Monday, March 26, 2007

The Media, The Web, and TV - how to market and lose your shirt

There's a wide difference between what actually goes on and what people tell you goes on. If you don't know the difference, you can spend a great amount of money though marketing and advertizing and get very little out of it.

Most companies today really make more sales off their distribution lines and the basic qualities of their products than they do from all their TV and other media ads.

I've been doing a long study of marketing, sales, advertizing, etc. lately and have come up with some interesting points - and blogged these because I thought you might find them interesting.

Marketing on the web is a conversation. (See Doc Searls' "Cluetrain Manifesto"). Marketing anywhere else is a parody of life. Since the Internet sprung full-armed from the brow of DARPA, since Marc Andresson enabled images to run in browsers and the WWW to be formed, since Amazon and eBay proved there was a market (and profit) to be had online - people found that there lives were just as interactive with corporations and product salespersons as they were in real life.

Means companies can't PR (read backwards BS) people into buying things.

And the rapidly changing demographics are making the modern texts on marketing so much recyclable paper waste.

The (Network) TV is for advertising. That is the only place you are going to find mindless zombies tuning into soap operas and sports when they aren't locked into their cubicle or assembly line during the day.

MSM is for bad news - that's all they want: conflict, controversy, cacaphony.

The Internet is for conversations, as is radio.

Cable TV is caught in between. It is morphing from the no-choice network TV over to the talk-radio conversations being found on radio.

My studies have shown that the best and easiest way to market is to start a conversation on the Web. Don't worry about advertizing - let your "competitors" waste their money on this stuff. Advertising on the web is pretty worthless and is ignored by most viewers.

The marketing cycle:
  1. Make or find or get a product that is a solution to some problem.
  2. Find people with this problem - or enable these people to find you.
  3. Tell them about your solution and make it easy for them to buy it.
  4. Have a line open for feedback and answer it faithfully.
The days of wage-slaves stuck in repetitive drudgery, relieved only by TV - these are rapidly disappearing. People are changing jobs regularly and not staying with the same company for years. People are starting to look for quality of life above security of job.

There is a new political demographic called "ex-urbans" which are taking their money and buying nice houses with some land where they can have a quality life. These people are very independent and mostly vote Republican but can't be made to vote anyway at all. They know the scene. Since they have long commutes, they listen to talk-radio. They are informed. And they hate high taxes.

The three main ways to market effectively (oddly, they are very low cost):
  1. Create a web presence that tells people all about your product and makes it easy to buy.
  2. Write and post articles about your solutions and link to your web pages. Just fact, not hype.
  3. Give radio interviews about your product - since you are the expert on this one solution.
There is a traditional way of selling using press releases and MSM:
  1. Get your product into wide distribution with major chain stores.
  2. Write and distribute press releases exposing controversies about your product.
  3. Get TV interviews on news programs which "expose" these controversies.
  4. Have some sort of addictive substance in the product (fat, sugar, salt, nicotene, caffiene) which will ensure continuing sales.
  5. Run TV ads which tout how it is so popular with everyone and "the thing to do."
This last "system" works quite well for flash-in-the-pan, quick-buck products. And is bought by the few remaining robots out there.

But the first sequence will sell anything and continue to sell anything - as long as it is a good product and you really stand behind it.

The second sequence is where you see the marketing disasters happening continually.

The first is working to fill niche demands. The second is trying to get the bulk of humanity addicted to it.

Once we get cable TV so that it is tied to personal computers in the home (and gives realistic feedback on who is watching what when - anonymous statistics, much like Google, Yahoo, and the rest) then we will start getting real feedback and interaction with this medium.

Newspapers have already started to "nichefy" themselves and start giving their local readers what they really want. They still have a chance to keep themselves in business - as long as they provide real resources for people to change their lives with. Put the "news" on page three or four and put sports, weather, and cartoons on the front. Put community happenings on page two. The rest should be cheap and affordable classified ads - extra for pictures.

Turn the paper back into a marketplace - and buy syndicated sports, cartoons, and weather as the lead. Make it easy for people to report the news in their area. Duplicate this on the web - a person's "news" or ad is in both.

Practically, this is already happening - newspapers are being replaced by cheap newsprint ad papers - which come out once a week. These are avidly sought after and disappear quickly. Less and less people are getting newspapers, since they already get the news from radio and TV and Internet.

Media, to continue being relevant, has to provide a valuable service - they have to improve people's lives. As MSM continues to run destructive stories about how bad everything is, they are tuned out and replaced.

And so your marketing on the web had better be positive and promote a worthwhile product.

Because marketing now is a conversation, not a one-way street.
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