Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Supernova 2007: Introducing the Relationship Economy

A panel discussion with two of the four Cluetrain Manifesto - Doc Searls and David Weinberger - hosted by Jerry Michalski and about the launch of the conversational market, how conversations are markets.

Weinberger: What we were seeing was that the Internet was being looked at as business-only, and looking at the Internet as only-sales driving force instead of conversation driven.

Searls: A few years ago, I noticed that marketing people were never elevated to the top level, but it was always sales people. The marketing people were politically weak because sales people had the power. It's because marketing people are seen as weak, and while both sales and marketing is "bullshit," sales has that people relationship. Marketing has an uphill battle to carry the conversations, where it has traditionally been carried by sales people.

Weinberger: I always see senior people think that they can do the work of marketing, because they do not understand the real value of marketing. There is an uptake of "markets are conversations" and done with enthusiasm, but my blood curdles because marketers have trouble entering the conversation. It's hard for them to be the bloggers, because it is hard for CEOs and marketers to be bloggers, because they have been trained to talk one way, have an interest in presenting the conversation in one way. Marketers are trying to figure out a way into the conversation, and the first instinct is to talk - they want to bring the conversation in, but it's going on already on the outside.

Searls: People take it too literally that the conversations are markets. It is not just about marketing, but about everybody. Having a loud voice, international reach, controlling the medium - it's going away, and it happened with the media. Markets are being markets, and no longer these areas controlled by large companies. It's companies with people in the middle of it.

Weinberger: There are attempts to subvert messaging - such as PayPerPost - and there are people being fired for blogging (the control by corporations of blogging), and the silliness of "user generated content" where companies embrace this, and not really understanding. We're about UGC and we're going to invite people to submit their ads ... which looks like the same crap from advertising. Or the fakeness of politicians using YouTube to announce, where it is about control.

Searls: What I know is what I am. The way we teach each other and learn is fundamental to doing business. If we reduce everything to fixed commodities - generated content - is bullshit.

Searls: If you look at what we want, versus what companies are willing to hear when we are trapped in their sealed silos (of CRM). Is there independence ways to go beyond the CRM? There should be a better way, and what we are trying to do is find a better way by discussing this out loud.

Searls: Build markets around what customers actually want, what customers actually need. Why can't shopping cart go from one site to the other - it's 2007, and we still cannot do that. It cannot be from another site, but we have to better equip the customer.

Weinberger: CRM is the tool of oppression. It's the opposite of the value, where VRM (value relationship management) is what is important - it's about both sides of the fence.

Weinberger: I really liked Amazon. No one at Amazon knows who I am. It's easy to use, it's like using an ATM, and I just press a couple of buttons and I get books. I feel an emotional attachment to Amazon, but what sort of relationship does Amazon have with me? What relationship is there with me?

Searls: You just relate to it. You trust them, they have solved problems when they have come up, and get the books to me.

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