Defining the bottom in a bottom‐up world

The online ad agency Carat Interactive is launching a new practice today for, as MediaDailyNews reports, “clients interested in employing blogs as a marketing tool.” The “starter kit” instructs clients on how to monitor blogs “within their purview, advertise on appropriate blogs, and actually blog themselves.”

There’s a fine line between understanding and joining the citizens media movement and trying to manipulate it for sales. This is a bottom‐up world, and marketers have a tough time getting their minds around such a concept. They need big masses of consumers that can be lassoed and brought to the ground with formulas. It doesn’t work like that here, because the bottom‐dwellers are actually on top.

When people such as myself define the Web as a bottom‐up marketplace, it means that everyday people are in control and that the push marketing world is giving away to pull marketing. In this environment, you “employ blogs as a marketing tool” very carefully.

Sometimes I think Madison Avenue looks at all of this and says, “Yeah, but we can still manipulate them.” Bottom‐up means precisely that. One may join; one may feed; one may advertise therein; but one may not manipulate.

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