I was reading a blog the other day – I’ve forgotten which one now, sorry, if I find it again, I’ll post it here. The guy happened to mention that marketing was a war. Someone commented back in a pissy fashion (i.e. flame) that marketing is not a war, competition is. Everyone had lots of fun spitting out their fave stories about marketing and online communities and viral peer2peer stuff.

I remembered that debate when I saw this ad (corrected link) from Seek. I have a job bot that informs me of whenever a job in online communities comes up in Australia – always interesting to suss out who is planning on doing what and when. Anyway have a look at this description:

As their Multimedia Marketing Manager, you will be responsible for devising and implementing the integrated B2C marketing strategy for their latest, most exciting and cutting-edge product portfolio. While you will need to be completely conversant with traditional methodologies including above and below the line advertising, trade marketing, sponsorships, events and corporate partnering, it will be your technically innovative prowess that will win you this coveted position.

Previous experience in e-marketing initiatives, infiltrating online communities with viral communications, deploying guerilla tactics, product seeding and cult/celebrity endorsements would be more than advantageous.

My italics. Do you see what I see? Traditional marketing is all about partnering – guerilla tactics are not (usually) well regarded in the real world. But online? Pfft. Anything goes. This is not the sort of position that anyone with a real understanding of marketing into online communities would be interested in. Why? Because we are all bleeding hearts who believe in ethical use of virtual worlds? That community means, well, community not fodder for the war/marketing machine? Yes. But also because it makes good business sense to be respectful.

Mass media is no longer one to many where the one is the marketing guru and the many are the trapped and silent victims. We media means that if you try a guerilla campaign on an online community, they WILL fight back. Fast. Viciously. And it will make the BBC, the New York Times and ABC News in a heartbeat. Bad move. So how about I rewrite that job ad?

Previous experience in e-marketing initiatives, the ability to work respectfully with online communities to co-create content and product seeding, establishment of peer2peer product reviews, and identifying and elevating hyper users and other commited fans would be more than advantageous. The successful applicant will preferably be able to demonstrate a commitment to at least one online community that they are a member of, and passionate about. Except porn, cos we already got plenty of them here at the company.

Well, something like that anyway. No disrespect to Robert Walter’s recruitment consultant, Matt Lowe. After all, that ad is just one of thousands like it worldwide. And probably it was a HR person at the “Global Iconic Brand “that told them to write this. But it will change. Soon.

What do you think? Am I wrong? You create war with an online community and use subterfuge and guerilla tactics to force your product on them, and they will create war back. And there’s a helluva lot more of them than you, and they have exactly the same access to tools you have (ability to create ads, campaigns, websites). In fact more tools, because your consumer can create swarms/tribes easier than you. I’ve put enough examples up lately – the mentos/coke saga is one that is still so prevalent its turned into a meme. Just remember: The dialogue is the content. Only, make sure it’s a dialogue you want to have.

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