Marketing in a disintermediated world

Seth Godin has an excellent post that sums up exactly why marketing and branding is still so crucial in our post-mass-media marketplace:

You’re busy trying to sell a service or a product or an idea to lazy people in a hurry.

Lazy, as in not willing to do the work to create long term benefits. Lazy as in not willing to read the instructions, follow the manual, do all the steps, invest the time in the research. Lazy as in willing to buy the first choice that’s ‘good enough’ as opposed to finding the best choice. These are people who will spend five minutes to find a parking space one minute closer to the mall.

And in a hurry.

In a hurry because they jump to conclusions, don’t read to the end, and most of all, most of the time, search for a shortcut.

In other words, you’ve only got a microsecond to converse with people before they move on. If you aren’t spot-on with a compelling presentation that they value in their world, on their terms, *click*, next page.

Being spot on, making that microsecond count, and delivering a product, a message, and an experience that connects with what that individual really needs… that‘s marketing. That‘s branding. You don’t have time for one-on-one sales. If you miss the moment, people move on to the next item on the list. And you certainly don’t have time for tech-heavy feature-itis. People want to know “What’s in it for me, right now?”

In a disintermediating world, marketing means discovering and executing on the most effective and efficient ways to deliver real value to people. And it’s no longer about press releases and super bowl commercials. It is about conversations, respect, and integrity.

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2 Responses to Marketing in a disintermediated world

  1. Jim Bursch says:

    I’m hip to Seth and the point he makes, but there’s something that doesn’t quite sit right with me.

    Basically, you have one chance (a microsecond) to make a first impression, and if you don’t get it right, you’re dead.

    That’s not a conversation. And it’s inhuman.

    Conversations are never precise. They are full of fits and starts, pauses, half sentences, grunts. exclamations, etc. If you look at the transcript of a typical conversation, you wonder how anything is really being communicated at all.

    What really matters in a conversation is the quality of the people involved. It matters who they are and what are their intentions.

    I’m not sure how that translates into marketing, but I think it’s important to marketing.

  2. Joe says:


    Have you ever tried to hook up at a bar?

    Sales and seduction both start with a moment. Either you make that moment work or you lose the sale. You might be able to create another moment, especially in a friendly environment, but that costs time and resources.

    In disintermediating markets, starting new conversations cost less, but you have less time to prove yourself worthy of people’s attention.

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