This is a thought in progress, but it’s coming together. At the very least, as with blogtailing, I think I’ve coined a phrase. Here goes.
Marketing today is a straddle between the online world and the offline world. Only those who do the straddle right will survive. Err too far online, you fail. Too fair offline, you fail. What I think justifies this post’s existence is that no one (that I’m aware of) is really (yet) talking about the straddle.
Doesn’t mean people aren’t doing it.
For instance, I’ve blogged frequently about how artists like REM are leveraging the tech by using wonderfully articulated social media marketing strategies to allow their constituents to engage in participatory marketing. However, I didn’t emphasize enough in these posts that it was the straddle that really allows REM to leverage the tech. That is, it’s their interplay between their offline world (touring) and their online world that allows them to be successful.
Similarly, another person I’ve written about frequently who is doing the straddle well is Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk. Certainly his use of tech is about as good as it gets, but what makes it work is his commitment to offline activities (wine tastings, appearances, etc.). It is wine that he’s talking about, for goodness sakes; you sort of have to have an offline presence.
Another example: I believe that the reason Facebook is just crushing MySpace (random sample of the hundred or so students I teach: Q. How many use Myspace? A: None; Q. How many use Facebook? A: All) is because Facebook helps them do the straddle (sounds like a dance); while MySpace is a closed online only experience.
Think about it: Facebook works because it allows you to enhance and augment your offline experiences. You post photos of things you do with your friends; you write on each others’ walls regarding offline experiences.
MySpace is more of (and I use this word in the loosest possible manner) a portfolio (or, what I really believe it’s become, for bands at least: a demo). MySpace has nothing to do with your offline life; it’s only related to your online life, and, thus, falls short.
Musicians and others too often feel that the new tech allows them to forgo what is really important: building real connections via playing live. I.e. they emphasize the online and forget about the offline. It makes sense. These online tools are so easy, and they give the illusion of progress and (sometimes) accomplishment. However, this indeed is illusory. Without leveraging whatever you, perhaps, built online in order to grow your offline presence (and vice versa), you will fail.
This holds true across the board. Businesses, authors…whomever…must do the straddle. If you’re a real estate agent, why would you not be tweeting up a storm, Facebook-ing up a storm, blogging up a storm, so that when you have an open-house for one of your listings you can connect with your online constituency in an offline manner. If you’re a restaurant who isn’t tweeting out your specials (and I don’t know ONE restaurant who is), and even perhaps creating events/menus for your online peeps so that you can then have the offline experience with them, it seems to me you’re missing something.
I want more than anything to have some 9GS offline experiences with those who read the blog/follow my tweets. Sadly, so far the only thing I can currently come up with is to tweet out to those who follow me to come over to the house and shoot pool and drink tequila with me. This would, of course, result in me being fired and divorced, so I will keep thinking.
The rest of you, I look forward to your straddles.