Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Cars: An instant classic ~ A marketing segue

Whoa! I just got back from watching “Cars” another one of those ‘instant classic’ Pixar animated movies and Boy, what a ride it was! This is a movie about values (love, trust), friendship, and family — kinda like every other Disney/Pixar movie. In terms of technical prowess, it’s right up there – alongside the Incredibles, Monsters, Inc. and other Pixar treasures. Disney sure was in its right mind, when they recently acquired Pixar and with John Lasseter/Steve Jobs at the helm (?), I bet they are bound to go places.

Back to marketing: “Cars” led me thinking in different directions, but the heart of the movie was about (a) community and (b) relationships. This is probably a great segueway into an emerging yet important field of marketing – “Community Marketing”.

(i) What is Community Marketing?: Wikipedia defines community marketing as

a strategy to engage an audience in an active, non-intrusive – prospect and customer conversation.

This community strategy harmonizes the three entities of corporations, prospects, and customers and connects one with the other. This could be achieved in two possible ways: either organically or sponsored. Either way, what’s important is letting the interested entities (customers and prospects) participate freely without outside interference from the larger corporate entity.

I also view “Community marketing” as a critical component of “customer evangelism” which I outlined in my earlier post. Community marketing is an extension of that principle in that it epitomizes “the art of letting your customers proclaim the goodness of your product to one another as well as to prospects”. In essence, community marketing is about the creation of customer evangelists by the community, for the community and of the community.

(ii) Corporate Community Marketing: Taking the above-definition one step further for corporations, we can define it as a strategy to engage your target audience through a non-intrusive conversation that juxataposes your prospect and customer — and then let the truth begin. Corporations can engender such a conversation through a combination of forums, wikis, blogs, social networking tools, etc… I’ll talk more on how corporations can achieve this in my future posts.

While most corporations (until now) have taken the rap for talking in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement” there are a few companies that have taken the first step of engaging with the “common people” – their target audience. Examples include Microsoft’s Channel 9, Sun Microsystem’s Java Network, Oracle’s Technology Network, and the Mozilla Foundation.

(iii) The Clue train Manifesto: Thomas Petzinger Jr., a columnist for the Wall Street Journal says – “I’ve seen the future of business, and it’s The Cluetrain Manifesto“. The Manifesto is based on the fact that:

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.

The Cluetrain explains in-depth on how to adapt to this changing reality. It is a Cliff’s notes version of how to do community marketing, well its about how to do marketing itself in this day and age where the internet has provided consumers with an unheralded level of “communicability” with one another. It’s a compendium of theses (97 in total) that can be broken down into 8 groups (per Wikipedia).

I know Tara Hunt (ex-Riya employee) often talks about the Manifesto, and even calls it one of her top inspirations. Well, I can say with certainty, today I’ve seen the future of marketing and its foundation will be built on the community and its Bible will be the Cluetrain Manifesto.

All ye Marketers out there, Read and Learn for Free (entire manifesto).

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One Response

  1. Interesting –I think I was the first to add the term Community Marketing to wikpedia

    http://jeremiahthewebprophet.blogspot.com/2005/09/community-marketing.html

    Although it's always existed —

    http://jeremiahthewebprophet.blogspot.com/2006/05/defining-community-marketing.html

    I encourage you to add onto the wikipedia entry

    ————————-

    Thanks, Jeremiah, for letting me know.

    I'd be making a few additions to Wikipedia shortly.

    -Mario 

    Like

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