Your Business is Being Disrupted. What Are You Doing About It?

by Eric Brown |

What is the value of what you are doing for your clients? Is it something that anyone can do? Can your client really do the same work in-house for a lot less money? We marketers get stuck on thinking that our services have some sort of specialness. They mostly don’t. Social Media Marketing is a Low Barrier to Entry Business. What are you doing about that? Before you launch into the whole strategy argument, most marketing strategies aren’t all that great, so you may need more than that to set yourself apart.

What is your Plan for this Disruption? 

Disruption is rampant, from print to digital marketing, book and magazine publishing, music distribution and more. In the midst of this we still need to provide viable marketing direction to our clients.  Not always an easy or straightforward task. Everyone is a publisher today. Gatekeepers no longer have much if any real control and are becoming less and less every day.

I read a Seth Godin interview this week titled Godin to Authors; You have no right to make money anymore.  While it may not speak exactly to marketers, most of it applies, as the Abundance Economy is upon us. ”Amateurs” are everywhere now, and they are taking part of what used to be your work.

This probably isn’t the kind of message that most authors (or creative professionals of any kind) want to hear, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The rise of the amateur, powered by the democratization of distribution provided by the Web and social media, is something that is disrupting virtually every form of content that can be converted into bits. To take just two examples, the news industry is struggling to adapt to an era where anyone can commit “random acts of journalism” with a blog or smartphone — and where sources of news have the ability to publish their own content instead of having to go through a middleman — and photography has been battling the rise of the amateur for years now.

The Gatekeepers are Extinct 

Marketing studios used to control the gate keys to an array of things that they no longer make money from, or at least a much lower percentage. What are you doing to replace that revenue and compete with “good enough?” And to be clear, when we refer to good enough, it really is good enough. The sooner we understand that, the better.

As media theorist Clay Shirky has pointed out before, abundance breaks a lot of content-related business models that were built on scarcity, and that includes the ones that have supported the book-publishing industry for so long. That’s why publishers have been scrambling to try and lock down their content — including jacking up the prices that libraries pay for e-books — and it’s why authors who have a built-in audience are using the web to connect directly with that audience. Godin’s message may not be a popular one, but it is the way that content works now.

Marketing certainly isn’t dead. To really reach today’s consumers, companies and brands will need to build relationships with them rather than simply grabbing their attention or utilizing disruptions as an advertising tool. In other words, marketers should be progressive rather than aggressive, adding a fifth “P” — Participation — to the traditional marketing mix of Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Are you up for the long haul?

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About the Author

Eric Brown

Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.