Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marketing's Two-headed Beast

What can we learn from Doctor Doolittle's trip to Africa?

After the good doctor  traveled to Africa to treat a monkey epidemic he was rewarded with a Pushmi-Pullyu - a two headed animal that tried to go in opposite directions whenever it tried to move.  (wiki)  

Uncoordinated activities sounds a bit like marketing sometimes - consumers headed in one direction and marketers in another, even though they are often trying to achieve the same objective of satisfying a need.  

Marketers have historically been accused of to much "push(to)me" and in response we shifted to preferring to "pull(from)you" and thus taking control.   Yet in marketing, as in the story, at different points in time one head wins out over the other.   Awareness and interest-rising marketing are definitely pushmi strategies, even if done by sharing and recommendations from others.   Similarly, search and informational retrieval are clear examples of pullyu strategies.  

Social technology sits somewhere in between.   As a media it can be used to effectively leverage human interaction to convey a message (push).   As a network it can be used to facilitate engagement (pull) by offering content and interaction not possible by other forms of communication. 

It seems that in this case two heads are better than one.

PS:  This thought came to me watching an AMA webinar on location-based marketing. 

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