Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Oct 18 2004

Porcupine Marketing

I really hope more companies are actually thinking this way. And I hope the executives at Proctor & Gamble mean it when they say they're interested in taking seriously the reinvention of marketing. I've only worked along the fringes of true marketing, but even in that bit of time I've noticed that high energy is what a lot of companies look for when they hire marketing executives or managers. Unfortunately, a lot of what they perceive as high energy is just a flighty desperation that some poor soul is trying to insert into a corporate world where the rest of the executives are more interested in the yearly sales figures than they are about meeting the needs of real employees and customers. The marketing and sales people become the ones who lie to the potential clients or customers. They lie about the time it will take to get a product or service to the customer, and sometimes they lie to the customers about whether or not the company can develop the product at all. The rest of the company ends up hating them, but feeling as though they're a necessary evil. So the marketing people take on a kind of porcupine role. They're all fired up and ready to go while the rest of the company backs away from their enthusiasm in fear of getting a painful quill and looking bad to the employees and to customers. The marketing people are often the laughing stock of the rest of the company and yet they're hired by the company to be the interface with the public. And they're among the first to become scapegoats if all their energy doesn't produce increased sales. (I'm not picking on Proctor & Gamble here, by the way. They were just the company quoted as wanting to make a change.)

As a creative person, I know that idea people do have a lot of energy, but it isn't always the kind of energy that shows itself in speed or frenzy. It's just that we routinely tap into areas of the mind that other people are in the habit of setting aside. Some were not encouraged to think creatively as children and they've suppressed that talent. Some feel it's a waste of time. Whatever the reason, some folks haven't actively tapped into that creativity for a long time. What's sad is that creativity is part of the best of humanity and your company's marketing people could be answering that call in themselves, and in the lives of customers. If you really wanted them to.

A lot of consumers are overburdened, overworked, stressed out, terrified, sad, and also very wary of anybody or anything they think might set them up for more of the same. So they do respond when marketing people tell them what it is they think they want to hear. Even if it's a lie. Even if, deep in their heart, they know it's a lie. So they bite. They buy. Your company gets a sale. Hurray. Hurray? You sold a lie and they bought a lie. It might look like a happy transaction, but somewhere, down the line, you're both going to pay for it in ways that don't always show (at first) in terms of gross sales.

A real revolution in marketing, to me, would be companies moving toward creative marketing that is based, not on lies, but on integrity and on enhancing the best in people. And the marketing department can't sell that to me by just nabbing a 30-second TV spot during the Super Bowl, no matter how many millions of dollars they spend on it.

posted at: 16:22 | category: | link to this entry

Link To Dead Pages

I found some great information this morning for those of us who are writing something online and want to reference an old web page that isn't available online any longer. If the page has been archived at the Internet Archive you can use this advanced search to locate it, even if you are unsure of the exact date of its original web publishing date. The search form allows you to fill in a date range and other criteria, plus that search form page includes other tips on how to get the most recently archived copy of a URL. You can also check a box that will give you duplicates of a URL on any given day, which would be handy for finding sites that had material that was updated throughout that day and had been indexed more than once during that day.

There are other handy options to narrow your search, such as audio or image links, Just choose your options for the search, and when your search is returned (if the link was indexed and was later archived by Internet Archive) you'll have an exact link to refer to in your own writing and you can just credit the Internet Archive as the source for the archived material.

posted at: 08:20 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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