Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Promoting digital media

Jamendo's CEO sent me a link on a class dealing with Promotion 2.0 (content in French) featuring Emmanuel Vivier for Culture-Buzz, the evangelist of what I call marketing x.0, i.e. new marketing like buzz, viral, word-of-mouth.... Culture-Buzz is part of a group of companies that I am most pleased to be serving these days. The class took place at CELSA, a highly respected school of marketing and communication in France, and it provided a good comparison between the old ways of promoting music and content and the methods that are taking shape under the impulse of innovators like Emmanuel.
While the class material (accessible here and also embedded at the end of this post for convenience) contains a lot of interesting points and recommendations, there are a few aspects that are particularly worth considering:

  1. the role of the customer, who used to be a passive recipient of marketing communications organized as a top-down process in the hands of people Joel de Rosnay calls Infocapitalists in his book (the English version is well under way) and who becomes an active player in the process of promotion of digital content;

  2. the sequence of marketing activities that used to place promotion as a last step right after physical distribution had occurred and before the buy decision was made by the consumer, whereas today promotion starts much earlier and is often preceded by a campaign of buzz marketing in which chosen "influencers" get a preview of the product and comment it (see the campaign on Bob Sutton's soon to be published book "No Asshole");

  3. the nature of communication that used to be tightly controlled and carefully created at the top or at the center of a network where the means of broadcasting used to lie, and is now rapidly evolving towards a dynamic process of conversations produced by the consumers themselves with only very limited control by the owners of the product. In fact the trend is so powerful as to have led some scholars and thought leaders to claim that brands belong less and less to corporations and more and more to their consumers (although sadly for many of us that does not concern the profits of brands we use... which may actually be an interesting idea to explore). For example, in a post about the Art of Branding Guy Kawasaki argues that consumers actually influence a lot the communication of a brand and he gives pointer about how to "flow with the go" as he says;

  4. the fact that transactions over the Internet grow very rapidly and the time consumers take before making a buy decision (at least for small-ticket items) is getting shorter (so we are in fact coming closer to impulse buys);

  5. a shift in the balance of power between record companies, artists and the public. Here the author of the class argues that record companies will have to change the way they see and play their role and consider themselves "co-creators of a musical experience" rather than authorities "who know what the public needs and will push it on the market";

  6. being a co-creator of a consumer experience is also something that implies some form of humility, something stressed by Polly Labarre in and interview she gave about Mavericks at work the book she co-authored with William Taylor.

"If you want to create an enduring, emotional bond with customers,
create a sense of shared ownership and participation among customers
themselves. The more you invite people in to shape your company’s
personality and products and the more you enable them to share their
ideas with one another, the greater their stake in what your company
does. Shared ownership is much deeper than simply listening to the
customer." - Polly Labarre in an interview by Guy Kawasaki

In fact, this excellent content confirms a lot of the analysis of the trends that I had the pleasure to facilitate for Jamendo. It was early 2006 and we summarized this radical change in the way music would be marketed in a diagram that I am posting here (click on the image for full-size view). I think it shows how sound and accurate a vision Jamendo has, something that is further confirmed by recent events in distribution of online music that is not protected by DRM systems (e.g. Thomson Link in France or La Médiathèque in Belgium).

In his slide-show Alban Martin also stresses the importance of psychology,
something that I see as a confirmation that value creation in the
economy is becoming more people-centric or at least that one needs to
take full account of the human factor in generating value. And in fact
that is also something acknowledged by a branch modern financial theory
that tries to embed human psychology into market models and expert
tools designed to support the work of traders and fund managers.


  1. I like your blog! Buzz marketing is what has made me successful in what i do. :)

  2. Lots of valuable information in this post: you perfectly completed and went deeper into the reflexion initiated in these slides !
    Good to read somebody that is having a similar vision of the new relation between companies and customers.
    You might want also to have a quick look at the first classes, also about the revamping of the value chain, here :
    Read you soon,