my turn


The Future Belongs To Chatter Marketing

At any given time there are millions of conversations taking place on the Internet. This is known as chatter.

For years, marketers have been told that interruptive marketing is a bad thing -- evil, the end of the world, the eventual downfall of the Internet. Marketers have been told that people simply don't want to be interrupted and they will hate you if you interrupt them, put a hex on your company, leave and never come back.

It's not about interruptions. It's about interruptees and how engaging they are, how relevant, how well they listen, and how thoughtful they are when it comes to contributing to the conversation.

And it's about conversations. Marketers need not be the advertising banner on the wall where the party is taking place, when they can be the host or an attendee, circulating, listening to conversations, and participating with thoughtful, relevant content in an engaging manner. And making it work for them.

Public places, whether online or offline, are public places. There is simply no privacy. Your behavior is watched, tracked, and recorded for all time. And it is available to marketers who want to take some of your money. Sounds terrible, right?



But it could be wonderful. It puts marketers in a position to meet your real-time needs, to offer you the cyber-opportunity to learn everything you would ever want to know -- for example, about running shoes -- at the exact time you are looking to make a running shoe purchase.

Chatter marketing is about listening to the chatter and using it ... to meet marketing goals, yes, but also to enhance consumers' experiences. And that leaves everyone happy.

Opt-in rules the day

Consumers today build support networks for everything they do on the Internet. They surround themselves with trusted friends, business associates to network with, and preferred businesses they use to meet their needs.

To be invited to a part of one or more of these support groups is an honor -- but it is also a responsibility. The responsibility is to put your utmost effort into meeting the needs and exceeding the expectations of the person who invited you to be part of one of his or her support groups.

You can ask to be invited, you can make your case for why you should be invited, but unless you are invited freely by the person setting up the groups, try as you might to be on the inside, you will always be an outsider.

Content + Timing = Relevance

Amazon knows the types of books I like, knows the authors I like, and knows other people who like the same types of books and authors I do. They put it all together and when I arrive at their Web site they have recommendations jumping out at me on the home page -- not bad marketing.

Now imagine that I go to Facebook and tell everyone in my personal network about a great book I just read-- and just suppose that three of the 10 people in my network are also Amazon customers (very conservative indeed).

What if those three people got an email offering 10% off the book that was recommended by their friend 10 minutes earlier -- great marketing.

From a marketing opportunity point of view, is there any difference among:

  1. Someone visiting the website to search on the keyword piano.
  2. Someone going to a music website and clicking on a link to pianos.
  3. Someone at Facebook posting on their wall that they need to purchase a piano for their talented child.
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