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Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices 222

Posted by timothy
from the send-more-spam-and-call-a-lot dept.
Reader Steve MacLaughlin (you can visit his blog here) contributed this review of Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices, which sounds like an interesting followup to The Cluetrain Manifesto. Whether micromarketing of this sort really takes off will depend chicken-and-egg-like on whether a few companies escape being annoying and actually get people interested in what they have to offer.
Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices
author Christopher Locke
pages 256
publisher Perseus Publishing (2001)
rating 8
reviewer Steve MacLaughlin
ISBN 0738204080
summary Leaping through and thrashing about current conceptions of reaching people and making money in an inexorably more-connected world.

Christopher Locke, one of the co-conspirators of the best seller The Cluetrain Manifesto, has again set off to teach companies how to talk, not just offer lip-service, to their customers. In Gonzo Marketing: Winning through Worst Practices, Locke takes on the myths and monuments of marketing armed new ideas and a razor sharp wit. Buckle up. Hold on. Mr. Locke is going to take you on a wild ride to the new world of marketing.

While the book's frenzied style will be compared to that of Hunter S. Thompson, I view the book instead as the first real book written in hyperlink-style. Jumping all over the map and all over the mind in search of gonzo marketing. Scrolling from idea to author to tactic and back again around the horn again.

Locke devotes a portion of the book to a refresher course in The Cluetrain Manifesto?s teachings: Markets are conversations. The Web is a micromarket made up of individuals. Your mass market mind tricks won't work on us. Gonzo Marketing picks up from there with a deeper examination of how companies must understand how micromarkets operate.

Locke accomplishes this by giving readers a detailed examination of the evolution of current marketing thought. The experts and evangelists range from Marshall McLuhan to Noam Chomsky to Sergio Zyman and Seth Godin. I stopped counting books and articles Locke mentions or dissects when it hit 32. Gonzo Marketing is quick to point out when grand ideas, like Godin's "Permission Marketing," were nothing more than underhanded tactics to send us spam.

What Locke pushes forward instead is this notion of gonzo marketing. Gonzo marketing "is marketing from the market's perspective. It is not a set of tricks to be used against us. Instead, it's a set of tools to achieve what we want for a change." No more tricks. No more schemes. No more mass market messages.

Gonzo Marketing also explains the evolution of the micromarket. Mass production created the need for mass markets. But globalization has been cutting the mass market into smaller and smaller pieces for many years now. The rapid proliferation of the Internet has only increased the growth of these micromarkets. While only global giants were once exposed to the power of micromarkets now companies of every shape and size must learn to deal with them.

The bad news for companies is that micromarkets are here to stay. As Locke puts it, "The web is a non-stop planet-spanning celebration. And we ain't goin' back in the box." The good news is that companies can be active participants in these micromarkets. But Locke isn't talking about "hashbrowned or refried databases" but instead "genuinely social social groupings." Micromarkets are "collections of people, communities joined by shared interests." And the big catch is that you need to belong to these groups to have a conversation with them.

This all sounds very 1960s commune-esk. And some readers may quickly label Locke's ideas as being as foolhardy as those he criticizes himself. But the evidence of micromarkets in action are all around. Internet chat rooms allow micromarkets to flourish and communicate like never before. Interested in rare coinage from the ancient world? There's a micromarket and somewhere people are talking about it, and telling people where to buy the best Tiberius Aureus Tribune penny. Online personal Web logs, also called blogs, allow micromarkets to share ideas, discuss new products, and to speak their mind in a way that traditional journalism never allowed for. Think, Oprah Winfrey's Book Club x 50 million and growing. Get the picture

Locke points to companies like Ford Motor Company, Delta Airlines, Intel, and Bertelsmann who are already reaching out to micromarkets. In February 2000 Ford announced that it was giving each of its 350,000 employees a computer and Internet access, and it didn't take long for those other companies to follow suit. Sure, Ford wants to put technology in its people's hands, but "the real deal is that Ford has unleashed 350,000 independent and genuinely intelligent agents to fan out online and listen carefully." First people start listening, then they start talking.

Gonzo Marketing doesn't tell companies they can't market to customers -- but that they need to radically rethink how they communicate. Before the automobile, the transcontinental railroad was the only easy way to get to the west coast. Before the Internet, mass marketing was the only easy way you could communicate on a global scale. And the railroads of old were just as inefficient and costly as the bloated marketing budgets of today.

Where as Cluetrain described the disease in detail, Gonzo Marketing concludes with a cure for companies to begin using. While Locke often sounds anti-big business, he notes that it is these larger companies who have the best advantage in making the early "transition from traditional marketing to more intimate micromarket relationships." They can begin to experiment with gonzo marketing by skimming a little bit off the top of their massive advertising budgets. Companies need to value their employee?s individual interests, and to find ways to nurture those interests. Allow people to go out and be ambassadors for your company, even if their interests have nothing to do with what the company is selling. People are more likely to talk to people with whom they share common interests than to corporate talking heads that share no common ground. Think about it.

Gonzo Marketing makes for great reading because it gets the gears in your mind turning. Everyone says their employees are their best advertisers. What if you really put that kind of attitude into action? Taken individually, micromarkets may seem insignificant, but collectively they have the power to move mountains. Locke concludes Gonzo Marketing with instructions for those pioneers that want to make first contact with micromarkets: "Hook up, connect, co-create, procreate. Redeploy. Foment joy. Brothers in arms, sisters of Avalon, champions of the world get to work."


You can purchase this book at Fatbrain.

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Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices

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  • I wonder if there's a chapter on flashing ads. There's a few on Slashdot that really tick me off, like the disk planet or whatever it is, I hate it so much I scroll it off the top as soon as I see it.


    Nothing like irritation to inspire me to buy a product, eh?

  • From the /. article:

    Whether micromarketing of this sort really takes off will depend chicken-and-egg-like on whether a few companies escape being annoying and actually get people interested in what they have to offer.

