I can’t tell you how tired I am of reading commentary from self-styled net gurus saying, essentially, that the entire business world should simply give up and accept that the internet is going to destroy their industries. It’s not just that they are probably wrong, it’s that their misreading of human nature is so profound as to be mind boggling. Do they really expect Hollywood, for example, to just ditch the whole idea of copy protection and sadly watch as their revenues drop 99% because their content is being copied for free by anyone who wants it? Not in the universe I live in.
I read The Cluetrain Manifesto when it first came out based on the enthusastic recommendation of a marketing friend of mine, and I was just appalled. It was page after page of platitude, all based on the idea that marketing-as-we-know-it was doomed to extinction in the very near future. This in turn was seemingly based on the authors’ idea that traditional marketing doesn’t work too well on smart, technically literate nerds ? a market segment that accounts for about 1% of the consuming public ? and that smart, technically literate nerddom was shortly to take over the world.
This is just fantasy. When it’s all said and done, my money says that big marketing will adapt just fine to the internet and so will big business. In fact, it will probably make them stronger than ever, and unlike the utopian predictions of The Cluetrain Manifesto that marketing is shortly to become a frank, cuddly, conversation between buyers and sellers, that’s a prediction that should truly send shivers down our collectives spines.