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April 5, 2006

Learning how to thrive while being out of control

(Posted by francois to: Strategy | marketing )

remote control sm.jpgDo you feel like you are losing control? Are your customers taking over your marketing? Are your customers and suppliers getting involved in designing your products? Do you feel like you cannot control your team anymore?

Welcome to the age of control-less management. One way or the other you will have to learn to thrive in a control-less environment or you will commit yourself to obsolescence.

Co-creation of products without being in control can lead to wonderful innovations. In speaking with Johnnie Moore last week, he mentioned the use of some fun improv-based exercises with groups of people that do not know one another where they co-create things in a totally control-less environments. You can read up on some of those exercises in a published paper on the More Space Project.

The same is true for consumer-generated marketing, or for what the Church of the Customer folks call "citizen marketers." You can chose to ignore them and find your next unfavorable ad on YouTube, or you can decide to harness this form of self-organization and turn it into a real powerful competitive weapon.

Now if you accept that control has shifted out of your hands, a recent article published in Point (AdAge's CMO Publication - requires subscription) warns that there are still two dangers in not treating the phenomenon of consumer control with the respect it demands. The first is to interact with consumers without following up, while another is to try to prevent criticism or influence the conversation. Do either one of those and the citizen marketing backlash will be worse than any bad press you've ever had in the old marketing days.

The only thing you can perhaps try to control is yourself. Anything else will require you to learn to function "out of control."

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Posted by francois at April 5, 2006 11:23 AM | Bookmark This

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