f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: On Marketing, Promotion, and Community

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Thursday, December 01, 2005

On Marketing, Promotion, and Community

We spent a good bit of the lunch hour yesterday talking about nefarious marketing folk and the insidious ways they work. (Mind you I was in marketing for 6 years, so count me among them.)

A big new trend seems to be focused on marketing that doesn’t look like marketing. “Guerilla marketing” it’s often called. You know of what I speak.

Some seem relatively harmless:

A charming, young (paid) couple is out on the streets of New York. They look like tourists. They ask passer-bys to take pictures of them with this neato new gadget. The person snaps a shot, admires the gadget for a second, may inquire about it (and receive a glowing report), and the they’re on their way.

Others seem more dangerous:

A beautiful woman at a bar “hits it off” with a charming man who asks her to buy a drink. She’s paid by the liquor company to order a specific brand of vodka. They talk some more. She steers the conversation to the vodka when she can.

Our country has enough issues at the moment with fractured community and lack of interpersonal trust that we don’t need another reason to hesitate over the “realness” of basic human interaction. Either that, or we’ll fight all the harder to promote “our” needs.

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The web doesn’t help. Digital community seems even more difficult than real community. It’s easy to just start another blog, start another site, and be one of the many voices crying out.

Which is why I’m thankful for the community you guys have formed. In small ways on the comment boards here and in large ways in the discussion board community. You’ve honored the fact that there’s a space for self-promotion (Publishing Credits), you’ve engaged with each other both critically and humorously. You’ve even put up with me launching a megalomaniacal two-week session of literary navel-gazing.

I don’t have much to say beyond that. If you’re part of the community, give it some thought. (And while you're thinking, please enjoy a cool, crisp Cherry Coke.)