Required Reading: You Just Got Punk'd!
Move over, Ashton Kutcher: There are some new punks in town. In Punk Marketing,
authors Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons take an irreverent look at the massive change in the relationship between sellers and buyers. They demonstrate that to survive in business you need a revolutionary approach, because the traditional divisions between commerce, content, and consumers are blurring ever more rapidly. CRM
's Colin Beasty spoke with Laermer.
You say the relationship between consumers and brands has gone through a seismic shift over the past few years. What changes have taken place?
We noticed a trend since the restart of the economy in 2002; nearly every marketer we talked to said the same thing: "I can't imagine what I'm doing is really working. We're doing what we're doing because we were told to do it." From those discussions I realized that since cell phones, the Internet, social networking, blogs, etc., have gone into mainstream use, consumers are controlling every single aspect of how they're sold to, and marketers don't understand how to cope with that. Today, a company would be silly to tell a consumer that they're the cheapest or the coolest. The consumer already knows that. Marketers need to learn how to operate in an environment where they don't have control.
What problems are marketers facing in terms of dealing with these new consumer technologies, like blogging and the Internet, and what advice could you offer?
Advertisers have to realize that just because an innovative kind of advertisement or marketing campaign on the Internet works for one company, that doesn't mean it's going to work for you. These days, thanks to an equivalent consumer playing field, advertisers are free to try anything with these new technologies because it's pioneering. In an age of digital recorders, branded entertainment, cell-phone TV, and online games, a coherent approach to marketing has never been more vital, and that approach can't be about the product or the price, it has to bash people over the head in a way where they say, "I didn't know that about your company."
What will readers find most interesting about your book?
The one thing that gets the most attention is the message in this book about participation between companies and consumers. Marketing is a two-way highway, not a one-way road. The second thing, and the most controversial part of the book, is the chapter called The Captive Consumer, which talks about how most companies today don't care about their current customers; they spend all their time trying to acquire new ones. That's a huge mistake on the part of corporate America.
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