The Marketing Of No Marketing At SXSW - Social Media Explorer
The Marketing Of No Marketing At SXSW
The Marketing Of No Marketing At SXSW

There might be a social post later, but the “Self-Replicating Awesomeness, The Marketing Of No Marketing,” session is worth a post of its own. In my opinion, six of the top social media and community building minds on the planet were panelists. There’s too much knowledge there to just mention it.

Scott MontyStowe Boyd and I joined up with Kristie Wells to go to the session, which was weird since it featured her husband, Chris Heuer, along with Jeremiah Owyang, Hugh MacLeod, Deb Schultz and Tara Hunt and moderated by David Parmet. The framework for the conversation was to find out how to market into a community without being overbearing like traditional advertising and how to build community around a product.

There are recaps all over the web and Twitter streams of relevant thought for deep-dives into this. Here are the relevant thoughts I parsed:

Parmet: Good marketing, you never notice. You don’t know you’re being marketed to.

Schultz: None of this conversation is about tools and technology. It’s about looking at your customers and the way they use your product. Learn from them and bring them into the process.

Schultz: I never understand why marketing people are afraid of the tools. This is an open opportunity to hear back from your customers all the time. It’s not easy and it takes time to learn the behavior, but why would you not?

Heuer: Building a community is about making a place where you want to be. What makes a community is the interpersonal connections that are there. What’s lost on a lot of people is that social media isn’t new media. It changes how we relate to each other as humans, fundamentally. The community is more broad than marketers understand. It involves competitors, former employees. It takes an attitudinal shift. We must change the mindset and listen to the consumers, who are saying, “Stop trying to sell me and start trying to help me buy.”

Owyang: The companies that really let go and let their customers take charge have thriving communities.

Hunt: The more expertise I give away, the more opportunity and experience I got. This giving away stuff seems to really work. What you find when you give is that you produce social capital. You have the value of the relationships and your reputation. This is what is happening in this world and the world of online communities. We’re raising social capital with what we’re doing. The best way to build your own community is to help people in someway.

Heuer: At the heart of it is being a good person.

MacLeod: I helped take Stormhoek Wine from 50K cases to 250K cases in a year or so. A community developed around the wine, but it wasn’t necessarily the wine that was interesting. The interesting thing was the conversations from the community gathering around the wine. It became a social object around a group of bloggers and web 2.0 folks. We started making social gestures by giving the wine away to small groups and bloggers. They begat social objects and they begat social markers. The brand community isn’t a lever you can pull. What you have are a bunch of lovely human beings and you’re very fortunate they like your product and they say good things about you, but they are NOT YOUR COMMUNITY.

Parmet: The concept of giving it away for free scares the hell out of companies. By giving something, you’re building a deeper relationship.

Schultz: Having a FAQ on your site is a mistake. FAQs are for the large scale communities and brands. Until your community is robust, bring in human beings to coach and service the users.

MacLeod/Hunt: We can only execute on 10 percent of our ideas. We might as well give the other 90 percent away. You’re telling people you have knowledge and that you know how to use it.

MacLeod: Marketing used to be about the message. Now it’s a paradigm shift to social gesture. And that cannot be faked.

Hunt: Traditional marketing aims to do a blanket spread of message. Hugh gave something of value to a larger community. He did it brilliantly with Stormhoek by reaching out to a community of blogger and geek friends. He provided a service into that market and gave something of value to the community.

Heuer: It’s not the message and it’s not the logo. It’s what the brand represents.

Owyang: It’s easy to find your brand advocates. They’re already talking about your brands online.

Schultz: Just giving the product away doesn’t work. It’s the nuance of connecting with them and establishing a relationship with the people you gave it to that elevates the stronger connection and communication.

MacLeod: Social objects are the future of marketing

Owyang: Let go to gain more.

Heuer: Passion for people put passion into product.

Schultz: Nothing replaces listening and get out of your ivory tower.

[tags]SXSW, community building, Jeremiah Owyang, Deb Schultz, Chris Heuer, Tara Hunt, Hugh MacLeod, David Parmet, marketing, advertising[/tags]

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at


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