Last year I had the pleasure of attending a presentation made by Don Schultz, professor emeritus at Northwestern. I left the presentation with a key insight about how Web 2.0 has changed the landscape of marketing. As a consequence, I follow Don’s writings. In this month’s AMA Marketing News, Don’s column provided another layer of insight.
In the presentation Don gave, he had talked about how marketing was built on a ‘push messages to the masses’ foundation (think Mad Men). And that marketing continues to hold to these methods, even though the world has changed. Push is losing it’s ability to persuade as consumers take an active role in the marketing space. Web 2.0, a.k.a. Social Media, allows the customers to take part in the conversation. Push is out – participation is in.
Don’s article took this insight to a deeper layer. Based on a conversation with a colleague from China, he came to appreciate the different marketing and advertising methodology used there. In China, marketing is not about persuasion. Instead it’s about negotiation. The purpose in marketing there is “to create situations to be considered, thought about, bargained for and haggled over.”
If this concept sounds familiar – it should. This is how Web 2.0 works. So Don’s epiphany is that in the US in addition to holding on to the ‘push’ world, we still subscribe to the persuasion model of marketing and advertising. This is problematic since our venues for marketing are quickly becoming negotiation platforms.
The moral of this story: We need to shift our entire marketing philosophy from a persuasion based approach to the Chinese model of negotiation. Persuasion messages fall dead in the negotiation space. When people find no reason to engage with your marketing messages, the messages will never make it past the door and never even make it in to the market.