    Wonder if someone at X-10 is reading this...or reading the book?
    • I'm actually a pretty laid back guy, I don't let things get to me, but those X10 ads really do. I fired off a rather profane letter to them concerning this practice. I got a very civil reply back, explaining how to opt out of it, which didn't work. Probably a chapter in there on 'how to ignore opt-out for biggie whopper bucks 8^)'

      Granted, the X10 ads aren't annywhere as annoying as what you get on www.ezboard.com, tho apparently you can fork over $1 a month to keep that litter off your desktop. Pretty sneaky if you ask me...

      • I sent an e-mail to postmaster@ezboard.com when I signed up there and started getting mointains of spam. Eventually I worked my way up to a vp and after a lot of complaining got them to stop selling my info and convinced them that they were selling stuff to a hardcore spammer.
      • Toss their X10 site into your hosts file as 127.0.0.1. (In Windows95/98, rename x:\windows\hosts.sam to hosts.ini, and reboot of course.) That will shut them up!

        I recall someone a while ago posting a list, or link to a list to /. of advertiser sites to toss into hosts to make most ads go away.
    • > Wonder if someone at X-10 is reading this...or reading the book?

      No, X-10 is a write-only operation.
    • Wonder if someone at X-10 is reading this...or reading the book?

      I too despise those idiotic X10 ads. But isn't it curious that everybody knows the name X10? They've attracted our attention and have created a very high profile brand name. Sounds like pretty good marketing to me.

      It's a very fine line between attracting peoples' attention and pissing people off. If you don't risk pissing people off you don't risk attracting their attention either.

      Now if they actually had something to sell...they could make a bundle!

      ...laura

      • The difference between marketing and advertising is the same as between accounting and beancounting. Marketing involves communicating with your potential customers so that you can make a reasonable profit suppling them with what these need, where they need it and at an attractive price.

        Advertising involves pestering them into buying whatever trash, you need to get rid of the quickest or at the most sales commission. At most your role in it is to object in terms that the salesman has researched rebutltes to.

        To a marketer you are a part of the process from the very start, and he strives to build a long term relationship with you. To an advertiser you're just prey, eat quickly and move on to the next mentality.

        Yes I know about X10, but it'll be a cold day in hell before I'd ever buy one. This gonzo marketing is more about a "Am I proud enough about our product to recommend it to my friends" then it is about consumers being prey. It appears to me that X10 not only considers me to be prey, but the entire theme of its adverts are trying to appeal to preditors as well. Personaly I think that Marketing and advertising depts should be in sepperate buildings
      • X-10 Focus (Score:3, Insightful)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527)


        I too despise those idiotic X10 ads. But isn't it curious that everybody knows the name X10? They've attracted our attention and have created a very high profile brand name. Sounds like pretty good marketing to me.


        Actually, a few years ago... and before the blitz of annoying adds, X10 devices were often subjects of slashdot stories. Cool little devices that do various neat things. And they weren't that expensive. Gadgeteer's delight.


        Now, it seems that the only time X10 is mentioned on slashdot its about their annoying adds.


        You tell me. Is moving a perfect customer base (gadget-loving geeks) from a focus on a product to a focus on an advertising campaign all that good of a move?


        We've all heard that the phrase "there's no such thing as bad publicity." I'm sure there are industries where this is true. However, I can't see how the message "avoid buying this product, whatever it is" is really going to help hardware sales.

      • yeah, and just about everyone knows what herpes is, as well. You don't see too many people rushing out to get, either.

        :)
  • Did you actually write that instroduction to this article?

    This sentence, in particular, is rather confusing: Whether micromarketing of this sort really takes off will depend chicken-and-egg-like on whether a few companies escape being annoying and actually get people interested in what they have to offer.

    Run-on alert!

  • by Matt2000 (29624) on Friday October 12, 2001 @11:10AM (#2419886) Homepage

    The best way for marketing to be effective on me as a consumer is to... wait for it... show me products I am actually interested in.

    Micro/macro/viral marketing call all suck it as far as I'm concerned. Show me things I have even a remote chance of buying and watch as advertising becomes effective for the first time in it's history.
    • And do that... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Greyfox (87712) on Friday October 12, 2001 @11:16AM (#2419935) Homepage Journal
      Without profiling you or intruding on your privacy in any way?

      Man, you don't want much, do you?

      Well, maybe not you per se, but a vocal segment of the slashdot community. There's something fundamental missing for the advertiser. Something simple... maybe he should ask you what you're interested in. That might be a little less annoying than current methods, and allows you to control what information they recieve.

      • You also have a valid point, but there are less invasive ways of target marketing than individual profiling

        For example: The ads on slashdot. The people who run the site know what we look for in ads - first, no annoying javascripts or whavever else - the purpose of the site is to make the viewers happy, first and foremost, and you don't want to lose audience based on your ads. (For reference, see this piece in the FAQ [slashdot.org]
        2nd, the /. ads are targeted for things i want. Rounded IDE cables, geek t-shirts, caffene fixes, webhosting, linux-ready hardware, etc.
        Great example of excellent target audience marketing. Now for a not so good example:

        The "NEW" TNN! - i was thrilled to death last week when they showed Star Trek TNG episodes from like 10 am to 3 am. I think i failed a chem test because i watched too much star trek (see my most recent comment under my user profile). HOWEVER, i just could NOT watch the commercials. They were not targeted at me. TNN didn't realize the demographic that would be watching star trek - instead they put up ads for Miss Cleo (call me naw) and NASCAR, etc.

        You don't have to get invasive to have effective marketing.

        ~Z
      • Without profiling you or intruding on your privacy in any way?

        Man, you don't want much, do you?


        I notice that slashdot tends to have banners that aim toward what geeks like and want. When I click on the finnance link on yahoo, I get adds from brokerage firms and the such. That is INTELEGENT MARKETING. You do not need to snoop around in peoples personal lives to target advertising intelegently. When I am on a Website like Anandtech.com or Tomshardware.com, I hope they have banner adds for PC hardware companies. You sell what people are interested in reading about. So easy and yet so many websites ignore that fundamental.

