Monday, February 25, 2008

The boo rule: Hooray for authenticity in marketing

What happens when you imagine prospects booing?

I’ve just got back from an interesting conference, the Online Marketing Summit (OMS) in San Diego. One difference from other marketing conferences was the booing rule. Participants were encouraged to boo speakers who touted their products, services or companies or blew their own horns for a second longer than necessary.

It made the conference fun, it made it honest and it sure was more interesting to hear about real results than get another spiel.

The boos (and the rule) took Kodak’s chief marketer Jeff Hayzlett by surprise. He’d arrived too late to hear the rule explained and was on a panel talking about the next big trends in marketing. During a response to a question, he talked a bit too much about his products. The conference hall started booing. He was taken aback, before conference organizer Aaron Kahlow of BusinessOL.com stepped in to explain.

Kahlow said he’d launched OMS because he’d been sick of all the conferences, seminars, etc., where sessions were advertising in disguise. He thought facts and results would be more interesting than hype. Education better than advertising.

And this is the direction of marketing. We’re all trying to work out how to form deeper, more informative and honest relationships with prospects and customers, whether it is via a blog, a social network, or by giving customers a chance to review and rate products, etc. “Selling” often gets in the way.

I think we should all anticipate the boo rule as we come up with marketing ideas. Are campaigns too full of bull to be credible? If you can imagine prospects booing, maybe you are coming on too strong.

The summit was full of interesting ideas and case studies, many of which you’ll be hearing about soon on this blog and in our print publication, Internet Marketing Report.

Full disclosure: I went for free as media. Thank you.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report editor Julie Power Monday February 25 at 8 a.m.


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1 comment:

Matt Leopold said...

It's about time.

Authenticity, transparency, full disclosure, being genuine - whatever you want to call it - that carries more weight these days then the hype machine.

We as consumers have seen it all and are tired of companies that sell to us in disingenuous ways. But when they can talk to us about their product or service or their area of expertise, warts and all, I am more inclined to form a long lasting relationship.

The true goal of marketing should now be in becoming trusted advisors. And we should take the occasional “boo” as constructive feedback on making our offer or offering better for our audience.