I don’t begrudge anybody going after advertising money. And I don’t have anything against advertising itself. For many products and services advertising will remain the best way for supply and demand to get acquainted.
But advertising also involves guesswork and waste, and always will. It is also, by its shout-to-the-world nature, not a “conversation”.
This is why I’m uncomfortable with the notions of “conversational media” and “conversational marketing”. Especially when Cluetrain gets used to justify it. Such is the case with the awful current entry for Conversational Marketing in Wikipedia. It begins, “Conversational (or Conversation) Marketing arose as a current buzzword after the [ClueTrain Manifesto], which starts ‘All Markets Are Conversations’.
First, it’s Cluetrain, not ClueTrain. Second, it begins “People of Earth…” Third, it’s true that the first of its 95 Theses says “Markets are conversations” (no “All”, no headline-type caps); but the next 94 unpack that point, along with a few more, none of which are justifications for advertising. In fact, we mention advertising only once, at #74, which says, “We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.” (Even if that’s not true, it’s what the thing says, so at least get that much right.) Fourth, a phrase is not a word, even if the phrase buzzes.
I could go on, but why bother. I just hope the Wikipedians delete or bury the whole topic until its promoters start thinking and stop buzzing.
Anyway, this all comes up because I’m thinking about what to talk about tomorrow night at There’s a New Conversation in Palo Alto. (Details here.) The event is one in a series occasioned by the upcoming 10th anniversary of Cluetrain’s publishing on the Web; but I’m not much interested in talking about that. Instead I’d rather talk about what’s going to happen after we finish throwing both media and marketing out the window.
Both will live, of course. But not the way they’ve lived in the periods that began with their common usage and can’t end soon enough.
More to a piont, I’d like to explore what happens after buyer reach exceeds seller grasp. Because that will happen. And when it does neither media nor marketing will be able to live in their old halls of mirrors. Even with Wikipedia’s help.