If everyone can do something (like create an online video), doesn’t that mean that the overall quality of video production drops?
In fact, I was asked a similar question recently via email. The actual question was: "With the stellar rise of citizen journalist, do you think that there is a watering down of real quality journalism or can we all live happily together?" In fact, I would argue that the exact opposite is true. If more and more people can do something – like create a video – it forces those that produce videos to up their game. It forces them to be that much more creative and clever because now they don’t have to be better than the top competitors in their field, they have to be better than everyone else.
It’s true for video production. It’s true for journalism. It’s true for Marketing.
It used to be easy (ok, easier) for Marketers to get attention: simply outspend your competitors on television ads, place them on TV when the majority of the population that is in your target demographic is watching, make the offer somewhat compelling and you’re set. In a world where anyone can create messages about your brand (in text, audio, video and images) and can distribute them for next to nothing (thank you Intertubes!), the quality level does not drop, it’s the quantity level you have to deal with.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: the Digital Marketing sphere favours the quality not quantity.
That doesn’t mean that there is less junk and irrelevant content out there (there’s plenty of that), but the best ideas still do spread (as Seth Godin would say). Consumers might say things like, "wow, there sure are a lot of videos on YouTube," or "this website has a ton of content," but what helps them get through the chaff in order to find the wheat is referrals (from those they know and those they don’t know), search engines and more powerful filtering tools (think RSS, news readers, news alerts and more). This is a huge opportunity for Marketers as we head into 2010.
Now, more than ever, getting the right message in front of the right people should be easier.
You just have to do the very hard work of being creative, being active within their communities and engaging with them (in a very human, real and meaningful way). It’s not easy to do, and only a few big brands have really ventured down this path successfully, but this is how things are right now (and how they’re going to be for the foreseeable future). It’s also not a direct-response type of strategy. It’s different, and the questions you have to ask yourself must shift from, "will this help us sell x amount of product this quarter?" to "what’s our business going to look like in three years if we simply ignore these very real changes?"
It’s scary. It’s not easy, but what choice do we have?