powerful. The Good Things (products, services, websites, causes, music) are bubbling up from the bottom and succeeding much more quickly, and that part IS new. I think of all the wonderful things people built that were lost because they had no mechanism to scale their word-of-mouth within a livable time frame, and they couldn't survive.

pinhut: sorry for the comment edit, but as much as I love Bill Hicks, my older relatives read this blog and are still shocked that I "use the word 'ass' with such abandon." And yes, this *is* just a ride. ; )

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Aug 27, 2005 10:39:29 PM

Andy has a point re. shareholders etc. But you know what? I don't care. If people want to spend their lives beholden to the shareholder slushpile, well, they have free will. Nobody makes you become a meatpuppet. There's no law saying you have to be an MBA cogboy.

The cost of creating global media has fallen from billions of dollars to PENNIES in the last few decades.

And the slushpile has no earthly clue what to do about it.

As the world becomes more commodified by the China-WalMart make n' sell complex, the demand for "Bespoke" grows. Therein lies the opportunity. I wrote about it here:

http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/001878.html

Meanwhile, yes, it's fun watching the dinosaurs die.

Posted by: hugh macleod | Aug 28, 2005 6:02:05 AM

Kathy & crew,

this is a message from the "market"..

Please do not change course heading--stop--..Ignore barking dogs--stop--..Keep the caravan moving--stop--..

Posted by: Carlos Saldivia | Aug 28, 2005 9:08:36 AM

Buy Carlos a Telephone--stop--
But listen to his message--stop--
Shareholders will lose all their non-tangible-assests if the customers go away.
We all know this. Marketers (old school) don't have to deliver customers as much as find a scapegoat for their failures. Shareholders--schmareholders--marketers self-interest is to score points by how much power they can weild, "my budget is bigger than yours" type BS. But then that is because marketers are not rewarded by tangible measurable results. Set up a system where "your" rewards don't align with the companies? Guess which rewards Marketers (and Sarbanes, Oxley...) will go for...

Posted by: Doug | Aug 28, 2005 10:19:28 AM

The 4 P's are still a good way (if perhaps simplified) of addressing the main marketing problems, and show how marketing is different from development/engineering. Someone in the company needs to address pricing and product definition issues, leaving them to the customers is daft. Worse, leaving them to engineering is commercial suicide.

Still, after seeing Kathy S's pic recently I see she is a babe, and I want her to have my babies, so I'm not picking any quarrels here!

W.

Posted by: Wally | Aug 28, 2005 3:24:54 PM

By the way, why 'marketers'and not 'marketeers'? It makes a better fit with 'engineers'!

W.

Posted by: Wally | Aug 28, 2005 3:27:54 PM

Trying to sell people on something other than marketing is marketing. Developing an anti-marketing schtick is marketing. Blogs are marketing. In short, there's no escape. So, the challenge is perfectly clear. We need to make marketing better.

Posted by: David Burn | Aug 28, 2005 5:21:14 PM

Wally: you're the best. But about that picture... flattered as I am, keep in mind that I know Photoshop. And I do like "marketeers"; it also has the whole Disney thing going for it.

David: oh how true that is. I am finding it ironic that some of the people who hate me for sounding/smelling like a marketer are making a masterful use of trackbacks and comment links to their own sites. Seems they don't mind using this blog to *market* their own ; )

Tim: I can think of reasons for people to kill themselves, but promoting your project/blog/book/whatever that you believe in is pretty low on that list. Life's going to be short enough for all of us as it is.

pinhut: I strongly disagree with you about the "signified" being unchanged. Making distinctions and seeing shades of grey and subtley (and holding conflicting points of view while still being able to function) is profoundly important. I'm definitely for having strong values and sticking to them... but failing to appreciate the difference between honest, authentic evangelizing for something we believe in, and the mindless detached promotion of things that might, say, kill people... is a problem. I believe that most of the folks on this blog are making those distinctions.

That said, it could very well BE a slippery slope. I could imagine myself justifying the little things step by step until one day I'm finding myself doing something I would have, at some earlier point, found pretty distasteful (the "slowly boiling frog" effect). But that's part of why many of us are having a conversation about it. So we can figure out our own subtle boundaries, and as Dave said, try to make it better.

But Dave was right--all of us here ARE marketing, pinhut. You're certainly trying to promote/market a point of view (and your own site) and using provocative ad-savvy techniques to do so. And I have fallen right into your evil marketing scheme, because here we are talking about you and linking to you again.

And having said THAT -- I have to laugh at this whole conversation again, because I'm not willing to take ANY of this -- anything I or anyone else says here -- *that* seriously. Perhaps I've been playing my Bill Hicks videos just a little too often, or studying too much quantum physics -- but I just can't help recognize that none of this is "real".

However, I don't need it to be "real" in order to have a conscience,or care about people, or to believe that many of us just might change the world in our own small way : )

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Aug 28, 2005 5:43:44 PM

"If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on... congratulations. You're in marketing."

Not all of these are clearly marketing in my view. To be specific, it's only marketing if you are selling something. Marketing takes place in a market. Other types of promotion have other names: advocacy, evangelism, propaganda, and so on.

If those passionate users are using a commercial product then creating them might be a marketing act (helping to secure the market for that product). However, if those are users of public infrastructure (roads, parks, government services) then there is no market (there is a commons, a political arena, perhaps many conversations but nothing is being bought or sold).