      • Re:And do that... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CyberKnet (184349) <slashdotNO@SPAMcyberknet.net> on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:43PM (#2420822) Homepage Journal
        I dont quite think that would work though...

        Follows is an actual(*) conversation between a marketing agent and an internet user.

        Salesman: "Hi, I have bunches of products to sell... but I care, I only want to sell you what you WANT to buy. So. What would you like me to advertise?"

        Recipient: "Go away. I dont WANT to be advertised to. I am more than capable of doing my own research."

        Salesman: "OOooh now you've done it. I'm going to monitor your favorite websites, and then I'm going to blast 640x480 popups and banner ads specifically targeted at your browsing habits. Watch out for them, they'll make you buy my stuff anyway!"

        Recipient: "Why cant you just ASK me what I want, huh?"

        (*) Actual conversation made up by myself
    • by iso (87585) <slash AT warpzero DOT info> on Friday October 12, 2001 @11:19AM (#2419954) Homepage
      I would like to point out that in order to find which consumers are interested in a company's product, market research is required. A lot of people around here complain about market research companies harvesting data from people, through cookies and devices like personal video recorders.

      Privacy advocates are up in arms about this kind of research, but these people have to get it through their heads that these companies don't give a fuck who you are. To them you're just a number. A number who happens to like programming books, geek shirts, alternative music and donkey porn. And it is through that information that you can get what you want: "show me products I am actually interested in."

      - j
      • Privacy advocates are up in arms about this kind of research, but these people have to get it through their heads that these companies don't give a fuck who you are. To them you're just a number.

        And this is precisely why I am up in arms about that kind of research: because, to them, I am "just a number." Companies don't care that I am am human with notions of privacy and dignity. I'll take my privacy and dignity over someone else's notion of "what I might want to buy from them" every single time. To companies trying to make money, my privacy and dignity are barriers to their profit-making abilities. What gives them the right to take it?

        And if you argue that people have no privacy, then I reserve the right to clandestinely take photographs of you masturbating and send those photos to everyone who knows you, including your employer, potential employers, and your extended family.
        • this is precisely why I am up in arms about that kind of research: because, to them, I am "just a number."

          You must really have a problem with the census, then, and all the benefits that arise from it and other forms of social research. Intelligent marketers want to achieve the same goals as with any social research project - learn as much as they can about target populations as accurately and efficiently as possible. In the case of marketers, so they will know who best to peddle their wares and what wares will sell best.
          The leap from statistical analysis of populations to the privacy concerns you voiced is a large one. Why moderators continue to confuse slippery slope arguments with true insight is beyond me.
          • You must really have a problem with the census, then

            I do have a problem with the census. The Constitution does not approve that which the leftists have turned the census into.

            and all the benefits that arise from it

            What benefits?

            other forms of social research.

            What other forms of social research? As long as it is consensual, provides recognizable benefit to me, and protects my privacy, I'll probably agree with it.

            Intelligent marketers want to achieve the same goals as with any social research project - learn as much as they can about target populations as accurately and efficiently as possible.

            Totally wrong! The goal for marketers is to make money, and the goal of a non-profit basic social research project is variable. Garnering information about the target population is merely the means to the end.

            The leap from statistical analysis of populations to the privacy concerns you voiced is a large one.

            Since when did I indicate that I was concerned about "statistical analysys of populations"? It seems like you are beating up a strawman to me.

            Why moderators continue to confuse slippery slope arguments with true insight is beyond me.

            "Insightful" is a subjective term. You are not the judge of what is insightful and what is not.
        • And this is precisely why I am up in arms about that kind of research: because, to them, I am "just a number."

          Wow, that's a totally different problem. Though I don't understand what you're rambling on about: if you're just a number then you have your privacy! There's no way of linking the sites you visit or the things you buy to who you are, so what's the problem?

          No privacy is being "taken" from you from "companies tryping to make money." It seems like you may have deeper social issues.

          I reserve the right to clandestinely take photographs of you masturbating and send those photos to everyone who knows you, including your employer, potential employers, and your extended family.

          Well nice idea, but those photos are already available online. Perhaps I could just send you the URL and save you the trouble?

          - j
      • Exactly, you are dead on. I'll just say that google has it right, everything2 could make money if they wanted, and slashdot could probably make a lot more, not through more ads (WHICH ISN'T THE ANSWER) but from being smart about it. I just clicked on an ad for frustration tees from Think Geek. I am likely to buy t-shirts. I am not likely to buy servers, I don't make decisions for a company. Will this be recorded? Not the last time I checked. There are many other ways too, you just have to think.

        Tricking people into looking at shit they don't want... will not make them buy shit they don't want! Oh my god really? Punching the monkey and conning someone out of 2 minutes doesn't make people buy X10 cameras that they don't care about? Etc. That's why internet advertising doesn't work. It could.
      • Privacy advocates are up in arms about this kind of research, but these people have to get it through their heads that these companies don't give a fuck who you are.

        Well, obviously I can't speak for all privacy advocates, but I suspect they don't give a fuck what these companies want. :)

        So they want to target advertising at me? I don't care, I still don't want them to spy on me, nor do I want them to collect and trade my information. Whether that activity is useful for them or not, is totally irrelevant to me.

        Maybe I'm interested in hearing what my neighbours say to each other? How does the amount of interest affect whether I have a right to wiretap their home?

        If you do want targetted advertising, maybe it would make sense to set up a system which lets you specify your interests. That information could be placed in some sort of generally accessible "cookie", or maybe you'd have an opt-in system with advertisers, where you can allow them to track you. If the maintainers of that system take care of that data, maybe people would go for that too.

      • I would like to point out that in order to find which consumers are interested in a company's product, market research is required.

