in Kongresse, Marketing, next10

The Fragmentation of Marketing in the Age of Tribes

A few months ago, Anna and Mark of Mavens sent me Seth Godin’s book Tribes as a Christmas gift. I still didn’t bother to read it, but these days I took it with me on my trip to Berlin for re:publica. I think of the people gathering for events like re:publica and next10 (which happens to happen in just 26 days, you might want to register now) as tribes in Godin’s sense of the word.
The Tribalisation of the crowds in the age of the Social Web poses a real threat for traditional marketing. Things are getting more and more fragmented. To use the next conference as an example: Of course we run a website which is a blog at the same time. Then there is an e-mail newsletter and e-mail marketing that runs on MailChimp, which still performs well for us. We have a Twitter account, a Facebook group and a fan page as well, a Xing group and a Formspring account.
You can RSVP for the event at Facebook, Xing, Upcoming and LinkedIn. Registration and ticketing are done on amiando, but the networking features at amiando are pretty poor, so nobody uses them. Questions can be asked not only on Formspring, but also via qhub. The programme schedule is hosted at where you can login with your Facebook or Twitter account and create your own conference schedule.
SinnerSchrader has built a slick Flash interface for the schedule which will be launched soon. Since there is no flash on the iPhone, Cellular is building an iPhone app which will soon be launched, too. We are also working on an Android version together with Mobile Roadie. And who knows, maybe there will even be a Blackberry app in May. The whole conference is videotaped with videos hosted by sevenload and perhaps even streamed live to the web.
This sounds like an unmanageable mess? It sure is. I didn’t mention yet traditional marketing with media partners, telesales and classic PR. And then there is the never-ending stream of e-mail. Our tiny team which runs the conference is spread thin, and I typically ask myself every morning where to start my work. All these channels are hungry for fresh content and interaction.
The tribe which unites just once a year at the conference is scattered all over the web for the rest of the time. And it’s not easy to reach them. But on the other hand it’s a lot of fun to interact via all these channels and at all these places where people happen to stay. And unlike traditional marketing, things are much more based on interaction than on the tired broadcast model. Think of narrowcasting or micropublishing, not only in the Twitter sense of the word with a 140 characters limit, but also with a very limited and highly-focused audience.
The next tribe is tiny compared to a mass media audience. Currently we have just about 5000 e-mail addresses in our database. 1.556 people follow us on Twitter and 963 on Facebook. Besides e-mail, there is no single channel to reach them all ot once. But is this necessary? The real power of an event like re:publica or next10 lies in the networked, word-of-mouth, viral and many-to-many type of communication, not in the broadcast model.