Marketers Struggle with Control

    May 30, 2007

Message control. Marketers ask me about it every day. People keep telling me they are struggling to control the message. But they don’t like what I say next: "Give up."

Marketers who want control need a new profession. I’m not sure that message control ever really existed to the extent we deluded itself that it did, but it sure ain’t here anymore. People rate your products, they comment on your blogs, they write blogs of their own, and they create hate sites if you really aren’t listening.

As The Cluetrain Manifesto predicted, marketing is a conversation.

And no one controls a conversation. When marketers start looking for influence over what their customers think, decide, and do, rather than seeking control over the message, that’s when they’ll be successful. Customers don’t want messages controlled, and they give no influence to those who try that. They ignore them.