Monday, April 03, 2006

Chevy Embraces Creatives: watch out for those sharp teeth!

Tara has a great article on Chevy's 'create a commercial contest' for the Tahoe brand of ubersized SUV's that serve little purpose other than to take over the role that Jaguar once did for those with fears of inadequate equipment. The story is a must read for everyone, as is watching the actual user created commercials which are over on news.com

On top of it all, her post contains all the right elements of an exceptional blog post that people can look to as a case study.

1. It is informative - she told me something I did not see elsewhere
2. It is entertaining - she was clever with her delivery and the story itself is actually quite amusing
3. It is engaging - I wanted to share it with you and talk about it
4. It is educational - her advice for Chevy to embrace the vitriol rather than hide from it is spot on

In response to her earlier call for suggestions to rename "Pinko Marketing", I wish it could just be called "marketing", but that term has been tainted like a used car salesman in a loud suit. In a very real sense, she is really talking about "Cluetrain 2.0" through the lens of the Web 2.0 era. I don't honestly know what is wrong with simply referencing the original Cluetrain Manifesto, other than marketing the 'New' "New". Don't get me wrong, I respect Tara immensely for what she has done and she fully embodies the core principles of the Cluetrain in her blog and her work, but I am in the camp with those who don't think Pinko Marketing is the right phraseology for helping more people to "get it".

It feels a lot to me like the original statements Chris made about "Open Source World Domination" before he changed it to the more powerful "Liberation". I just don't see anything remotely "Pinko" about it, it feels more like "Real", "True", "Authentic", "Genuine" or "Honest" might be most appropriate. Steve Wrubel calls it "Open Source Marketing", which may be accurate, but is not simple or fun enough to catch on - or perhaps it is, we will have to wait and see.

This reminds me of what I have often told people about the 'marketing' of BrainJams - "If you mean to say that I am trying to reach those people who will get the most benefit from what we are doing, than yes, we are marketing. If you mean to say we are trying to sell our ideas to more people to just get better numbers, than no, we are not marketing." Unfortunately, for too many people, marketing has come to mean the latter, rather than the former. As I have been telling people through my work on "The Communications Strategy", the goal is not to get sales for the sake of sales (though this is what is still taught at most business schools). The real goal is to find customer's who can obtain the right value from what you are offering and deliver that value while creating a reasonable profit to sustain and grow the organization. The job of marketing is to identify the unique needs of those specific customers and be of service to those needs.

The bottom line is to understand that people are talking about what they are talking about and your company can't control the conversation any longer and you can't ignore what is being said when it is not favorable. Companies need to, as Pat Riley said in his book, "embrace the ugliness" and just deal with it head on. Either you take your stand in righteousness when others are misinforming the conversation, or admit you have a real problem and deal with it as Tara suggests.

With regards to Chevy, it will be interesting to see what there response is to this, and if any of the vaulted General Motors' Bloggers will respond. As of this moment, they are sticking with the contest.

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4 Comments:

At Monday, April 03, 2006 11:27:00 PM, Blogger miss rogue said...

Thanks Chris...

Ah...semantics can trip us up, can't they? I dunno. The whole Pinko thing has caught on nicely. I may just ride it a bit.

It's uncomfortable. I know. But maybe that's why people feel so strongly about it (and many feel strongly FOR it, consequently).

Heh. Chris and I went to see 'Good Night, and Good Luck' last night. First time I've ever heard the word Pinko used in a movie. In the context, I was proud to have the association.

...but it's supposed to be more tongue in cheek than anything. Like Gonzo. Like the words of Cluetrain (and PM goes beyond conversation into relationships...what Doc is talking about now, too).

Thanks again.

 
At Tuesday, April 04, 2006 4:35:00 PM, Blogger Chris Heuer said...

I know all too well about the issue of not so perfect names... But as you said, you sometimes just gotta take ownership and run with it.

The book I was working on (but barely ever started) was called “The Communications Strategy” (aka TCS) - the use of the word THE in front of a traditional, common language usage implies some more authority, but of course you are referencing a system in which authority and control are out the window. Still, TCS is focused on empowering the customer (and all stakeholders actually) with the knowledge they need to get the most satisfaction from the product/service. The model at the core of all this was the customer experience lifecycle (kind of long tailish) http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisheuer/106229705/ which I will be writing about more later in the week.

I think I figured out the better name. What if instead of Pinko Marketing or Relationship Marketing, we went back to the pure roots of what Marketing was before it was tainted by the smarmy sleazeballs out there (who were really more sales people anyway).

What if we were to look at marketing more as the dance between the customer and thr organization - it is not unidirectional in either direction, it was always about the company communicating its value in ways that allowed the customer to discover it. That brings a more complex answer though, but I think we are returning to our roots with a fresh attitude in a new era

The more I thought about it, the more II think we should just call it “Real Marketing” - because it is about real people, it is really the pure form of marketing and it is about companies being real.

 
At Tuesday, April 04, 2006 4:36:00 PM, Blogger Chris Heuer said...

I know all too well about the issue of not so perfect names... But as you said, you sometimes just gotta take ownership and run with it.

The book I was working on (but barely ever started) was called “The Communications Strategy” (aka TCS) - the use of the word THE in front of a traditional, common language usage implies some more authority, but of course you are referencing a system in which authority and control are out the window. Still, TCS is focused on empowering the customer (and all stakeholders actually) with the knowledge they need to get the most satisfaction from the product/service. The model at the core of all this was the customer experience lifecycle (kind of long tailish) http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisheuer/106229705/ which I will be writing about more later in the week.

I think I figured out the better name. What if instead of Pinko Marketing or Relationship Marketing, we went back to the pure roots of what Marketing was before it was tainted by the smarmy sleazeballs out there (who were really more sales people anyway).

What if we were to look at marketing more as the dance between the customer and thr organization - it is not unidirectional in either direction, it was always about the company communicating its value in ways that allowed the customer to discover it. That brings a more complex answer though, but I think we are returning to our roots with a fresh attitude in a new era

The more I thought about it, the more II think we should just call it “Real Marketing” - because it is about real people, it is really the pure form of marketing and it is about companies being real.

 
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