Live from DMA08: Joseph Jaffe Challenges Marketers to Join the Conversation
October 12, 2008 — “I’m here to shock you out of your complacency,” Joseph Jaffe, founder and president of crayon, a new marketing company, told DMA08 Conference & Exhibition attendees Sunday afternoon at the Las Vegas Convention Center. DMA08 is taking place through Wednesday, October 16.
In his keynote address, entitled “Join the Conversation: How to Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers with the Power of Community, Dialogue, and Partnership,” Jaffe challenged marketers to break free of tired methodologies and embrace a new marketing model.
Jaffe’s keynote address bears the same title as his second book, which outlines the emergence of what he calls “conversational marketing,” his vision of what comes next in marketing. The book explores how marketers can catapult their brands by becoming part of the conversation, instead of constantly disrupting it.
From Campaign to Commitment
Jaffe said that marketers should strive to achieve positive change by engaging in a conversation with consumers, rather than launching campaigns. “We are surrounded by life, by passion, by millions of flawed, engaged, human, influential conversations,” Jaffe said. “Isn’t it time we joined in?”
Jaffe advised DMA08 attendees to begin by wiping the word “campaign” from their vocabulary. “Get out of the campaign business and get into the commitment business,” he urged. “Marketers frontload their budgets into big products,” he continued. “Everything looks and feels the same. As long as your campaigns have an end-date, they are not integrated. Period. We need to move beyond this campaign, silo model.”
In the ancient past, Jaffe explained, the bazaar was teaming with life. People were using all of their senses. “They were negotiating, and they were excited.” Jaffe said that marketers today must regain that passion and engagement. “It’s time to put the social back in media.”
The ‘Many-to-Many’ Marketing Model
“We need to change ourselves, otherwise we will be forever changed, and it won’t be the good kind,” Jaffe said. To effect that change, he offered a new marketing paradigm, which he called the “many-to-many” model.
“The one-to-many approach is out,” Jaffe said. “It was replaced by CRM, the one-to-one model. This gave the ability to customize a message.” But, Jaffe explained, the inundated consumer wasn’t always ready to receive the message. He added that this model was, in turn, replaced by the one-from-one, or search model. He said this marked “the day that consumers could come to us.”
“Every individual is connected to the world, this global village that we live in,” Jaffe said. “We have to figure out how to work with our consumers as partners.” In the many-to-many model, he explained, marketing can be a conversation. This conversation, he pointed out, includes allowing consumers to express their preferences — and when they do, it’s vital for marketers to listen and respond.
“Every single piece of direct marketing [including direct mail] should have a clear unsubscribe call-to-action,” Jaffe said. “Take a page from digital’s book. If we’re not sending relevant information, why shouldn’t they very clearly know how to say to us, ‘stop!’ Why not allow them to send them that piece of direct mail to a friend? Create some kind of physical viral piece of marketing methodology that applies to the mailbox as much as the inbox.”
Even when customers are unhappy, marketers should see a chance to improve the conversation, Jaffe explained. “When consumers are mad at us, they are begging us to join in on their conversations,” Jaffe said.
Jaffe used his own negative experience with an airline to illustrate this point. After complaining about poor treatment and getting nothing but indifference in return from the airline, Jaffe used his blog, Twitter, and a YouTube video to communicate his experience.
The response from the community was huge. As a result of the buzz Jaffe created, the airline finally responded by sending him multiple customer loyalty offers. But by then it was too late. Jaffe had spread his message, and taken his business elsewhere. “We can’t bare the waste of our time and money and resources,” Jaffe said. “These are opportunities. They should not end up the way this story ended up.”
A New Day Has Dawned.
Jaffe predicted that, by 2012, organizations will have a number of new departments and titles, including a conversation department and a chief conversation officer. In this future model, he said, campaigns will be a thing of the past. “At the end of the day, there will be no more campaigns. Our customers will tell us when to shut the hell up.”
In the future, Jaffe said, brands will be redefined based on how they relate, resonate, and rely on their communities. “We have the most incredible opportunity, and direct marketing can and should lead the way, because you understand the power of data.”
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