Friday, September 16, 2005

Contextual Marketing:
Rebuilding the New Orleans Levees

Katrina delivered what all feared. She smashed big holes in a levee system that was not capable from the beginning. She sank a city that sat below sea level and water flows downhill. We all know the result.

What we don’t yet know is the future.

What we do know is that if they rebuild New Orleans on such an unstable platform, we must only wait until the next Category 5 before more lives are lost.

The same can be said for marketing.
Marketing was built on a model that worked in the past. One that was built on mass advertising and mass marketing. One that has been blown aside by over supply of just about everything except enough customers. One that must come to grips with the reality that customers are in charge.

Marketing is taking a bit of a right direction with Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) processes and technologies. But CRM has also stalled under software applications that were so complex that even Ford could not get them installed. Marketing further balked when CRM applications forced companies to adopt the vendor’s built-in “best practices” instead of their own proprietary processes that create differentiation and competitive advantage.

A further reason that I believe CRM is under-performing … that marketers are still delivering content to customers that remains corporate-centric. We have not yet learned how to create the new kind of content that customers want, especially for those in early buying cycles for complex products.

If we attempt to rebuild the New Marketing with out-of-date content strategies, our levees will burst open upon us.

We must find firm ground upon which to rebuild marketing. Our minds must come to a new point of view, a new vision. Content must serve the needs of customers. Content must build trust. Content must build on the value we deliver to customers.

This blog has in its archives many examples of how to develop contextually relevant content. And I will continue posting more illustrations in the future.

But for now, what I want to encourage you to do is to STOP building on shifting sand. Find the bedrock. Change your vision. Get grounded on the new values of serving customers.


At 11:54 PM, Anonymous justin said...

I agree completely, i think one of the biggest problems facing Marketing today is the overall distrust that people have towards companies. I think it is up to us to change the views that companies care more about their customers' wallets, than the customer. To create a true attitude of service would set any company apart in today's highly competitive world. And isn't that what they want?


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