A note from Editor in Chief Brad Berens: I'm pleased to share this excerpt from Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba's new book, "Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message," with the iMedia Connection readers, and I'd like to thank the authors and Kaplan Publishing for the opportunity. In the book, McConnell and Huba describe how consumers are taking their rightful part in the new marketing conversation that interactive media has enabled, and how brands both big and small are learning to engage with their new marketing partners. The brands that McConnell and Huba discuss include BMW, McDonald's, New Line Cinema, Apple Computers, Coca-Cola, Dell, Netflix, Palm, Nissan, Lego, Discovery Education, the Chicago Cubs and many more. Citizen marketing is not a fringe phenomenon; instead, it is something to which every savvy marketer should start paying close attention. McConnell and Huba's book is a great place to start. In the following pages taken from Chapter One, the authors describe the four different sorts of citizen marketers and share case studies. If you like what you read here, then I urge you to buy the book online. It's a good read.
Social media makes relationships easier to create and maintain because of participation, and participation is the future of marketing. Indeed, Peter Kim of research firm Forrester advocates that participation be added to the well-established four Ps of marketing (produce, price, place and promotion).
Citizen marketers create what could be considered marketing and advertising: content on behalf of people, brands, products or organizations. Often they invite others to participate in their marketing work.
Citizen marketers don't often represent the average person, member, customer or citizen. They are on the fringes, driven by passion, creativity and a sense of duty. Like a concerned citizen.
Among the world of citizen marketers are what we call the four Fs: Filters, Fanatics, Facilitators and Firecrackers. The first three Fs are the noble worker bees of citizen marketers, focusing for months or years at a time on their work. The Firecrackers, well, they are what they sound like: citizen marketers who explode loudly and mightily and then vanish in a puff of smoke.
Author notes: Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba popularized the term "customer evangelism" with their previous book, "Creating Customer Evangelists." The Seth Godin-edited NYT bestseller "The Big Moo" featured them among the world's 33 smartest business thinkers. Both live and work in Chicago.