I’ll respond to this inline:::

Customers as authors are finding the tools (Patreon and Distrokid) to route around the established media powers and apply the notion of “tipjars” to content distribution.

But is that enough?

Not even close. We’ve had tip jars since the last millennium and they’re fully inadequate. In fact their inadequacy is one reason I started ProjectVRM in 2006.

P&Gs sales were down 15% last year and they blame the demise of soap operas (and NetFlix) as the reason. With housewives watching NetFlix instead of Soap Operas they’re not buying LESS matressees or razor blades, they’re buying direct from Casper (https://casper.com/) and Dollar-Shave-Club (https://www.dollarshaveclub.com/.)

Modern as it is in many ways, P&G is exactly what it was when it invented branding in the 1930s, borrowing the term from the cattle industry. The idea was to burn the name of a product into the brains of radio listeners—especially women working at home, listening to P&G sponsored “soap operas.” P&G also smartly took advantage of another new kind of retail outlet: the grocery store. It won “shelf wars” in grocery stores by “putting one kind of soap in six different boxes and singing about the difference” in radio ads.

Today marketing has almost totally forgotten the lessons P&G learned and taught in those days, which are still with us, in media where it is possible to reach large audiences that either don’t mind having their brains burned with strong repeating messages or hold still for it because there isn’t much choice. (Example: live sportscasts.)

But those media are a melting iceberg in a sea of “content” called into the world by what P&G and every other marketing organization is in thrall of doing now: gathering big data with constant surveillance and using big-ass AI, ML and other fashionable tech to deliver “relevant” and “interest based” ads to eyeballs wherever they can be found. By incentivizing “content production” rather than sponsoring good editorial and programming, brands have shot themselves in the tentacles, while also marginalizing journalism, since it’s much easier to fake up content than it is to research, create and produce good editorial and programming.

Meanwhile Casper, Seamless and other smart companies are doing appropriate brand advertising where the audience is: for example in subways.

So where does marketing fit in this new economy?

As Francine commented — directly asking customers for their needs is one way — and I believe that’s called VRM.

Marketing can’t do VRM any more than a rock can sing. VRM is something only the customer can have and do. That’s why we’re rebranding it CustomerTech. It’s tech the customer has.

We’re working on a way for brands to sponsor content — directly — and let the author directly benefit from this sponsorship.

When I “publish” my Storytelling Bot — I choose who’s my sponsor — and I split the take 50%/50% with my Bot’s tool vendor.

Is that called marketing or a new form of advertising or what?

It’s another form of marketing. Hope it works. I always wish you well, as you know. :-)

Written by

Author of The Intention Economy, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Fellow of CITS at UCSB, alumnus Fellow of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard.

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