OPINION: In spite of all myriad so-called innovations in marketing, such as the use of the word “hacking” these days, mass media can take a leaf out of the current marketing thinking of getting back to basics, says Chris Moerdyk.
While canny marketers try to obfuscate their way into extracting more money from their clients by bandying about terminology such as “native advertising” and “growth hacking”, more pragmatic marketers are reminding those that influence of the basic tenets of human interaction and selling stuff by pointing out that the best way in both cases is face-to-face conversations between two people.
Word of mouth has been and always will be the most powerful marketing tool available. And everything else that is done is nothing more than a process of using something less effective when it is not possible to have those face-to-face conversations.
By the way, there is nothing wrong with either native advertising or growth hacking as marketing processes – it is just unfortunate that some marketers try to couch terminology in fancy titles in order to attract attention.
In my opinion, in this day and age of more and more non-marketing corporates being involved in marketing decisions, particularly budget approval, the words “native” and “hacking” aren’t exactly endearing to the marketing layman.
But, with marketing moving towards two-way conversations now made possible by social media in particular and technology in general, big consumer brands are moving their efforts into the stores to places where consumers actually come into contact with their brands.
At the same time the mass media needs to remember their roots and take note of the way the consumer is changing.
Newspapers, radio and television became popular and important when those who wished to convey news, information and entertainment found it was becoming extremely difficult to reach more than a handful of people at a time.
All these media thrived on mankind’s desire for information.
Now, however, mankind has another desire. And that is certainly not to just be bombarded with information right, left and centre.
The time has arrived when mankind wants to be able to talk back. To be able to ask questions about news, information and entertainment.
Which is one of the reasons why newspapers and magazines have been taking an awful pounding the past decade or so.
Letters to the editor that might or might not get published just don’t crack it anymore. Least of all those in magazines that take a month to six weeks to get published.
Having said that, something a lot of editors hate to admit is that letters to the editor remain one of the most read sections of newspapers. One has to wonder why, then, newspapers allocate relatively little space to them.
And that’s the challenge for mass media print. To be able to find ways of allowing this new generation of consumers who want a two-way conversation to have a two-way conversation.
Some papers have started publishing text messages and Twitter comments but it needs to go much further than the current tokenism.
The basics of human communication and persuasion are rooted in face-to-face conversations.
It never changed but rather became impractical.
Right now that impracticality has all but disappeared and the basics are right back where they belong. Basically.
Follow Chris Moerdyk on Twitter @chrismoerdyk
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