Marketing's Got A Brand New BagYes everything is changing and change is faster than we can imagine. How our Internet marketing play will end is unclear. As we enter the middle acts some things are becoming as increasingly clear as a James Brown SHOUT. This post is about how Papa's new Internet marketing balances four ideas and actions:
- The Ask
- The Give
- The Share
- The Commons
The AskAn ask is anything requiring someone to give up something of value. “Value” is defined broadly. Time has value. Information has value. Attention has value. Money is valuable too, but attention and advocacy must precede the “gift” of money in our new social, connected and mobile world. An ASK can be overly generous, but an ASK can never be less valuable than a GIVE.
The GiveThe GIVE is anytime anyone (personally “you” or a company, brand, product or service) provide something of value. Again “value” can be a lot of things from a blog post with tips on email marketing to a special offer for loyal advocates.
The ShareThe Share is anytime you advocate anything in any medium. What is the difference between a SHARE and a give? Sharing is a big GIVE, big and important enough to have its own classification especially since "link love" is the most important Google currency. Google's algorithms tabulate the "votes" of inbound links and social signals (likes, shares, comments).
The CommonsThe triptych of The Ask, The Give and The Share form the base of the new marketing's actions. The commons is the beneficiary of those actions. Any website is a commons (whether creators know it or not). A commons is the space between two or more people, companies or even ideas. This is a shared space where the whole is greater than the parts. Every contributor to a commons agrees to a working partnership.
The “working partnership” of the web’s commons is where it is easy to fall into a trap. Approach the web as a robber and tenure will be short. Make sure you generously contribute more than you remove and you act within the web’s most basic but unstated covenant - the covenant of the commons.
Audience Determines BalanceThink you are more generous than “robber”? Beliefs must be communal. If you believe you are generous when perception is you are stingy then you aren’t as generous as you think.
In a post Panda and Penguin Google algorithm world any claim must be supported by “wisdom of crowds” social confirmation. Better to curate “claims” out of feedback from customers than make them unsupported. Your website operates like Wikipedia. Unsubstantiated claims are seen as spam and do more harm than good.
Philosophy is not a claim. Philosophy, mission and beliefs are yours to share and own. Even your “creation story” and beliefs are best when supported. If your creation story is LIKED and shared your “storytelling” resonates then it is valuable and you've struck a cord.
If the last paragraph sounds like your ABOUT page is the most important page on your website you are right. Any website's about page sets the philosophy and themes for the website, business and company. The three to five themes outlined on the About page should echo throughout the website, in printed material, email marketing and even on the walls of the company.
Your About page is a strategic CSF (Critical Success Factor).
Matching Walk and TalkThe web is NOT generous, kind or inherently supportive. The Internet is a huge amplifying lie detector. The web wants to expose lies and deceit so much it can “see” and “create” lies and deceit where none exist.
If your company or website is ever caught in such a trap don’t rage about injustice. Listen carefully and respond with patience and kindness. If you are in the wrong a full admission with specific steps to make sure the wrong never happens again is a good idea. If you are wronged your best hope is Brand Advocates come to your defense.
Brand Advocates and the CommonsWhen you are generous contributing more to the commons than you take out people notice. Some will say THANKS by becoming brand advocates. Brand Advocates are “virtual” team members who believe in you, your company, brand, product or service strongly enough to put personal capital “at risk” to help.
Personal capital, let’s call it Klout, is always at risk. Personal capital can only do two things: gain or decline. As we evolve into a more connected and flatter world the “long tail” is becoming longer as the absolute influence located in the “head” of the curve slowly wanes.
Things just don’t get as “big” as they used to. There are a thousand reasons for this, but the web is a major contributor. As the distance between Pro and Amateur decline (as technology becomes more pervasive and easier) two things happen simultaneously:
The mystique of being a PRO is lessened (shrinking their market). The ability of “amateurs” to create cool things increases (growing their market).Unlike The Cult of the Amateur I don’t see the evolution of the long tail as the seventh sign consigning quality to the grave and insuring consumers suffer by having to watch endless poorly done home movies.
Attention is too valuable a currency to not be paid for things that “matter”. We may not understand the “value” of cat videos or someone shaking their booty who receives a million views, but a long tail market forms and is capable of placing value on things we may or may not understand (from a market perspective).
Today’s Internet marketers must be agnostic. If a cat video goes viral the correct reaction is, “Do we have any related content or can we create some,” since to disdain what is can be an expensive luxury few true Internet marketers can afford.
What Is Internet MarketingInternet marketing isn’t what you think it is. You think Internet marketing is putting your STUFF (products, B2B philosophy or ideas) online. Creating digital communication is a small part of Internet marketing.
Listening, learning and curating are the actions that separate great Internet marketers from the pack. Average Internet marketers think their online marketing is about THEM. Great web marketers know Internet marketing is about US and “us” is generously created in the commons.
This piece owes much to many including:
Phil Buckley's Content is the New SEO Ideas on 1918.com and at his SEO Meetup
David Amerland What If We Had A New Value System for Goods and Servies?
Mark Traphagen's posts on New Media Leders
Amy Lewis work on Engineers Unplugged
You In?Here are helpful links so you know I'm not crazy, just in a hurry :).
Martin W. Smith, Director Marketing Atlantic BT
Martin Marty Smith on Facebook
Martin Marty Smith on Linkedin
Martin W. Smith on G+