Keeping your job is marketing, yes, in as much as workers are commodities of the job market.

"Breathing new life into a startup" isn't specific enough to comment on.

There are any number of reasons for wanting others to contribute to your open source project. Many of them have to do with creating a market for related offerings but there are also wholy non-commercial motivations that are cultural, ethical, political or other.

Lastly, at risk of offending your elder relatives, unless you or your significant other is a, ahem, "professional" companion then there is no market between you.

Economic abstractions are enormously pervasive today. The idea of a competitive market is easily our most popular metaphor for any sort of social interaction. However, it is sloppy or worse to call every argument for one thing over another "marketing" when there are more accurate terms available, and English is a truly enormous language.

I'd like to suggest "advocacy" for the more inclusive, "everybody does it" type of promotion you've described. If you really want to emphasis the passion and zeal, say "evangelism". I like "cheerleading" too but, as with each of these terms, it has it's own associations such as being facile, shallow, and unfailingly partisan ("go team!").

But, like whatever, y'know. Laugh it off. Nothing is real.

Posted by: stfn | Aug 28, 2005 11:33:32 PM

Maybe it's the whole metaphor of 'selling' that is inflationated and has all kinds of negative connotations. If you are selling, then you are marketing.

Can we think of a better word?

Posted by: JDrakes | Aug 29, 2005 2:18:38 AM

Oddly enough, I've been listening to my one Bill Hicks (another Arkansaw boy) CD quite a bit lately (a live one, the Flying Saucer Tour, Vol. I), and wondering where my moral clarity went, in comparison to Hicks'.

I like this comment surrounding a quote from Marianne Faithful:

She speaks of the '60s as someone might speak of Paris in the '20s, which is why it carries tremendous weight when, speaking of Epstein's failure to secure a lucrative licensing deal for American-produced Beatles' merchandise, she says, "I don't think it's bad to not be good at that." Her statement takes your breath away: It repudiates everything that has come to be thought important in the arts -- the deal making, the percentages, the grosses -- and puts the focus back on the work itself.

Source: http://archive.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2004/04/29/epstein/print.html

I know that, given a market-fundamentalist society, I don't have any choice but to sell myself. That doesn't mean I have to feel good about it, accept it, or believe that it's simply in the nature of things.

Posted by: adamsj | Aug 29, 2005 7:29:34 AM

Kathy,
If your still looking for a replacement for "marketer" or "marketeer", how about "evangelist"? My first run in with this alternative title was when Guy Kawasaki became one for the Macintosh - I know, that drag in the whole Apple as a cult thing, oh well.

If you're passionate about your product, whatever it is, and you want others to believe too, then I think Evangelist fits the bill pretty well.

Posted by: Burk | Aug 29, 2005 8:53:47 AM

"An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself." - Albert Camus

And there are certainly many intellectuals in the blogosphere. Funny thing is, I'm with Kathy AND Andy. Andy sees what is, and Kathy sees what is becoming! And negotiating change requires a balance of both, sans the bull.

Years ago I wrote about marketing generalizations here: http://www.acleareye.com/generalizationsarticle.pdf

And people's aversion to the word brand here: http://www.acleareye.com/brandarticle.pdf

Let's please cut the hyperbole and get on with making a difference in people's lives.

Oh . . . and here's what one small business owner finally figured out (first review). Halleluiah! Let's not confuse her.: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/097252908X/ref=dp_nav_0/102-0548970-1874502?%5Fencoding=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

Posted by: Tom Asacker | Aug 29, 2005 9:13:49 AM

Kathy,

After some thought, I think that the best terms I can come up with are "dictatorial" and "democratic" marketing.

In the old days, marketers were like dictators, manipulating and commanding their audience. Today, we have to be democrats, cultivating a following by listening to the concerns of our constituents.

http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com/2005/08/democratic-and-dictatorial-marketing.html

Posted by: Chris Yeh | Aug 29, 2005 3:05:40 PM

Fantabulous article about marketing. There are millions of sites about this topic around, but yours is one of the best.

Posted by: Philip Shore | Aug 29, 2005 7:24:24 PM

Chris, could you explain why you called it "democratic" instead of "demagogic" or "populist" (two entirely different slants) marketing? I'm not sure "democratic" is the right word for sweetening a top-down process.

Posted by: adamsj | Aug 30, 2005 6:17:35 AM

Nothing says good marketing like West Coast Choppers.

http://spaces.msn.com/members/shaded/Blog/cns!1pcUVdsqGjzbPov5sh3Flrdw!524.entry

Posted by: Shaded | Aug 30, 2005 8:44:33 AM

Another "FIND & REPLACE" is:

Buyer ==> Employee
Seller==> Manager / Leader

Everything here should apply to how organizations operate internally.

Posted by: Lee White | Aug 30, 2005 12:47:10 PM

Hi, My name is Mary and I'm a Marketer! Uh-oh.

And, here's an even more shameful things - we're ALL SALESPEOPLE! (okay, now you'll have to torture yourself before killing yourself...)

Great post, keep up the good (and oh-so-snarky smart) work.)

Posted by: Mary Schmidt | Aug 30, 2005 4:40:54 PM

Oooh, now Kathy's going for that "paradigm shift" dollar. That's a *huge* market.

Posted by: Michael Ernest | Aug 30, 2005 9:13:01 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.