Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Being Relevant in Marketing in the 21st Century with an 18th Century Spin

With a recent discussion on the negativity of snide advertising online, I thought about the relation between marketing and the theater. How is marketing similar to the theater today? Is marketing dialogue similar to the theater? As in the theater, there are a many people involved in the creation and response of marketing.

In the theater there are performers, make-up artists, writers, lighting technicians, audience members, etc. In marketing there are designers, technology professionals, researchers, advertising specialists, customers, etc. Customers participate in the dialoge for marketing strategies, but do not create marketing. Audience members in the theater used to participate in performance, creating a sort of improvisational performance dialogue, but no longer do.

There is the actual creative process of marketing (of creating an ad, for example) that customer has no awareness of, but the marketing team does. The initial process, in fact, involves the customer. The dialogue is created response to the marketing. The good marketing team, then, is both internal and external viewing and acting upon the consciousness of the customer wholly. The general public is indeed savvy and aware (rejecting or accepting a product) and their response is key to the success of marketing. But they are probably not aware of the ins and outs of the process.

I love movies and the process of movie making. So, when I go into the theater all aspects of the movie intrigue me. I am aware of the lighting, script, music, sound affects, and skill of the actor or lack thereof; I am aware of the process that involves the whole. Many moviegoers undoubtedly have similar experiences. But I would venture to suspect that most go into the theater and let the movie wash over them, simply emoting or experiencing the film in the moment.

A good marketing team sees the movie beforehand, experiences it in the now, and makes adjustments based upon the responses of the customer in data collected. I see the marketing team as the moviegoer who is very much aware of all aspects of the movie as both the creator and spectator, as apposed to the general public who simply go to the theater for the experience alone. The marketing team then becomes both internal and external in the marketing process.

Perhaps the analogy of a live 18th century performance would be better than the movies in describing dialogue which is by nature interactive. Spectators in 18th century theater actually had immediate input in the very performance; performers had to improvise on the spot in order to hold the audience’s attention and avoid rancid fruit and vegetables being hurled at them.

With technology, there may even become a time, if not already, that this immediate interactive approach to marketing will be a norm—though perhaps not as brutal. Imagine as a performer bracing for such immediate response of displeasure? Would this affect the performance for the better or worst? To silence an audience with pleasing music performers would improvise, even composing completely new pieces on the spot. This was a successful night at the theater in the 18th Century.

Could a sense of this kind of immediacy be relevant to current marketing? Innovation, quickness and foresight are needed in the creation and re-creation of marketing strategies that are based on the response of many. Sales persons, customers and technical support teams will all have a response in the dialogue. But somebody has to synthesize all of the responses. Is this not the marketing team? Monologues and internal brand-exploration is simply the initial ideas of individuals of the marketing team prior to synthesis. It is not good to try to synthesize before understanding the differences and similarities of thoughts and ideas; this is what dialogue addresses.

Dialogue addresses the difference and similarities to bring about consensus of marketing. Engaging the audience, allowing for dialogue and interaction, is inclusive. This is altogether lovely. The best marketing and branding is inclusive, not necessarily all encompassing but allowing for dialogue.

Does dialogue in marketing and branding include words alone? The best dialogue is probably that which is created by the team, influenced by customers, and responded in kind through sales. This may be the best kind of dialogue in marketing and branding.Dialogue is the relationship between you and your customers. What kind of dialogue are you having with your customers? Is it relevant? Does it result in innovative useful services and products? How are the sales?


Ina Matijevic said...

Judith ,
I see that my answer to You is not published on Tom Peter's blog so I send You this information on Health Care in India.

I live in Croatia. This all informations I collect in books, internet and from RadioSai newsletter.

I hope that this will be great resource of informations for You.

You are beautiful woman!

Regards from Croatia, Ina

judith ellis said...

Ina...thank you for the resource information. It is appreciated.

Thank you also for the compliment.

I thought you hailed from India. We are so global, aren't we?

judith ellis said...

Ina...I see that your comment on the TP Blog finally posted. As they are so on things and do not appear to be in the least terribly proprietory, I knew that it was not by design.

Once my comment had to be deleted because someone had posted in Cantonese and I had called for a translation on the Blog.

Because the language of the comment couldn't be verified, it was suspected to be spam and was deleted. Cathy Mosca emailed me directly to tell me that my comment was deleted because I had commented on the Cantonese comment. This was considerate.

So, regarding your comment, I waited patiently, actually waiting for it to post. It has. Thank you.

Erik said...

ina, more than two links in a post at the blog alerts the spam filter (since spam is almost always composed of a great number of links) and then we have to manually okay the post, so that's why there's sometimes a delay.

Ina Matijevic said...

Judith, God moves on mysterious ways:-).
This post of Yours on Branding is just what i'm doing for the last four months. I would realy appreciate ones it will be on the market to have Your observation.
I will become Your regular reader.
I like You.

Thanks for information, and Eric also:-)

Bye, bye, Ina

Ina Matijevic said...

Oh , excuse me, Erik :-)

judith ellis said...

Ina...I am pleased that I have said something useful for you. If I can assist you, it would be my pleasure. Just let me know.

God does move in mysterious ways. But it is all about how we hear His voice in the smallest of whispers, in the delicacy of flowers, in the roughest of times, in seemingly insignificant things, in the anger of hyberbole, in the greatest of winds, in the stillness of thought. God is forever moving. But are we listening?

All the best. And...Ina...I like you too :-)