Bizspeak, or, thanks, I’ll drive myself

Mostly to needle friends who worked there, I used to say that marketing is what you do when you can’t sell stuff.  I knew then (and now) that you can’t easily sell what people don’t know about.  Still, like the executive suite, marketing is a major source of corporate rhetoric.

Your vision of your customer?Take “drive,” as in “driving customers to our website.”  Yes, the verb can mean “Allow me to take you where you want to go.”

Admit it, though–when someone talks about driving the customer or driving the business, you’re thinking “make ’em go where we want.”

That’s not to detract from points Aaron Strout makes in this interview at (my thanks to David Wilkins, who tweeted about it).  Strout makes a distinction that’s useful to consider:

Social media in its truest form is really any content – text, video or audio – that allows people to comment on, discuss or interact with. The most common examples of social media in my mind are blogs, Twitter, podcasts, and video sites like Youtube.

Online community requires both content, tools like forums, ratings/reviews, tagging AND social profiles. It’s the latter that creates “community” because members are able to connect to one another moving from a “what you know” to a “who you know” model.

Strout also has Twitter advice, the kind that can take a while to acquire.  Among the most important things, he sais, is “understanding the value of ‘give before you get.'”

That’s mainly because when Twitter asks, “What are you doing,” it feels like you should talk about yourself. WRONG. Talk about other smart people you’re meeting. Point to good articles or blog posts. Comment on how funny someone’s last tweet was. At the end of the day, if you do those things, the benefits will come back to you in spades.

Most people I follow on Twitter fit that model.  Yes, I find out about their lunch plans the way they find out that my electrical inspection got delayed because the electrician forgot to renew his license.  Mostly, though, I’m seeing links to sites or articles, mini-reviews, notions.

In other words, people talking about what’s worthwhile, in case I want to drive there myself.

“Driving the cattle, um, I mean, customer” photo by MandaRose / Amanda Salm.

2 thoughts on “Bizspeak, or, thanks, I’ll drive myself

  1. Dave – as a marketer, I’m chuckling at your first statement in this post. Not because I take offense but because I think it’s mostly true. That’s one of the reasons a lot of marketers are having a tough time truly understanding the power of community and social. It’s in our blood to ask, take and request (or drive as you put it) vs. give.

    I appreciate the shout out. Keep on, keepin’ on!

    Aaron | @aaronstrout

  2. Aaron, thanks for commenting. Marketing, like sales, has an important role–but just as sales often confuses feature (what they have) with benefit (what I value), marketing seems to rely on repetition and pixie dust.

    I got my print copy of National Geographic with a promotion: win a trip to Scotland. (I am a prime prospect for something like this.)

    “Enter now at,” they say. But at the site: “this promotion officially begins Feb. 2…be sure to return for your chance to win.”

    The Gaelic moral to this story: Cha dèan cat miotagach sealg. — “A cat in mittens won’t catch mice.”

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