Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Leveraging social media in gorilla and viral marketing as great business equalizers: a reconsideration of business disintermediation and from multiple perspectives 5

Posted in book recommendations, social networking and business, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on November 10, 2017

This is my fifth posting to a series on disintermediation, focusing on how this enables marketing options such as gorilla and viral marketing, but also considering how it shapes and influences businesses as a whole. My focus here may be marketing oriented, but marketing per se only makes sense when considered in the larger context of the business carrying it out and the marketplace it is directed towards (see Social Networking and Business 2, postings 278 and loosely following for Parts 1-4.)

I have been discussing two very different business scenarios in this series since its Part 2, which I repeat the basic starting descriptions of for purposes of clearer continuity of narrative:

• A new, young, small startup that seeks to leverage its liquidity and other assets available as creatively and effectively as possible, and from its day one when it is just starting to develop the basic template that it would scale up from,
• And a larger, established business that has become at least somewhat complacent and somewhat sclerotic in the process, and with holdover systems and organizational process flows that might not reflect current actual needs or opportunities faced.

And in the course of my ensuing discussion of them up to here, I have at least briefly sketched out why a new and still small business would be drawn to resource expenditure approaches such as gorilla and viral marketing, and disintermediated communications marketing in general. And at the same time I at least briefly sketched out why a business that fit the pattern of my second bullet point there, would face challenges if it tried pursuing that type of approach, at least if it did not make some fundamental changes in the systems that its marketing would have to fit into, in-house and on its side of the conversations entered into there.

It is also possible to note and discuss the in-house problems that startups can face when attempting to effectively deploy these marketing approaches, and how and why a larger and more settled business would need to pursue that type of marketing approach in the face of its resource and other limitations too. My goal for this posting is to at least begin to address this set of issues, and certainly from the larger and more established business perspective. And I begin that by repeating some questions that I posed at the end of Part 4 in anticipation of this next series installment:

1. How best can an established business that is set in its more traditional ways, break away from their perhaps long-established patterns as necessary, to bring in innovative new approaches such as disintermediated marketing?
2. How can such a business make this work for them, and in ways that do not simply leave any value potential created, lost in the complexities of the rest of their business?
3. And can an established and even at least somewhat sclerotic business use the introduction of new and different, such as gorilla or viral marketing as a starting point for reinvigorating and updating the business as a whole, and if so, how?

I begin addressing Point 1 of this list, by raising a set of points of observation and conclusion that should sound familiar to anyone who has followed my blog here, and certainly insofar as I have addressed the issues of change management and course correction in a business, or the issues of bringing a business to be more agile and resilient in the face of change. Ultimately, the only way that a business that fits the pattern of the second scenario as offered at the top of this posting, can make effective change of any type, is if it starts out by more fully understanding where it is now.

• “Long established” as a business process or business strategy descriptor is usually at least to a significant degree, and alternative way of saying “taken for granted and invisible for that.”

Established and settled businesses become sclerotic precisely because they become calcified in their networks of unconsidered and even effectively invisible systems, that with time are certain to drift out of effective relevance for never being updated to keep them current and relevant. I have written about this set of issues in detail, on a number of occasions over the years now in this blog, and simply cite one relevant source of such references here, for anyone who would wish to explore that complex of issues in more detail: my currently running series Building a Business for Resilience (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 542 and loosely following for its installments.)

Knowing where change in business systems might be both necessary and possible in such a business, can and often does begin with a vision of how an alternative to their here-and-now is both possible and effective in other businesses, and for direct competitors in particular that are not burdened with their levels of systems and processes calcification: their levels of business sclerosis for at least some significantly important, value creating set of processes in their business systems. Think of this series as taking that general business-wide point of observation out of the abstract, with the specific example of moving their marketing out of the staid and routine and yes … “functionally dysfunctional,” and away from what might seem boring and disconnected to any target audience, and into New and more actively engaging for them. Effective marketing has to be fresh, and certainly to any target audience, if it is to work effectively. And that does not just mean fresh for its specific message content. It has to mean fresh for its overall format and its way of communication too.

Think of Marshall McLuhan’s famous dictum: “the medium is the massage”, in this regard (here is a link to a free PDF formatted copy of: McLuhan’s original book by that name where he first introduced this understanding.) The emergence of the interactive online experience as a means of effectively anywhere to anywhere, anyone to anyone communications capability, and of direct connection media has brought change to his basic message, but mostly by making it more compellingly direct and meaningful and for all of us, than McLuhan himself could have ever imagined, with a myriad of media channels: standard and generic, and customized and personalized to the tightly defined demographic and even to the individual, all competing for our attention, and all of the time. No wonder, staid and taken for granted and at least a bit sclerotic tends to get at least somewhat lost in all of that! And that circumstance is just going to become more and more likely in the coming years too.

A business that needs to break out of such a rut has to be able to see a need for that and it has to actually do so, and through specific actions that they can bring into focus for specific prioritization, planning and execution. They need, baring disruptive insight from among their own ranks and a capacity to recognize and develop that, at least a basic outside role model that they can build towards and make their own in the process. And they need a willingness to actually take the risks involved in stepping out into what for them is the unknown, to actually do this: and in the face of resistance and friction and misunderstanding on the part of those who are afraid of change and its impact on them in the business, and its possible impact on the business as a whole too. And this brings me directly to Point 2 from the above to-address list. I will continue this discussion in a next series installment with that. Then after completing a discussion of that topic point and Point 3, I will turn back to reconsider startups and how they can face challenges attempting to use disintermediated marketing approaches such as gorilla and viral marketing, with consideration of both potential problems and potential opportunities that can arise there.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory. You can find this and related postings at Social Networking and Business 2, and also see that directory’s Page 1.

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