Rants, Social

Conversational Snake Oil?

There’s been some discussion about marketing and ‘the Conversation’ lately – or more perhaps more accurately an ‘ Anti-Conversation’ meme in the making.

Brian Oberkirch recently blogged about it too, which inspired me to share my take.


Personally, I think Bill Hicks nailed it with regards to marketing in general. ;)

On another note, markets are conversations. That genie is out of the bottle.

Marketing depts, product depts, and hired marketing agency guns must clue up and take a good honest look at their position – then enter the Conversation in an honest, professional, and constructive way – if it makes sense. Not to be confused with marketing like a chat bot for serving customers, that’s a marketing tool that uses conversation, not conversational marketing.
No doubt that there are a lot of companies that will not benefit significantly from – heck, should not even consider – ‘conversational marketing’, if there ever was such a thing. I guess I just can’t think of many right now, but I’m sure there are others than say personnel mines and cluster bomb manufacturers that should perhaps hold back on the conversation sauce.

The bottom line seems to me that it has taken nine years for the Cluetrain Manifesto to grow into mainstream marketing. That may be considered a lifetime in Internet years, but then again, marketing as we know it was never particularly quick to adapt.

To me it’s like this with every new concept, disruptive change or meme? It’s just the hype cycle gone full circle. At the end of it, you’ll have clueless snake oil peddlers on every street corner desperately trying to cash in on a saturated market. In the end we just can’t stand it anymore. Tired and wary from the multichannel onslaught of buzzword abuse, we welcome any change – perhaps sometimes too rash and noncritical – creating a situation ripe for fleeting counter trends and anti-movements. Alas, the circle starts anew.

On another further note, could this emerging anti-conversation ‘movement’ be a conscious self-serving marketing ploy snowballing from a handful of self appointed social media marketing prophets trying to (re)position them from the quacks and to the gushing edge of Intarweb marketing?

You tell me.