Doc Searls has an ongoing thread about marketing and conversations. Of course he does -- he's the Cluetrain guy.
There's a very good exchange here between Doc and Joe Andrieu that is worth reading in its entirety, including the further exchange in the comments section. A couple of relevant points:
- [But] when you do have a market, it pays to try to understand the market as a medium for trends so that you can better predict the future and have more useful and productive conversations with people in that market.
- And without understanding the market as an aggregate, you cannot create a viable brand, because doing so creates either something solipsistically suited perfectly to your own internal delusions or designed for just one customer.
- What I think we all really want are markets without stupid marketers and bad marketing. Now that’s a noble goal, but I don’t expect we’ll see it any time soon. Luckily, we are seeing increasing velocity in the marketplace, and that at least, should help weed out the marketers who can’t keep up.
- [The second] is to deal with the fact that markets are no longer under the command and control of marketing. Even the brilliant Steve Jobs, for all his and Apple’s success with Macs, iPods and Apple Stores, can’t keep customers inside the company’s walled garden, or control the flow of information about what’s right and wrong about the company’s products. Apple is getting a hard lesson right now on that very subject, with the MacBook shutdown problem.
- Branding and marketing must change its role from a drum major to a jazz band leader. Micromanaging every touchpoint in the marketplace is both Orwellian and Sisyphean, opressive and impossible. Stop doing it.