The Network is the Consumer!


Apologies for mangling SUN’s famous line from the early 90s. However, just as SUN got it years before Cloud became sexy, savvy digital marketers need to firmly embed this idea of The Network is the Consumer in everything they do. Which requires them to rapidly jettison the Digital is One to One marketing mantra that is at the root of most of what is wrong with digital marketing today.

Network is Consumer

Others have made this point before, but since the lesson doesn’t seem to have been learnt here I go again.

Here are my 2 cents (isn’t it  all about micropayments these days!):

Don’t be in Denial

You can only course correct if you first accept that you have been part of the One to One marketing groupthink. Digital marketers name their  agencies to reflect this – e.g. OgilvyOne, One to One Interactive!


How did we get like this?

  The majority of Digital Marketers are migrants from conventional advertising and marketing where mass media is spray and pray and targeting is a big problem. What an Aha moment when digital gave us the ability to fix, track and deliver an ultra-targeted, personalized experience! Great but what after that? Targeting ? product adoption.

Shouldn’t One to One have been One and One and yet another  One?

Wishful Thinking Exposed

The terms viral marketing or network effect seem familiar? – Yes? Then how do digital marketers justify kidding themselves that the 500 people who visited the online brand quiz contest today all clicked these One to One targeted banner ads / emails / SEO thing ma jigs.

Chances are someone pasted the link on Gtalk, shared the URL on their Facebook Wall or walked across the office floor and sat with his/her colleague to take a crack at the quiz.

What does this Mean

Don’t look at the target audience as silos whom you can now individually get to with your precision Laser Guided Digital Weapons .  Look at them as a bunch of dominos, albeit stacked not that neatly. If you can get a great chain reaction going you’ll be getting each member of that audience to do the job for you.

Interactive connotes Participation – right? But who said it had to be only between the computer the consumer.

Back to Basics

Remember this from Consumer Behavior 101.


This stuff exists from the time, when we were all brick and mortar. It recognizes that given a Bell Curve population, product adoption takes place in a certain way.

What Digital does give us – are the tools to accelerate that process by simplifying logistics for the early adopters to spread the word.  From Word of Mouth to Word Of Mouse – it was and always will be, social.

So that was my take on moving Digital Marketing from the dark side to the SUN :-)

What do you think? What has been your experience in either creating networks or in One to One?

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