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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Thinking and Feeling

Dave Rogers has done it again and written back to back excellent pieces on why Markets are not Conversations.

Dave points out that

...Marketing messages are mostly about emotions, creating impressions.
...The problem is that more and more of our language is being influenced by the methods of marketing, where explicit meaning is deprecated in favor of an emotional impression.

Dave points out that the goal of marketing is to get your attention and to get you to surrender some of your authority usually in the form of a purchase. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, it's just important to understand the framework.

Noted Cluetrain author, David Weinberger responded to Dave and pointed out in the comments:
If you think that the phrase "Markets are conversations" means that all markets are always conversations, then you've misunderstood Cluetrain. That book was an argument that marketing _ought_ to engage in conversations, instead of what it's been doing for generations.

I never realized that the Cluetrain authors meant that marketing _ought_ to engage in conversations. That seems like some decent advice, but given that the Cluetrainers often use conversation as a substitute for communication, I'm not sure that marketers should communicate is exactly meme-spreading material.

Dr Weinberger also notes:

...when we hear marketing rhetoric we've learned not to take words too seriously.

I think this highlights Dave Rogers point that marketers are not too concerned with the meanings of the words they use, which is troublesome to some people.

It could be that this is a faceoff between the Myers and Briggs personality types of thinking and feeling:

Thinking (T)
When I make a decision, I like to find the basic truth or principle to be applied, regardless of the specific situation involved. I like to analyze pros and cons, and then be consistent and logical in deciding. I try to be impersonal, so I won’t let my personal wishes--or other people’s wishes--influence me.

Feeling (F)
I believe I can make the best decisions by weighing what people care about and the points-of-view of persons involved in a situation. I am concerned with values and what is the best for the people involved. I like to do whatever will establish or maintain harmony. In my relationships, I appear caring, warm, and tactful

It seems clear that people like Dave Rogers would lean towards the thinking category, while the metaphorically-oriented marketers like David and Doc Searls lean in the direction of the feeling category.

Arnold Kling wrote a good piece about the thinking and feeling categories as it applies to the political spectrum and would be well worth your time to give it a read if this kind of stuff interests you.