All Marketers Are Liars
I just watched this video of Seth Godin speaking to Google employees in early 2006. Mr. Godin mostly talks about the implications of network effects on product/market development. (Network effects come about when there the strength of a product to an individual depends upon the number [and importance] of other users.) I suppose that it really isn't something new... I'm sure that every MBA strategy class discusses network effects to some degree, and every marketing class discusses the importance of early adopters. (I remember the case study on contact lenses for chickens.) But maybe the technological development of the past decade has really enabled network effects in areas where they haven't been before.
Mr. Godin advocated getting your customers to talk to each other. Certainly there are many more ways for people to communicate. And communicate with strangers and those outside geographical bounds. Blogs, newsgroups, rating sites, portals, wikis, etc. Happy customers are the best spokespeople. (The flip side is that it takes only a couple of missteps to ruin one's reputation.) On the other side of it, the companies can use those same tools to find small subset of people that are really interested. I like the idea that the most profitable advertising is the most focused, i.e. spam, mass mailings, and other interruption-based marketing don't work.
Anyway, I had watched the video because I was interested in Mr. Godin's presentation skills. Well worth it. His blog seems interesting, too.