Will you have to throw your marketing outside of the window ?

McKinsey recently issued a report entitled Managing beyond web 2.0 which is about constraints businesses are meeting in a connected world. Those who relied on the title to pounce on it may have been very disappointed since it’s more about the realtionships between businesses and their ecosystems than about internal management issues. But that’s not because I didn’t found the title relevant that the content wasn’t worth. Those who are used to the subject may not learn lots of things but the McKinsey stamp will attract conservative people that are often reluctant to web 2.0 things and will help others to provide their superiors with a document that will be considered as a more trusted source than a blog.

The starting point is known by everyone. In a world that gets more interconnected everyday, consumers do things on thgeir own that are totally out of marketing people’s control and do not always please them. They make their own opinion on a produc, give pieces of advice the one to the other, share their positive and negative feedbacks, propose ideas to improve products or to conceive new ones. Consequence : some say nice things about a product, passionate communities are forming. But the opposite also happens.

The truth is that marketing depts do not control what’s said about products anymore. Worse, people don’t listen to marketers anymore. Hence the consequence (hastily ?) drawn by the report : marketing is being replaced. Consequence : rather than keeping pushing messages, businesses should listen. That’s not without reminding me of the community management debate. Those who are passionate about this issue should read how Xavier Comtesse revisited the value chain, taking into account the 2.0 paradigm and the concept of “consumActor” (detailed here) and very well illustrated by this chart.


I won’t add anything about ideagoras, crowdsourcing and similar things that have already been discussed a lot on this blog and all over the web. But it’s obvious everything is converging. One more example of business socialization.

McKinsey proposes a pragmatic model judiciously called LEAD (listen, experiment,apply,develop). By the way, it does not bring anything new to the abundant litterature on the topic. More, it has already been implemented by many businesses (P&G for instance). At the end, by pointing at marketing’s weaknesses, it’s the need for a re-invented innovation that’s highlighted.

Beyond my disagreement on the title, I don’t thing that the conclusion that has to be drawn from the report is the pointlessness of marketing. Marketing only has to be rethought regarding a value chain that should be coherent with today’s business context and highly involved in innovation processes (and idea sourcing) which are the the fuel that will power companies in the upcoming years. This is the needed shift from a logic of local push to a global pull one.

As for the conclusion that suggest businesses have to get prepared for web 3.0 I let you make your own opinion. Nobody knows how the future will look like, and since businesses are only starting to understand how to embrace web 2.0 without mistakes and unnecessary worryings, I find the injunction irrelevant, premature and superflous.

This document is not about internal issues. But drawing its consequences in terms of management would be an interesting exercise…and I’m sure McKinsey have its ideas about that.

Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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