Monday, July 11, 2005

Marketing Needs a Society where Freedom Reigns

Cultural Context Has a Long Way to Go

One of the things we've been promoting a lot to the rest of the world is freedom. Surely something anyone who breathes wants, but which is denied to many people. Freedom is one of those things that makes free enterprise. A culture lacking or inhibiting freedom is not a good environment for marketing.

Consider, for example, how hard it would be to market your goods and services in Saudi Arabia, despite its advanced infrastructure and great wealth. Why? Because the government controls the media too closely. The Internet is not freely accessible. According to Line 56, a draconian scheme of Web censorship exists in Arabia.

Or in Turkey where the government is disinterested in offering DSL service and where the highest level of DSL service costs a reported $230 a month (more than most people pay for rent).

In such cultures where governments limit freedom or control the structure of business, it is still common that people have almost no genuine knowledge of what is happening in the outside world. They have no idea that access to high speed online connections should be cheap. They have no idea that product and service quality should be better. They have fewer options.

The Internet has been one of the great levelers, bringing information to the masses, no longer filtered through just a few broadcast networks. But effective marketing must break through such barriers. Once we taste the personal power that the www has given us, we don't want to give it up.

Once cultures lift the barriers to freedom, marketers of products and services (and, yes, of freedom itself) ... then it becomes the task of all of us who produce the content to make sure marketing is relevant to the recipient. It is so easy sitting here in the US to see the world as if it was just like us. We need to put on a different set of glasses and see the world through the eyes of the prospect.

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