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October 2009

forget tech, think behavior

Jk wedding Twitter, YouTube and Facebook may not be the platforms of tomorrow.  We may move on, just as we moved past Second Life, Friendster, AOL Chatrooms, GeoCities and MySpace. 

Marketers and agencies that focus on the platform will need to reinvent as our online behavior matures and shifts.  Smart marketers, agencies and brands are not focusing on platforms or current opportunities, they are looking at the behavior driving users and consumers to, within and around these platforms.  Today's tactic has to become tomorrow's strategy.  And tomorrow's strategy cannot be about a shifting platform, it has to be about the one constant - human needs.

The technology will shift.  Human behavior will evolve.  Human needs won't.

For all the marketing lessons we have learned over the past 100 years of industrial marketing, we have learned far more about the invented industries we have created (for example, media) than the users we have been engaging.

The marketer of tomorrow will not be a technologist, but they will understand the implications of technology.  The marketer of tomorrow will act more like a savvy religious leader than a snake oil salesperson, or economist.  They will learn that human needs and behaviors do not exist in a vacuum, and that the wisdom of the crowds and recommendations of peers is a stronger driver than marketing messaging.

We have only begun to understand human behavior, let alone communal behavior.  We aren't even close to mapping individual or communal behavior models to economic models, be they sales or media.  The evangelicals of social have brought us some a number of wonderful theories, but I do not believe we have are close to market maturation. 

Social is in it's infancy.  Our forward progress will not come from technology progress alone.  We are on the cusp of gaining unparalleled insights into what makes people and communities tick.  We likely will not know what to do with some of these insights at first.  But I can tell you that the answer won't come from an algorithm alone.  It's time to start studying our numbers as the people they are.

Inspired by the video below (Kudos to Sruly B for sharing)

a new take on short-form disclosure

The industry is abuzz with the FTC's first steps into social.

While social pundits have long been advocating the need for full transparency and self-imposed ethics, disclosure statements often feel disruptive within the context of the conversation.  As a result, an alarming number of social participants fail to properly disclose their relationship with brands.  This includes not only celebrities and mommy bloggers, but agency social leads, social consultants and brand marketers. 

We need a better, comprehensive way to disclose both our relationships and the nature of these relationships without disrupting the conversation.  In the near-term, I would like to suggest that this can best be accomplished by establishing a set of short-form disclosure statements that can easily be included in a tweet, Facebook message, blog title or blog post, without distracting from the conversation.

About a month ago I emailed a handful of friends in the space, asking for their feedback on an initial short-form guidelines document.  After taking in their feedback, I would like to share the following set of guidelines.  Please share, comment and critique.  Let's get the conversation going!

Short-form Disclosure Codes