        Please explain to me why, for all of this research and data mining, these companies have not been able to divine the simplest of truths:

        I don't want any of their crap, and I don't want to see and ads for their crap.

        Marketing is not about selling people the things they want. Marketing is about convincing people to buy things that they don't need!

        • > Marketing is not about selling people the things they want. Marketing is about convincing people to buy things that they don't need!

          "If the customer got exactly what he wanted, you haven't sold a thing." - Salesman's adage.

          • I remember some 10 years ago, I went to a big Macintrash show in Boston. We were thinking about adding cache memory to our machine, and we stop at a kiosk of a company making precisely that.

            A guy walks to us, and we start talking. We tell him what do we do with the machine, and he then tells us that it would not help us.

            We're a bit stunned, but not as much as when he handed out his card, we found out he was the president of the company...

            No, I don't remember the name of the company.

        • Marketing is not about selling people the things they want. Marketing is about convincing people to buy things that they don't need!

          But this is absolutely untrue. Advertizing is frequently about convincing people to buy things that they don't need, but

          • That's just one part of advertizing. Sometimes advertizing is about convincing people to buy brand A instead of brand B. They're already going to buy good X, and advertizing is one way to convince them to buy it from your company instead of somebody else's. Occasionally it's even as simple as letting people know about a product that they don't already know about but will want once they find out about it.
          • Advertizing is only one part of marketing. An equally if not more important part of marketing is figuring out what people do want so that you can sell it to them. You may not believe it, but it's actually true. Some companies think that it's a better idea to figure out what people want and how much they're willing to pay for it and sell that rather than coming up with something and then trying to cram it down people's throats.

          Believe it or not, I've actually been offered decent money by at least one company in exchange for my opinions about what their future products should be like. I know plenty of people in my profession who are offered free equipment in exchange for their opinions about how it could be made better and more suitable for its intended market. That's marketing, but it certainly doesn't involve shoving unwanted goods down people's throats.


        • Marketing is not about selling people the things they want. Marketing is about convincing people to buy things that they don't need!


          Well I see you're a subscriptor to Adbusters. So am I. That's great. But before you go off on your little tangent I would like to point out that, unless you live in a basic shack and buy only food to keep yourself alive then, I bet you buy things that you don't need on occassion. And to that end, some day you're going to go buy something, either a product or a service. Something you want; something that isn't fundamentally required for you to remain on this planet. And when you do, it might be handy for you to know, perhaps, where to buy this product or service.

          Now, would it be nice if, when you were out on the Internet perhaps, you saw only those adverisements that were of things in which you were interested? Sure you may not want to buy all of them, but wouldn't it be handy if information about the product or service you wanted was right there infront of you?

          So get down off your high-horse. Yes we are over-saturated with advertising in this world, but that doesnt mean that advertising is inherantly evil. In fact, if advertising were able to be more finely targeted there would be less ads required. Corporations would be able to target their market without plastering ads everywhere and you would get only the information that you are interested in. Advertising can be useful, but you have an open mind about the possibilities.

          - j
        • I don't want any of their crap, and I don't want to see and ads for their crap.

          Marketing is not about selling people the things they want. Marketing is about convincing people to buy things that they don't need!


          I think the -exact- thing every fscking time I get some telemarketer calling me up to 1 - 3 times a day or whenever I have to put in more filters to keep spammers from overloading a server.

          I have never, and will never, buy anything from a telemarketer or spammer (fax & email). I don't know anyone who has either. Apparantly, they must be making money off of some people, otherwise they couldn't:

          Pay people to phone you

          Pay for a big-arsed phone system that blocks caller ID information AND automatically dials your phone# for the telemarketers.

          Pay your credit card co.(or whoever) for your phone# and email address.

          Be bothered doing it.

          And since that's the case, I have a solution. Cut off the source of their income! Let's find the idiots who actually buy from spammers/telemarketers and kill them! :P

          But i digress.....

          • Actually, the caller ID is the phone company selling you out...

            They sell Caller ID, but then sell a service which completely blocks it (like *67, but permanent).

            They then often sell a service to get around the blocking, and some are contemplating selling a service to get around that.

            It'll end up with everyone buying five levels of block/display and ending up with the same situation as now, except that the phone companies will make more money.
        • Please explain to me why, for all of this research and data mining, these companies have not been able to divine the simplest of truths:
          • I don't want any of their crap, and I don't want to see any ads for their crap.

          The following article assumes that you are claiming that (1) you are essentially impervious to any advertising and (2) you are annoyed about having to be exposed to the (useless) advertising.

          Can you explain to my why, if it were possible, Slashdot shouldn't give you the boot?

          As a user of Slashdot, you are using their resources. If there is no advertising that can reach you (which is different from saying that you haven't seen any ads on Slashdot that interest you), then they are simply wasting their money serving you. Why shouldn't they cut you off?

          I'll admit, the tone of the above paragraph was in response to the "how dare they advertise to me!" tone of the parent article. If you want to use resources free of charge, expect to pay for them by being exposed to advertisements. If you don't like the exposure, stop using the resource!
          • Can you explain to my why, if it were possible, Slashdot shouldn't give you the boot?

            Because the ads still appear on my screen, which is what the advertisers are paying Slashdot for.

            . . .they are simply wasting their money serving you. Why shouldn't they cut you off?

            Actually, they are wasting the advertisers money.

            If you want to use resources free of charge, expect to pay for them by being exposed to advertisements. If you don't like the exposure, stop using the resource!

            Slashdot is offered to the public, free of charge. There is no clause that says that you have to like or even look at the ads. There is nothing that says that you can't use some means like editing your hosts file to block them entirely. Advertisers pay anyway because they know that a small minority of users will click the ads and buy products.

            I would gladly pay for an ad free Slashdot.

            And just how many products have you bought through Slashdot banners? Not many (if any) I'll bet. So why shouln't you, or the thousands of other freeloaders get kicked off?

