Open Source Marketing

Conventional marketing is under a lot of pressure these days and many of the techniques that worked in the past aren't working any more.

People are becoming smarter, better informed and better connected. It's increasingly hard to pull the wool over people's eyes. This affects every profession in the UK. For example, many patients are now better informed than their doctors about their particular illness, thanks to the internet. This applies really strongly to marketing, where consumers are able to bite back against misleading or fanciful advertising.

On top of this, the media are becoming fragmented. There was a time when to get publicity for a product, you just needed to run a series of 30 second TV ads on one or two channels. Not any more. There is a proliferation of channels and more and more people are simply skipping the ads. The growth of blogs (personal websites) and podcasts (downloadable radio programs made by individuals) are signs that individuals can create their own media now, rather than listen to the voice of authority.

A change of mindset

I believe that marketeers need to change their mindset from one of command-and-control to one of greater openness. My friend James Cherkoff argues this clearly in his Manifesto: What is Open Source Marketing?

James and I have created a progam of workshops, called Open Sauce Live, to demonstrate to brands and agencies how the world of marketing needs to change. It needs to put less faith in controlling the message and be more willing to encourage openness and participation. This is only partly about understanding new technologies; it's more about a different way of thinking about customers and how to engage with them.

James and I have recently written Co-Creation Rules, available to download here, or read online here (as a wiki).

Find out more

Check out the Open Sauce website for more information. You can also read more of my thoughts about the world of marketing and branding in this section of my weblog.

You can also listen to this podcast interview (mp3 file) James and I did with Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz. It focusses mainly on how companies are allowing customers to co-create advertising, which is one aspect of Open Source marketing.