Reboot and Intention

I’ve come across to Reboot this year again. This conference was probably the one that triggered by career rethinking that resulted in me leaving my long term employer to go try something different. The same thing happened with Nicole, so there was definitely something in the air last year 😉

The theme this year is rennaissance, being reborn and thinking about things different – take a look at the programme and you find a huge mixture of talks, from Marxism to blogging.

Having dinner with Rick Segal last night, we touched upon the Intention economy and how this is a untapped opportunity. This was one of the main topics in Doc Searls keynote today (the two have had previous conversations about it). The Intention economy is different from the Attention economy – it’s about touching people when they want to buy things, after they have made the decision. It’s an ‘upside-down buyers guide’ when vendors come to the customer to sell them things they already want to buy.

Doc told a great anecdote about a discussion with his wife about why VPs of Sales and Marketing usually come from Sales – it’s because Sales is real and Marketing is bullshit. That is, salespeople really do touch customers. However, I disagree with this in the area I’ve worked in, when there is a difference between the customers – the retailers and distributors who buy from the producer and the user/consumer who actually use/eat/drink the product. In this case, the marketing product is the thing that touches the end consumer, not the sales gys who deal with the big retailers.

Back to the Intention economy. One of the measures that is used to assess advertising and other marketing stuff is change in Intent to Purchase. A lot of money is spent on developing stuff that affects this behaviour. It’s far more effective to to advertise after the decision has been made, in places where the purchases take place – shops being the most obvious. But how much innovative marketing takes place in store, it seems to consist of ‘special’ displays and smapling, surely there’s a lot of innovation that can be done there.

Online, the job appears to be slightly harder, it’s not quite as clear whether the user is still investigating or has made the decision. THe obvious target is the review sites..where user reviews are collected (with the risk that you could be advertising next to a bunch of bad reviews of your product). An opportunity here is the development of better targetting which will help both advertisers and users…users only seeings adverts about what they want to see.

Connected, but not quite in a straight line, is the news that Flickr has announced an adertising deal with Nikon, who will display image based ads next to photos that have been taken with their products. If you already have a Nikon camera (and like it) the odds are that you would be interested in another one and would like to see what they are doing. Although if Flickr continue with their policy of not advertising to Pro users (I hope they continue this!) then the people who I’m guessing are more likely to buy the high end stuff will never see the ads 😉

Yet another step in this vague direction are social networking sites. Here you have some great demographics – the profiles tell you age, sex, location and lots more goodies. Within the network it’s pretty easy to track usage and ‘popularity’. But advertising on these sites can still have a shotgun approach, still looking for people who are looking. I’m wondering if it is possible to start getting the users involved in choosing their own banner ads. Is there an opportunity for the network managers to bring advertisers and users together? If an advertiser has a demographic that it is after, then offer this demographic the option to display the ads (and share revenue?). If the individual knows their connections and knows their shared interests, then the ads they choose to show are more likely to be relevant.

Technology offers the ideal of being able to focus markeitng effort only on people who really want it, are open to it and who look to be influenced by it, instead of mass market, shotgun approach.

Time to go do some digging about this..another thing that Doc said was that all blogging is provisional. This post definitely falls into this category.

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