Thursday, August 27, 2009

The World's 4th Largest Country

I had occasion to attend an interesting conference today. An assortment of folks gave presentations about new interactive media, social media, email marketing, and the like. All interesting and enlightening stuff. These speakers were smart, and I learned quite a bit. But I came away thinking--and I'm convinced every one of them would agree--that nobody really has a handle on this sort of thing.

See, for the first time in the history of marketing and advertising, the customer is in control, not the marketer or advertiser. For the first time, the people we are trying to sell is more in control of our message than we are. A couple of generations who have been sold, sold, sold are perfectly willing to tell us to take our sales pitch and put it where the sun don't shine--sideways. That's hard for some staid, set-in-their-ways marketers to understand.

Traditional media are already hurting. Newspapers, TV, radio. Oh, they'll blame it all on the recession, but the boat had sprung a sizeable leak long before that storm blew up. (There is a stunningly accurate essay on researcher Mark Ramsey's blog that talks about the reluctance of radio station owners to change their ways. It's long but worth the read HERE)

If nothing else, the sheer size of it all should be enough to strike terror into the hearts of the Luddites in the ad game. There are 200 million blogs out there. YouTube posts videos so fast, you would not have time to watch them all without getting behind. The Krispy Kreme doughnut Facebook page has 20,000 followers.

If Facebook was a country, its "population" would make it the fourth largest on the planet.

A Chinese web site similar to Facebook is even larger.

I think I need to lie down for a while.

Don Keith

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