Do markets run from marketing?

Markets are named after the places people used to gather to trade stuff. Because of our uniquely human need for interaction, these trading stops became places for people to talk, shoot the breeze and do anything other than actually trade.

They became, in Cluetrain terms, conversations.

Some people were better conversationalists than others and attracted bigger crowds to their stalls. They were remarkable.

But some people were so remarkable, they could shift their remarkableness to others and, for a price, help them become better conversationalists. These guys were the first marketers.

But the conversations these marketing pioneers were having with their clients’ customers weren’t genuine. They lacked something and although no one knew what it was, the customers began to abandon these fake conversations in favour of real conversations. Back to square one for anyone who wasn’t remarkable.

This pattern seems to have followed throughout most of the technological and communications advances of the last 100 years.

Junk mail drove people to radio. Radio advertising drove people to TV. TV advertising drove people online. Telephone spam drove people to wireless. Web 1.0 advertising drove people to Web 2.0 services.

Aggressive marketing on message boards and web 1.0 properties drove people to blogs. The list can and will go on.

My question is: if people are so determined to escape being marketed to, to the point of creating new technologies, what does that mean for the marketing community?

**UPDATE – Credit where credit’s due, this post was inspired by a post by the “Bourbon Hipster”, a marketing sceptic who actually works in marketing and blogs on anti-marketing here.**


3 Responses to Do markets run from marketing?

  1. Kevin Davis says:

    To me, the scenario appears to be more that when marketing breaches the brightline of becoming advertising, the marketing efforts and communication medium becomes deligitimzes and loses popularity and effectiveness quickly.

    This reminds me of a YouTube Video I saw last night @ where advertising is equated to graffiti… and I think the point is made clearly in this creative short film.

    Advertising can be cool, it can be effective… but at the point of saturation, people avoid it and backlash can occur. Just as there was backlash when free internet providers became packaged with ads or as of more recent, when people discover advertisements on their cellphones. People will pay to avoid advertising (HBO, XM Radio, etc.) or they will move to the next available thing which is low on or void of advertising.

    I think the points to be taken away from this observation are

    “How can markets be kept below the point of saturation to avoid communal aversion?”


    “What methodology of advertising and marketing furthers aversion and what methodologies further evolve the foundational conversation of the ‘marketplace’?”

    It deligitimizes the marketing or the communication medium.

  2. […] had to explain myself. Since Ed Lee took the time to comment on my defenseand link back to his own take on marketing, I thought I’d comment there. But it started getting long, so here it […]

  3. […] Note: It came to our attention that the Bourbon Hipster has offended a certain number of bloggers this week. We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that as per our […]

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