            (Hint: if the number of posters dropped dramatically, the site would be less entertaining for users who do click on the ads.)

      • Privacy advocates are up in arms about this kind of research, but these people have to get it through their heads that these companies don't give a fuck who you are.

        Fair enough, but what happens when someone who does care comes at one of these companies with a subpoena?
        • oh for fucks sake. For the last time, these companies don't care who you are and as a result don't bother to keep information such as your name. If they are permitted only to keep you as a number then you are safe. Sure somebody, somewhere could, theoretically, piece the puzzle together and figure out who did what; but it would be a monumental task, and I pretty much guarantee you're not interesting enough to warrant all that work.

          Y'know being that paranoid will take twenty years off your life from the stress alone.

          - j
    • indeed. and most of the time I am not interested in buying anything. So I block ads. Now if I DO want to buy something.. I''ll look up tests. preferably comparitive tests. Independant tests. I am therefor, by definition, not interested in marketing messages. They don't show me the gamut of products I can choose from. Information gleaned from ads is suspect. "Information" in advertisements is just like statistics: it's not a LIE, but the skewed truth.

      //rdj
    • One form of advertising and marketing that has been proven to be effective, yet in recent time has been under-utilized is networking. Many people are more likely to buy a product or service on the basis that it was recommended to them by a trusted friend. To the company, that's free advertising, and they are not utilizing any of their resources to get new customers. Some companies that I have met through networking groups and chambers of commerce are utilizing networking by offering incentives to customers for providing referrals.
      • In order to do this, you have to sell something that people actually want. Unfortunately, most companies churn out crap that no-one wants or needs. These companies have little alternative to obnoxious, agressive marketing tactics.
      • Funny that's how I read the article, gonzo markets is basicaly networking. Company unleishes its employees in a community, network or what its called today and sells. Employees are risking personal reputation on the merit of the products they make.
    • Actually, that seems to be something that Amazon has started doing very well with their Recommendations feature.

      It's a pretty cool application of a very simple learning algorithm...it presents you with a number of products, and you either say "I'm not interested in that", or "I own it, and this is what I think about it". Slowly but surely, it tunes it's recommendations to things you're likely to enjoy...

      That being said, it's not hugely intelligent, or adventurous...if I say I own all the O'Reilly Perl books, and that I really liked most of them, guess what it's going to recommend? You got it! Perl books! But maybe I'm interested in learning Python...So, it's not perfect, but it is pretty cool...

      Now, if only there were an amazon.ca, so I didn't have to pay exchange on my purchases, I'd be a very happy geek indeed...at least until my credit card bill showed up! ;)

    • by sg3000 (87992) <sg_public AT mac DOT com> on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:48PM (#2420850)
      As the token sleazy marketing guy that reads slashdot, I feel obligated to weigh in there.

      First, to correct someone else who commented earlier, the point of marketing is not to convince someone to buy what they don't need. That's nuts; getting someone to buy something they don't need is no way to build a business. There are, however, two points to marketing:

      1. Differentiation: explain the value of your products to solve a prospect's problems better than those of your competition.
      2. Segmentation: determine what attributes your product has (or needs to have) to solve problems that your prospect is willing to pay to solve. This means either take an existing product to solve the products of different prospects, or start with a market that you're successful in and build something new that solves additional problems.

      So looking at that, let's consider your statement:

      > The best way for marketing to be effective on me
      > as a consumer is to... wait for it... show me
      > products I am actually interested in.

      that's a concise goal, but it raises additional questions.

      > marketing to be effective

      What do we mean by "effective"? What do you do? what problems are you having today and you're trying to solve? what buying decisions are you involved in? how much money do you have? How much are you willing to spend to solve the problems you mentioned? How about your ideas of brand loyalty? How long will you keep the product?

      > show me
      Okay, how? Come to your house? Come to your office? Set up a booth at a trade show? Which ones? Advertise in trade magazines you read? How do I know what you read? Advertise on Slashdot? What if you're blocking ads? How about television ads? What do you watch? Are you using Tivo to skip ads? Do you like billboards? Do you prefer mailing circulars? Is there a more cost effective way of reaching you?

      > products I am actually interested in

      How do I know what you're interested in? Is it related to what you read on the web? Is it related to your job? How about your hobbies? Do you know what specific products you want? How about product categories? What attributes do you consider important in your buying decision? What attributes does your boss force you to have, but you don't think you really need?

      My point is your statement makes perfect sense, but it leads to a lot of other questions as well, which is what complicates the issue. And just like with anything, there are good approaches to it, and bad ones (for the web these would include annoying popup ads, email harvesting, spam, telemarketers, etc.). Just like you, I hate the annoying approaches, but remember, hearing someone say they hate marketing is like when you hear someone say they hate computers. They don't really hate *computers*, they hate the experiences they've had with certain computers (or software programs, or whatever) so far.
    • The best way for marketing to be effective on me as a consumer is to... wait for it... show me products I am actually interested in.

      My favourite example of this is DVDs. Leaving aside the cruddy DRM stuff that's built-in, the idea is sound.

      Any new format has the problem of getting people to actually adopt it. With DVDs, the "bonus materials" are enough to get hardcore movie addicts to switch. Deleted scenes, director's commentary, etc are something you'd want if you were really into movies. Plus, there's quality improvement for those who will pay for it. Thus, the format gets early adopters.

      After the early adopters adopt, they start pressuring video stores to rent DVDs, stores to carry players, etc. Once this happens, it's all downhill.

      The problem with failed formats (minidiscs and videodiscs come right to mind) is that they had no compelling reason for anyone to switch. It was all marketing. The few that do switch aren't influential enough to build the momentum.

      I don't recall seeing any marketing for DVDs until recently, when they were well entrenched in video stores and it was a matter of getting the rest of the public into the DRM trap.

      Greg

  • by Dirk Pitt (90561) on Friday October 12, 2001 @11:10AM (#2419888) Homepage
    but it seems like only Disney could market Gonzo--don't they own the Muppets?


