Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Relax Marketers: Ad Age Maintains
Bottom-Up Pub Isn't Really So New

With old methods of influencing media (like the dreaded press release) beginning to break down as meaningful ways of pushing one's agenda, a lot of traditional marketing folks in advertising and P.R. are freaking out over how to engage a new set of influencers in new media. That was much of the subtext, in fact, at a panel discussion I took part in a few weeks ago (which happened to fall precisely on the fourth anniversary of this blog).

But this well-conceived article in the ad-industry bible Advertising Age counsels readers to relax. "Social media are expanding the universe of people that marketers need to influence, but the rules of engagement aren't much different than they were before. There's nothing new about bottom-up publicity. Toyota achieved its reputation for quality three decades ago not because it said its cars were good but because thousands of customers told Consumer Reports its cars were good. The only difference today is that we don't need mediators or researchers. People can speak for themselves, and the conversations that result are richer and more diverse than anything you can find in a survey." I couldn't have said it better myself.

And congratulations are in order for Ad Age, by the way. Several months ago, it took the plunge and decided to make much of its fine journalism, which had previously been available only to subscribers, available for free to all comers on the web. That immediately broadened its reach and influence, even beyond its own industry. Here's hoping the move pays off for it financially.


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