Monday, April 07, 2014

Grazers And Sharers

Community marketing, at least the way I practiced it during my now-concluded four-decade career, was not just about, as GE’s Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Comstock calls it, “seeing patterns and connecting the dots.”

I was a content marketer long before it was given that name, but because a marketer’s job is to see patterns and then translate them, I was also, in the CMO typology of content consumers, a “grazer/sharer.”  This occurred not just within my organization or area of responsibility for visitor-centric economic and cultural development.

As a community marketer, I always felt it was my responsibility to redistribute information I gleaned useful to hundreds of other civic, business and community leaders in the three communities I served, much to the irritation of those who didn’t use information-based decision and strategy-making.

One-in-ten content consumers see themselves more as “hunter/gatherers,” holding the information for any power it might leverage, or more often, filing it away to gather dust.Grazers

A yet even smaller group considered themselves too influential and important to gather or share content, let alone read.  This is the group for which we would synthesize information into bullet points, or these days, infographics.

Members of the latter group are dinosaurs.  Today’s world, in the words of veteran marketer and reformed advertising exec Tom Martin, seeks “explorers not experts.”  Nearly a third of content sharing today is top down, another third is bottom up and more than a third is middle out.  Only 6% still fail to share content.

Community destination marketing isn’t a business for anyone uncomfortable with uncertainty.  To be successful, one must be comfortable with disruption, both negative and positive.

In fact, people uncomfortable with information-driven decision and strategy making are fearful of disruption.  Their goals become possessions and they label anything that may either improve or disprove them as naysaying.

Don’t get me wrong.  In the words of a great song penned by Allison Moorer, sometimes we’re all “looking for a soft place, nothing more than a small space…looking for a place to hide, a warm bed on a cold night…a soft place to fall.”

But to be a good marketer, one must be relentlessly hyper-vigilant for disruption, if only to find it before it finds you.

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