    Wakka wakka wakka!

    • How about Ted Nugent, also known as Gonzo? [metal-reviews.com]
      • FWIW Hunter S. Thompson [levity.com] is also known as Gonzo.

        - j
        • While the book's frenzied style will be compared to that of Hunter S. Thompson, I view the book instead as the first real book written in hyperlink-style. Jumping all over the map and all over the mind in search of gonzo marketing. Scrolling from idea to author to tactic and back again around the horn again.

          A simpler way to put it would be "The book was poorly written".

          Thompson was a satarist, and his twisted style is an element of comic timing. Most of the time, he writes with the intention of seeming like a drug-addled rant. His insights are a reward that is given only to those who can sort out when he is not being completely sarcastic.

          If a book which wants to be taken seriously reminds you of his work, then the author should probably be rushed to rehab immediately. His very life may be in danger.

    • Actually, that "chicken and the egg" part, does strike a chord. As I recall, Gonzo, the muppet was always surrounded by hens... He was ahead of his time!
    • Of course Disney own Gonzo...

      - but they're so afraid of Hunter S. Thompson, they'll never enforce it.

      Any journo who shoots his own typewriter is OK by me 8-)

    • > but it seems like only Disney could market Gonzo--don't they own the Muppets?

      At least one other muppet is known to be a lose cannon.
  • Damn. (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by GoNINzo (32266)
    I thought "finally, a way to market myself!"

    Then I read the fine print. and I was all excited too...

    Course, if you also realize that 'gonzo' also is a method of filming low-budget porno, this book takes on a whole new meaning.

    • Course, if you also realize that 'gonzo' also is a method of filming low-budget porno, this book takes on a whole new meaning.

      "Gonzo" is not a method of filming porn. It has no meaning specific to porn. It is just an adjective roughly equivalent to "outrageous" (gonzo [dictionary.com]).
      • Re:Damn. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tackhead (54550)
        > > Course, if you also realize that 'gonzo' also is a method of filming low-budget porno, this book takes on a whole new meaning.
        >
        > "Gonzo" is not a method of filming porn. It has no meaning specific to porn. It is just an adjective roughly equivalent to "outrageous" (gonzo [dictionary.com]).

        Google query for "Gonzo porn" [google.com]

        I do believe you owe the original poster an apology.

        Though your point - "outrageous" - is equally well-taken.

        For those at work and unable to check out the links, it appears that "gonzo porn" is to "tasteful erotica", as "goatse.cx" is to "national geographic".

        • You are missing the point. The adjective "gonzo" modifies "porn" in the same way that it modifies "advertising" or anything else.

          Thus, "gonzo porn" is to "tasteful erotica", as "gonzo advertising" is to "marketing information sent upon request", or as "gonzo volence" is to "frank portrayal of the occasional brutality of the human condition".
          • Actually, in the 1970's it had a great following as being amateur, graphic, and low-budget stuff. A guy with a hand-held doing his own stuff was termed 'gonzo porn'. It didn't exactly fit in the way gonzo as an adjective normally works, I'm sorry that I did not explain that fully.

            You'll have to trust me on this one. I'm at work and can't surf to a valid link, but having the name 'Gonzo' in real life tends to help when finding new terms for your name.

            but it's a moot point.

        • Google query for "Asparagus porn" [google.com]

          'Nuff said.

  • by Alien54 (180860) on Friday October 12, 2001 @11:15AM (#2419922) Journal
    Earlier marketing models and research have been devoted to controlling the market. This has been done using the very best methods using the best techniques that modern psychology has to offer. This is where the vast majority of the marketing money has gone.

    Yes, If you want to be paranoid, you can call this mind control. Or you can give some other politically correct name and feel better about it.

    But in any case what has happened with the internet is that the monkeys have escaped from their cages, so to speak. This is what the concept of micromarketing has tapped into, but it is more global than that.

    This is because marketing is not just for business. It is also used for political agendas.

    Marketing tries to aggregate people into masses. This is because it is easier to deal with the demographics of large groups of people. Also, large masses of people are easier to manipulate with images and emotions such as fear, sex, etc.

    If you cut the visceral reactions to various images out of the loop, then there is a problem. Then you end up with dealing with individuals with individual thoughts and ideas and experiences. It is far easier to market to a million people as a mass market that to market to a million independent thinking individuals.

    • If you cut the visceral reactions to various images out of the loop, then there is a problem. Then you end up with dealing with individuals with individual thoughts and ideas and experiences.

      Imagine software that could say "he bought nappies last week, and he has a subscription to the racing channel, and he lives near a high crime area, we can take these images and those images and show him a sports car with side impact bars and an immobiliser, priced at what we think he can afford", and do that hundred times a second for a hundred different web site users or even viewers of interactive TV.

      It is far easier to market to a million people as a mass market that to market to a million independent thinking individuals.

      I question this assertion. Think about it this way, maybe you could spent $1M on an advertising campaign to ten million people via traditional media, it costs $0.10 to communicate with each person. Or, you could spend $10M on fancy technology, and show your message to the million visitors to your web site, costing you $10 per person.

      The question is, how many responses (sales) do you need to break even? And how much money are you actually paying for each response?

      It may turn out that it is easier (i.e. costs less for the same net result) to spend the money up front on the technology. Fewer people will see it, it will cost more per person, but maybe the net result will be ten thousand actual sales rather than a hundred, if you do it right. It's only difficult because it's new: I bet that selling washing powder and automobiles was poorly understood at one point too.

      The issue isn't mass psychology, per se, it's what I will call meta-psychology, a heuristic for tailoring the delivery of a message based on the characteristics of the recipient. If there is a scalable way to analyze clickstream and past buying patterns, running meta-psychology algorithms over that data and build an ad campaign on the fly from relatively generic assets, and you can buy that software off the shelf from Oracle, then the game changes, radically.
      • I question this assertion. Think about it this way, maybe you could spent $1M on an advertising campaign to ten million people via traditional media, it costs $0.10 to communicate with each person. Or, you could spend $10M on fancy technology, and show your message to the million visitors to your web site, costing you $10 per person.

