Don’t use Marketing 1.0 techniques in World 2.0

by Ron on April 17, 2009

Guest Post by Morriss Partee

This bit of advice is directed towards those brought up in “traditional” media marketing. Marketing 1.0 was defined by carefully crafting a message– controlling every word, every graphic, every nuance of an advertising campaign. The product was placed clearly at the center of this universe.

But just as Copernicus figured out that it was the Sun, not the Earth, that is the center of the solar system, so too must traditional marketers learn that it was never the product at the center of their universe, it is the customer.

Nowhere is this shift in business thinking better outlined than in the Cluetrain Manifesto. There are many excellent tenets espoused in Cluetrain. No marketing professional should venture forth into the social media world without first internalizing the Cluetrain principles.

One Cluetrain principle that trips up traditional marketers is #3, Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice. Marketers, accustomed to controlling every word, wring the humanity out of prose. Just as you can easily tell if a presenter is reading from the page, so too is it easy for people to discern personal versus corporate speech.

Marketing 2.0 is fundamentally different than Marketing 1.0. Instead of controlling every aspect of a marketing message, Marketing 2.0 is about empowering your customers to share THEIR story. And you can’t fake it, either. When you enable your customers to tell their story, they naturally use their personal voice. Yes, there will be errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. You may think that perfection is preferable, but to make changes robs a message of its author’s voice.

People are not perfect. People have flaws and imperfections. That’s what makes each one of us human and beautiful.

Morriss Partee is the founder and Chief Experience Officer of, an online community of 6,826 credit union professionals. His blog is: The World 2.0 Adventure

Photo by Thomas.Merton on Flickr.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mark Sherrick April 17, 2009 at 9:39 am

With all due respect Morris, I am going to have to disagree with you in part.

It is true that “marketing 2.0” is effective today. I disagree that “marketing 1.0” or “traditional marketing” as some do call it, is unefective today. In fact, I actually disagree that there IS a 1.0 and a 2.0. I wrote a blog post about it, which you can see at my website link, but I will break it down quickly here also.

What I actually disagree with the most is that the idea of dividing up marketing as a whole into arbitrary groups. Dividing things up is a means for allowing the masses to easily classify something they don’t understand so they can pretend they do. Look at the music industry for instance. It seems that daily there is a new genre that sounds the same as ten before it.

My thought is this: Marketing is Marketing. Leave it at that. You cannot leave behind certain methods just because they may be a little bit older. They worked then, and they will work now. New methods may work and they may not. There’s no need to force them upon yourself or a client just because they are new. You have choices, you have options, why limit them?

In all honesty, and so I don’t sound completely disrespectful, I do like the writing style you have put forth, and you use your information well. I just happend to disagree with you this time. Great post, sir.

2 Morriss Partee April 17, 2009 at 10:10 am

Hi Mark!

I have no problem with well-reasoned argument. Without healthy debate, we’d still think the Earth is at the center of the solar system.

I am not advocating that we throw out all Marketing 1.0 techniques. Human psychology remains the same as it has for millennia. And many Marketing 1.0 techniques continue to be effective because not everyone has embraced World 2.0….. yet. The key word is “yet”. Gen Y has grown up in this world, and up-and-coming young marketers shake their heads at their bosses for ignoring free social media avenues while pouring thousands of dollars and huge portions of their marketing budget into direct mail. Yes, direct mail, tv, newspaper, radio, billboards, all have their place. But it’s shocking to some that social media continues to be poorly understood.

I also say “yet” because what is important to bear in mind is not only where we are now, but where we are headed. Social media’s usage is rising like meteor. Twitterers have more than doubled in the past month. Facebook stands at more than 150 million users worldwide which places it in the top ten of countries by population, including the nation of MySpace.

I visited a local TV station with my Webelo den last night (thanks @ChristinePilch!). I mentioned that I had watched one of their newscasts because an anchor had tweeted an interesting story that was coming up that evening. Our host commented about how twitter had appeared out of nowhere in the past couple of months. For some of us, “out of nowhere” translates into years, and is a perfectly natural evolution in the following chain: web -> cluetrain manifesto -> blogs -> podcasts -> facebook -> twitter. Not really out of the blue at all. When Marketing 1.0 techniques cease working, no one can say there were no warning signs.

So to be fair, and less inflammatory, on second thought the title of this post ought to read: “Rethink Marketing 1.0 techniques for World 2.0”. But I went a little bit out on the limb, because the view is better from there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

3 Mark Sherrick April 17, 2009 at 10:31 am

Indeed. The view from the razor’s edge is beautiful.

There is definitely room for all kinds of marketing, divided or not. While the social media forum is skyrocketing, there are limits to it, as there are limits to any emerging market. The real reason not to get rid of anything is the same reason to try new things…think of the trend curve….early adopters and the like. There are people who think things do “come out of nowhere” because they are the laggards, or the majority of people who catch on when stuff gets huge. Take a look at Facebook’s emerging market of people forty and above…those are the people who are still going to respond more to “traditional” techniques.

I think I’m extra sensitive to the division between marketing schemes because of my education and age. I came through college and got most of my marketing bachelors degree when all there was to learn was the old stuff. I’m a huge technology dork, so I was up on all of the new stuff was emerging…but i saw no need to get rid of what I already knew. Finishing my bachelors and studying “new” marketing on my own really has enabled me to see just where the seeds were sown, and where many of the things done today were mutated from older techniques.

