Here I am at the Ã¢ÂÂFuture of Onlilne AdvertisingÃ¢ÂÂ conference, and here we are, 12 or 13 years after the first banner ads were placed. WeÃ¢ÂÂre up to at least Web 2.0, according to everyone around. It is my contention that in Web 2.0, companies would discover that talking to, and with, their customers would start to happen.
And yet, the guys on the stage continue to insist on calling the people who visit their sites, buy their products and pay their bills Ã¢ÂÂCONSUMERS.Ã¢ÂÂ IÃ¢ÂÂll even call out the Yahoo guy for naming his presentation Ã¢ÂÂConsumer 2.0.Ã¢ÂÂ And IÃ¢ÂÂll keep calling him Yahoo Guy as long as he calls me consumer.
Hey, buddy, youÃ¢ÂÂre in New York, CONSUME THIS. IÃ¢ÂÂm a buyer, a customer, a user, a dad, a husband, a tech enthusiast, a major ingredient in Soylent Green, and an 18-54 white male making a $X a year. (IÃ¢ÂÂll let you know X when I figure it out, ok, but last year it was pretty ok.) You want me to buy stuff and use stuff, and you REALLY want me to recommend your stuff to others, because before anyone I know buys electronics, technology, software, cameras, uses a web site or buys a phone, they call me. IÃ¢ÂÂm an influencer.
Web 2.0, as many have noted, is about People. Then Yahoo guy had a slide saying Ã¢ÂÂFind your best consumers, listen to them, have conversations with them.Ã¢ÂÂ Cows are consumers. They eat grass and make milk, and then we consume them for beef or leather or whatever. You donÃ¢ÂÂt have conversations with consumers, unless Ã¢ÂÂmooÃ¢ÂÂ is in your vocabulary.
Yahoo did a contest for Ã¢ÂÂmake your own videoÃ¢ÂÂ for ShakiraÃ¢ÂÂs Hips DonÃ¢ÂÂt Lie. They got 10k contributions from Ã¢ÂÂconsumersÃ¢ÂÂ who consumed more copies of the video and consumed more copies of the music by purchasing (or licensing) it.
Listen, Yahoo guy, good message. Yes, let us make media, and respond to campaigns. But call us who we are, not consumers. YouÃ¢ÂÂre Ron Belanger. YouÃ¢ÂÂre not a cookie ID or a consumer. YouÃ¢ÂÂre in a position to teach people how to speak to Ã¢ÂÂConsumer 2.0.Ã¢ÂÂ Start buy calling them Customers. If you have to, call them Customer 2.0. Or Bob. Bob works.
Note, I got sensitized to the word Consumer via Jerry Michalski at http://www.sociate.com/. HeÃ¢ÂÂs be talking about this for years. One post, (scroll down the page to Ã¢ÂÂAdvertising is WarÃ¢ÂÂ from 3/10/03, tells the story well.)
In advertising, the best targets are “captive” audiences: people hemmed in by checkout lines, high-rise office building elevators (note the name of the company that puts displays in elevators) or airplane and taxi seats, who these days have to view individual video monitors that are difficult to turn off…. Notice that consumer marketing is like artillery or bombing, not hand-to-hand combat…. In mass marketing, cultural distance gives the “shooters” emotional distance from their targets.
More gems there. Go read it.
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