        I was thinking that the cost of individualizing and tailoring the ads to a million people on a one by one basis would be more than the costs of for a broad demographic. As in "this one responds better to red, that one to blue" etc.

  • Micromarketing does a much better job than mass marketing. If an ad company sees that I am looking around for car prices, then hell, let them show me ads for cars. If they collect the data from my web surfing, and see that I am in the market for a new PC, then by golly, show me prices and products! Personally, I would much rather see MegaUltraSuperComputerWorld's prices on new CPU's than a "new herbal cure for arthritis". We're not going to get rid of marketing, so why not settle for targeted marketing? Any ad agencies reading? My interests are BMW's and BWM accessories, Linux, and PC hardware. Let the ads come!
  • Perhaps I don't fully understand "Gonzo Marketing" (advertisers are so cutting edge and wacky) but from what I understand of micromarketing it is what the scum of the earth will use to get you to own worthless crap(as Deltron says "Flame on, baby, flame on").

    Seriously though, I am assuming this is a wider version of target marketing which basically says that you advertise certain products to certain markets based on things such as where you live (ie certain zipcodes are broken down into more or less "Trucks and Guns," "Ferraris and Hottubs" etc) so that those money isn't wasted on those who aren't considered part of the intended audience. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this in theory. The problem comes, I think, on more subtle planes. MacLaughlin writes But globalization has been cutting the mass market into smaller and smaller pieces for many years now. This is true and this is where target marketing comes in. It takes those small slices and feeds them only the type of items that they as a group are expected to want. Sure, this is pure theory, but what certain folks like Joseph Turow [uchicago.edu] argue in his book Breaking Up America explicate, in a manner much more lucid than this, is that target marketing just further divides Americans into small non-interchangeable sections that have images as ideals that are only created for them (to bastardize his arguement).

    So, Gonzo marketing. Ford is giving its employees computers to go out into the web community, watch them and figure out what they like, what they want, how they talk, how they communicate. But what is the goal? The goal is to create images that reflect what small segments of the population want. Life becomes less of a search and more of a pick and choose. Employees become employees around the clock, walking viral marketers. Citizenship takes a backseat to selling and we all become full time spies for our companies. Great.

    Anyhow, personally I don't like it.
  • All these principles make sense and on paper work great. However, it's been tried before - it was called viral marketing (and don't tell me that employees of .com-s in 98-early '00 were not enthusiastic about their jobs and true embassadors, I was living in the bay area at the time and could feel it from every friend I had). Most companies found that in order for the "viral" part to work they had to give away a service/product that costs them money for free. Later, they started charging for it and that's when the real test came and in many cases the virally added consumers that came for the freebies left. The only viral service I can think of that I still use now that it isn't operating on a loss is Snapfish [snapfish.com]. I like their processing and posting (good for overseas parents) and this way I don't have to remember to pick up my photos. Still, if I found out that they were way more expensive than other alternatives I'd drop them in a heartbeat. Lucky for me they're priced well.
  • micromarkets (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SirSlud (67381) on Friday October 12, 2001 @11:42AM (#2420081) Homepage
    ... are basically a return to the idea of mom & pop. We all find blanket marketing annoying, but we have friends who 'advertise' whatever they are interested in to us, every day, and it doesn't bother us. It's perception. If we feel that the carrier of the message has alot to gain from you being receptive, we're more likely to 'rebel'. Much of this subject centers around the perceived gain of communication .. ie, some employee/salesperson posting on a board or hosting a community or whathave you. Since the messanger isn't "CORP X" but "Joe who works for CORP X", we tend to think less about putting more money in the pocket of the company and more about Joe probably saying what he's saying because he /believes/ in it. He's not going to win a zillion dollars if the communication results in a sale (hell, the company has no way of really tying you back to him), nor is he going to lose his job (unless he truely is a salesperson) if you subsequently decide not to purchase, or do so from a competitor.

    So, we had: people at company -> communication/marketing dept -> you

    And the dream is: people at company -> marketing dept -> people at company -> you

    Which is best for all of us, as it puts social responsibility and accountibility back in the hands of a community (ie, community of exployees) rather than the all-or-nothing super-hygenic communication that comes out of board-meeting-inspired mass ad campaigns. Note that I am not saying that the form and message of that communication won't still go through the marketing dept and PR-sanitizers, but for the most part, humans want to talk to humans; not answering machines, billboards, or any other one-to-many communication platform.

    I mean, at the end of the day, we all work for companies, and I don't believe we're all evil. We are just capable of intrusive or annoying behaviour far better when our names and individuality is 'trimmed' from the communication. People are very very cynical today about advertising, but we have to understand that we all, to some extent, depend on it. The goal is to balance the needs of the consumer (to allow them to distinguish between marketing and personal communication) while bringing marketing more inline with the types of communication that we actually enjoy and participate in every day.
  • by sphealey (2855) on Friday October 12, 2001 @11:46AM (#2420110)
    There was a lot of excitement around "The Cluetrain Manifesto" when it was first published.

    Personally, I found it to be similar in many ways to "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People": a couple of useful observations and good ideas, wrapped up in many pages of useless blather, pseudo-religion, annoying condescension, and obviousity.

    Has anyone seen any effect, anywhere in the world or the world's economy, resulting from the publication of "Cluetrain"? From the perspective of late 2001, that is, with all the dotbombs now fully buried, not 1999.

    sPh
  • I would LOVE for my PVR to track my viewing habits for the networks/ cable syndicates. I would love for my grocery store to have a profile of how I buy my groceries. In return it would be nice if I could get a discount for allowing by personal habits to be tracked, but I'd settle for just not haveing the information linked to me personally.

    I love the idea of easly aggregated data. Maybe then someone will figure out that there are untapped "micro" markets outside the mainstream.