Where we are headed is a very interesting topic. Considering that I was among those people born in the late seventies early eighties who firmly agreed that we’d have flying cars by now…I dunno if i really want to guess where we are headed…but I’m along for the ride for sure.

4 Morriss Partee April 17, 2009 at 10:39 am

Here’s something that may surprise you Mark; I am older than you; I was born in 1967. Yes, I too grew up with television advertising as the highest pinnacle that a marketer could achieve. Our age difference brings up another important point in marketing: Yes, demographics (age, gender, zip code, income, etc.) matter to a certain extent. But far more important is psychographics, i.e. values and beliefs, that you share with your target audience. Thanks for the thoughts!

5 ron April 17, 2009 at 11:42 am

If you haven’t read the New Rules of Marketing and PR and World Wide Rave by David Meerman Scott, I highly recommend you do.

David’s point is which approach would you really rather have as a consumer? Do you like junk mail, spam, telephone solicitors, commercials? Most would admit they don’t. Who wants to have a message hit them over the head? Yes, there are clever commercials, but if your customers are out there telling your story for you that’s much more powerful.

If you or Morriss told me you had used a product and were happy with it, that’s going to carry a lot more weight to me than some carefully crafted ad copy.

I don’t disagree that there is still room for older techniques, especially when done wisely and well, but I truly believe that the methods that Morriss alludes to here are far more powerful and effective in the long run than older methods of marketing and communication.

Thanks for being such an involved reader. I hope you’ll keep those comments coming.

6 Mark Sherrick April 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for the reccomendation…I’ve actually been meaning to check that book out, I definitely will now.

As a comparison…something that was done with traditional advertising that has performed similar to today’s viral marketing:

Got Milk?

What viral marketing campaign can say it has been as successful as Got Milk? I doubt there’s many.

7 Morriss Partee April 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm

There have been debates about the effectiveness of the Got Milk campaign. Yes, we all are familiar with the campaign, but I can’t find statistics showing whether total sales of milk have gone up or down since the campaign started.

8 ron April 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I suggest you read David’s books, Mark. They are full of great examples of successful campaigns using tools that are seriously within reach of most individuals and certainly within the reach of a marketing department with a budget for such things.

Slogan writing is an art and there are some that work, but most ad campaigns today in my view consist of taking a pop song and slapping it onto the ad. The ones that are the most clever and memorable in my view are marketing and ad people who use their own creativity whether slogan or jingle writing. I think Free Credit’s jingle, for example, is far more effective than the latest pop song.

9 Mark Sherrick April 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm

agreed on the free credit ads. those are awesome. I also love the Real Men Of Genius radio ads, and those starbucks commercials with the rock band following around a person and chanting his name and singing behind him.

There is a fine line between good any annoying as shit, too…ala Filet o Fish…or many of the Burger King ads, etc.

10 Morriss Partee April 17, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Here’s to you Mr. Wedding Band Guitar Player! You may not have ever had groupies, but you have bagged the occasional bridesmaid.

11 Ron Shevlin April 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm

@Ron: You wrote: “I donโ€™t disagree that there is still room for older techniques”, and I interpreted that as referring to the earlier comment about “junk mail, spam, telephone solicitors, commercials”. (sorry in advance if I’m wrong here, but….)

I think we (in the marketing community) need to make a clearer distinction between “tools” and “techniques”. The mail box outside your house is nothing but a “channel” — a way to reach your audience, as is email, TV, radio, Web sites, social networks, and billboards. There is no inherent “good” or “bad” in a channel. Some channels are more effective at reaching some consumers than others, and some messages are more appropriate for some channels than others.

But to simply assume that any message that comes in thru some channel that one doesn’t like (whether it be TV, direct mail, phone, etc.) is a message that hits the recipient “over the head” is wrong.

Just because marketers have misused (and abused) certain channels in the past doesn’t make the old channel wrong and some new channel right.

What needs to change in the world of marketing is not a shift from old channels to new channels (tools) but a shift in philosophy (technique) from “trying to persuade” to “trying to engage.” What makes the “new” channels exciting is that: 1) they’re more appropriate channels for an “engagement” message than other channels, and 2) they dramatically reduce the cost of communicating with customers so that every message doesn’t have to be a “persuasion” message.

This doesn’t mean old channels die. It’s up to marketers to figure out which messages are most appropriate for those channels. (And last point: Twitter is NOT the right channel for all messages ๐Ÿ™‚ )

12 ron April 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm

You absolutely misinterpreted. *I* wrote the comment about junk mail, spam, etc. and I was responding to Mark’s comment about more traditional marketing methods around advertising. Just wanted to make sure you understood that. ๐Ÿ™‚

13 Lola Jarvis April 20, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hi, there.

Love this article and plan to use it with my high school students. But before I do, I will correct the usage error: I believe you mean “tenets”, not “tenants”. The former are core beliefs or principles, the latter are people who pay rent to a landlord in exchange for living or work space.

14 Morriss Partee April 20, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Hi Lola, good catch. I completely missed that. I’ve asked Ron to make the correction.

15 ron April 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm

All fixed. Thanks for the heads up!

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