There’s growing anecdotal evidence about the grassroots impact blogs can have on sales for companies, especially small businesses.
Internet guru Dave Weinberger says blogs are a growing force in commerce because they provide a more powerful voice to individuals. “If companies allow their employees to blog, [they] have the opportunity of engaging their customer in the sort of genuine conversations that build real customer loyalty.”
The blogosphere is contributing to the resurgence of Internet gurus as the “new” marketers. It’s 1996 all over again. Old school marketing and PR types cling to traditional spam tactics of ads, direct mail, and for a bit longer, telemarketing, while the Internet continues to breed new-school marketers.
Or perhaps it’s deeper than that. The ever-shifting cultural and commercial tides cause continual adjustments in our approaches. What was once trusted (government, big corporations) are now suspect. What was taken for granted (truth in advertising) is now subject to lawsuits and fines, even reviews by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The continual erosion of trust and truth are giving rise not to the marketing machines but to authenticity. Authenticity spreads virally, especially through the Internet. Authenticity for old school marketers is hard because it’s their job to stage, craft, and simulate. Today, it’s not selling so well.
Consider these examples:
NEW SCHOOL: An Australian beer company for the customer, by the customer.
[Thanks to friend and Microsoft’er John Porcaro for the initial inspiration.]