Forrester's Charlene Li recently presented that marketers are facing a future in which they will be giving up a degree of control. (Her presentation was covered by DMNews.) Her point was that blogs and other "social computing" mechanisms shift the dialogue over products outside the product vendor's control. The article got me thinking and there may be an even more significant trend afoot here.
Today's online consumers are more educated, more aware, and have more options at their fingertips than any time in history. Marketing is following the same trend. Marketers will be forced to acquiesce if they want to build lasting relationships with customers. Those who focus on the message they want to send, rather than the message people want to receive, ultimately will find themselves with nobody to talk to.
Going forward, we will have to begin to accept that interruption marketing is losing its teeth. Digital TiVo kills television ads; satellite XM and Sirius kill radio ads; the Web is killing newspapers. And even online, RSS newsletters most certainly will appeal to some subscribers more than email. (RSS delivery doesn't require a user to share his or her email address, making things that much more difficult for would-be spammers.)
When marketers abuse low-cost channels like email today, the consumer hits the "spam" button. While this makes deliverability that much harder, marketers still have the email address and can still attempt reach out and market to the consumer again. In the future, the power of the marketing channel will continue to shift toward the consumer. Tools like RSS let consumers "hang up" on marketers and effectively terminate any future marketing.
In the future, successful marketers will be more relevant, more creative and more respectful of their audience than any time in history. The great news is that there is once again an opportunity for truly innovative marketers to pull ahead of the pack.