Mitch Joel at the Art of Marketing

I attended The Art of Marketing yesterday and heard from some great speakers. I wanted to shared a couple of notes from the event, so thought a mini-series on the blog this week highlighting some of the speakers and few lessons from them would be a good idea. First up, Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation.

Mitch Joel started by saying he is not here to talk about the future, only the present and right now, the old way of marketing is dead.

He gave the example of Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conquistador who ordered his men to burn the ships when they arrived in Mexico. There is no going backwards, no option to retreat to safety, there is only going forward.

Compare this to the ctrl + alt + del on your computer. If you had the opportunity to reboot right now, how would you build a platform to market your business in this world? Risky, but a leap that needs to happen – the old school banner ads just don’t work.

What must happen now is real interactions between real people. Instead of the old idea of marketing, ‘we have a fairly inadequate product, can you make it look better?’ People can have a real problem with a product and the product maker can read about it over a blog or on twitter and take the opportunity to fix it. People care about brands more than ever before. The more you care about your customers and involve them, the more loyalty they will have. This is what is important.

Joel says he talks to executives all the time that haven’t quite embraced the idea that everyone creates content, “These kids are nuts! They go on Facebook and post all these pictures. Who do they think will hire them?” is the cry from executives. To which Joel responds, “Who are you going to hire if everyone is on Facebook?” This is the cold reality. What makes any of these channels so amazing is that people create the channel and people create the content. Marketers can no longer use the “spray and pray” approach to marketing.

Keeping this in mind, what are you doing as a brand to engender relationships within the community? Social Media is not a numbers game, so stop asking how many. Instead, ask who is connecting? You need to be building a community for months and months before you launch something so that those relationships are established. When you start to build that community, don’t ask what, ask why? Why are you doing this? Why should you be on any social network? Answer that and simplify your online strategy.

What excites me about Mitch Joel’s talk is that he reminded everyone that we don’t need permission to do any of this. Anyone can go out and start something on the Internet. It is the democratization of content.