    I don't buy most of the crap that is sold and most of the crap that is sold isn't aimed at me. But that doesn't mean that there aren't 100K just like me out there (maybe more!) And I'm sure there is someone out there that would love to provide the services I am interested in so I'll part with my cash!
  • What happened to the time when companies would start small and then grow? In the "internet age" people want to get rich quick, which doesn't work unless you're in a tech bubble (pop!)

    There are definately good internet businesses out there. My favorite is DreamHost [dreamhost.com]. All Debian, hosting 30,000 domains now, handled my site getting slashdotted last month, and no annoying money-making-schemes. It's a place that's run by programmers, for programmers, and therefore it is excellent for people wanting php, mysql, perl, shell, encryption, etc etc etc.

    The only companies that need agressive marketing are the ones that people would not normally buy products from.

    Travis
  • WTF is this?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by denshi (173594) <toddg@math.utexas.edu> on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:07PM (#2420209) Homepage Journal
    Gonzo Marketing doesn't tell companies they can't market to customers -- but that they need to radically rethink how they communicate. Before the automobile, the transcontinental railroad was the only easy way to get to the west coast. Before the Internet, mass marketing was the only easy way you could communicate on a global scale. And the railroads of old were just as inefficient and costly as the bloated marketing budgets of today.
    What kind of stupid analogy is this?? 'railroads inefficient and costly'? WTF planet are you on? The auto is a fantastically inefficient vehicle compared to a rail system. The auto generally expends, minimum, 3 times the fuel that a train expends when transporting proportional masses. There's a reason trains, rather than sedans, are used for freight. MacLauglin is spouting some kind of stupid American 'my car is god' fetishism. It's getting in the way.

    There are real economic trends that support "Gonzo Marketing". Much of it will come true. But this kind of bad writing isn't helping. One trend is that everyone is this future will be a writing. Hopefully MacLaughlin takes some time between now and then to learn how to write effectively.

  • by sharkey (16670) on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:09PM (#2420217)
    Locke wrote the book, but I want to hear Demosthenes take on the book and subject before I buy it.
  • by sulli (195030)
    The experts and evangelists range from Marshall McLuhan to Noam Chomsky to Sergio Zyman and Seth Godin

    Which makes it just as useful as Slashdot!

  • by streetlawyer (169828) on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:43PM (#2420434) Homepage
    If an unqualified publicist with no experience in computer programming or project management wrote a book saying that all previous models of software development were wrong, providing no quantitative evidence for his thesis but insulting everyone who didn't sgree with him for not having a "clue", then how seriously would you expect him to be taken?



    Oh yeh, I forgot, Eric Raymond. Well, carry on then I guess.


    • You forget that Raymond was/is both a programmer and a project maintainer. When you read his technical opinions you can tell whether or not he is cluefull.


      And none of us needs him to tell us who's clueless, its fairly obvious. Perhaps the people be so labeled may regard such a statement as a flame, where others look upon it as merely accurate.


      The reason anybody listens to him is because he's good at explaining what a lot of us already know- especially to people who dont.

      • And none of us needs him to tell us who's clueless, its fairly obvious.

        It is always blindingly obvious to the "clueful" who is "clueful" and who is "clueless".

        The problem is, it is often just as obvious to others that those who consider themselves "clueful" are one or more of (a) immature (b) naive (c) ill-educated (d) insufficiently experienced (e) obnoxious (f) possessed of a 6th-grade sense of humour, and a 6th-grader's conviction that he is the funniest thing in the world.

        It is not always so obvious to others that the "clueful" are in fact any smarter than the rest of us. As witness the dotbomb debacle of 2001.

        sPh

    • ITYM JonKatz. :)

  • a chapter on buzzwords? trying to use language that sounds "hip" or "cool" or "cutting edge" to entice people? like "gonzo marketing"?

    marketer: "gonzo marketing"? what the hell is that? wow, this guy must be some kind of "guru" on the "bleeding edge". i want to be sure i'm up to speed on the latest techniques in this "new economy" world. gosh, maybe us marketing guys will finally have an impressive array of lingo and abbreviations like the programmers do. woo hoo!

  • by Hieronymus Howard (215725) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:25PM (#2420704)
    * You go to a party and you see an attractive girl across the room. You go up to her and say, "Hi, I'm great in bed, how about it?".
    That's Direct Marketing.

    * You go to a party and you see an attractive girl across the room. You give your friend a $10. She goes up and says "Hi, my friend over there is great in bed, how about it?".
    That's Advertising.

    * You go to a party and you see an attractive girl across the room. You somehow mop up her mobile number. You call, talk to her a while and then say "I am great in bed, how about it?"
    That's Tele-Marketing.

    * You go to a party and you see an attractive girl across the room. You recognize her. You walk up to her, refresh her memory and get her to laugh and giggle and then suggest, "I am great in bed, how about it?".
    That's Customer Relationship Management.

    * You go to a party and you see an attractive girl across the room. You walk around playing Mr. Busy. You put on your best smile and walk around being Mr. Congenial. You stand straight, you talk soft and smooth, you open the door for the ladies, you smile like a dream, you set an aura around you playing the Mr. Gentleman and then you move up to the girl and say, "Hi, I am great in bed, how about it?".
    That's Hard Selling.

    * You go to a party, you see an attractive girl across the room. SHE COMES OVER and says, "Hi, I hear you're great in bed, how about it?"
    Now THAT is the power of Branding.

  • I view the book instead as the first real book written in hyperlink-style

    James Burke has already done that sort of thing, in The Pinball Effect and The Knowledge Web -- any time a subject in the book (histories of technology, effectively the companion books to TLC's Connections 2 and Connections 3 series respectively) has references in other parts of the book, he provides the page number and an id for that reference in the margin, so you can switch gears and see where the same invention or event had other effects described in the book instead of just following the text in order or having to check the index to cross-reference the subject.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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