Another bad advertising idea

Evelyn Rodriguez argues in favor of blogs over advertising: "At the risk of coming across anti-advertising (on second thought: so what?), I guess I'm feeling compelled to chime in with the recent discussions around the Mozilla Firefox campaign to raise money for a six-figure full-page ad in New York Times. I'm feeling pretty emotional about this right now, as I'm choked up thinking what one could do with a $100,000 marketing (not advertising) budget. I'll offer specific suggestions when I've calmed down."

Firefox is winning the pioneers through word-of-mouth, the most powerful marketing method. Next they must target the thought leaders to get credibility with the settlers. Their message ("better than IE without all the security problems") certainly resonates with people who want a safer internet experience, those frustrated with viruses and pop-ups and other internet junk. I thought experts were agreed that advertising works only to keep the number one position, not to attain it. (But then, maybe the Mozilla crowd is a bunch of engineers playing at marketing.) Advertising teaches the sheep who the number one vendor is. Advertising makes sense for Dell and Microsoft and IBM, companies with lots and lots of money to tell sheep what vendor to buy.

Many now argue that we are living in a world of new media, where the traditional avenues don't work because the influential neither write them nor read them. We read books when they are mentioned in our favorite online venue, rarely when they are mentioned in the local newspaper. We consider products when they are profiled online; I can't think of a time when I've spotted an interesting product blurb in a magazine or newspaper. The internet bust happened because companies were obsessed with technology, the old idea that if it's possible it must be useful. The new internet boom is about content, giving voice to those with the knowledge rather than those with the presses.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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