Open Source Marketing?

Successful marketing and Public Relations programs adapt to changes in their audiences.  Whether those changes are the adoption of new technology or changes in behavior, it’s essential that programs reflect those differences.

There’s a lot of hype online about blogs and RSS, which are both growing nicely, and they will ultimately become an everyday part of corporate and personal marketing campaigns. But there are other changes afoot.

The Cluetrain Manifesto has finally infiltrated marketing departments around the world.  Marketers are increasingly aware of the need to reach out and connect with consumers and influencers in a personal manner. Blogs are one of the tools which enable this person-centric communication, but it’s broader than blogs.

We need to think about how we engage with our audience.  How do they find information, how do they share that information.  There’s loads of opportunities for organizations that think through these issues.  The important point is that you need to be addressing these changes.  They still apply to a small proportion of the total market, but it’s growing fast.

James Cherkoff has published a ChangeThis manifesto titled “What is Open Source Marketing” which looks at many of these issues.  Just as James Governor over at Red Monk believes industry analysts can learn from the success of Open Source, Cherkoff tries to apply some of the same open source principles to general marketing practice.

“A new breed of marketers is emerging with a different vision of the world. Inspired by websites such as The Cluetrain Manifesto, they understand the mindset of the modern consumer and the influence of open source values.”

Cherkoff provides an interesting read and also offers some modern context for this growth in the number of consumers actively choosing what information they will use and where they will find it.

Although the original Cluetrain book is nearly six years old, it should still be your starting point on this journey. While the economy and technology have moved in the meantime, it still provides the best thinking on the need for organizations to learn about one-to-one communication.


Dan Gillmor‘s book We the media is another must-read if you’re interested in how your audience and media are changing.