Survival means getting out of the pot

Paul DeBraccio and Jason Heller do a nice job of delineating the mass marketing pros and cons of blog advertising in a “click/counterclick” commentary in Online Media Daily. They both seem to miss the point, however, that one cannot apply Web 1.0 concepts in a Web 2.0 environment. Following the scent of what smells like food, mass marketing is headed for the tar pits, and anything that tries to suggest there really IS food over the hill is really just speeding its demise.

DeBraccio makes the valid point that advertisers (read: businesses) simply won’t pay for media that undercuts their profit motives.

If advertisers allocate x percent of their budgets to blogs as a branding vehicle, and they sponsor an auto blog, and their cars are trashed for having a bad fuel injector or they are the subject of a recall, they will not want to pay for the right to be denigrated. Ask the numerous magazine publishers and TV networks how much business they have lost due to “incompatible” or “negative” edit.
But, Paul, we’re not in a mass marketing world anymore, and it’s the bullshit of adjusting editorial content to suit advertisers that has a big target on its back these days.

Heller argues that marketers must learn to deal with people instead of media, and I agree with that.

As media consumption continues to fragment, evolving digital sub-channels are becoming more personal and meeting consumer demand for relevance and control. The allure of including marketing messages within “consumer-generated media” can be crippled if we focus more on the media than the “consumer.”

Will “blogvertising” be the next spending bubble? No way. However, marketing opportunities with blogs can take many shapes and forms and pose a great opportunity for all those who are willing to market to the consumer and not to the media.

Whether it’s talking to media or talking to people, however, the marketers of the world are struggling with trying to pour the old wine of mass marketing into the new wineskins of the democratization of media. It’s impossible, because what’s really happening is much bigger than buying and selling. People are taking back the power that has been taken from them by our top-down, institutional culture.

Like the proverbial frog in the hot water, the temperature of this revolution is going up very slowly, and survival means getting out of the pot. This won’t happen, I predict, because there’s more than just money at stake.

It isn’t just marketing that’s being turned on its head. It’s the whole idea of profit by blue smoke and mirrors. People are increasingly turned off by the world of the one-way message and are a whole lot more hip to it than anybody realizes.

A part of any purchase for people includes knowledge of the potential downsides up front, and since business, industry and even government won’t give it to them, they’re turning to each other. Using DeBraccio’s analogy, maybe the auto manufacturer needs to be trashed for a bad fuel injector. Does its money give it the right to sell a defective product? In a mass marketing world, unfortunately the answer is yes. But that’s EXACTLY what this revolution is all about. It’s a very old battle: the haves versus the have-nots. It’s going to get bloody, because the status quo cannot and will not sit by and let it happen.

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