From The Herd To The Swarm

Analogies are usually helpful in communicating a complex concept – it helps provide the receiver with a frame of reference, and in some cases, anticipated behavior.

For some time, marketers have referenced herd marketing, even spawning its own niche within the profession. Blogs have sprung up on the topic, not to mention books and articles.

I just finished Herd, a book by Mark Earl. A great read for any marketer, it’s interesting, insighful and obvious in its simplistic way to alter mass behavior. I simply challenge if we’re harnessing our “true nature” or learned behavior. I’ll leave that distinction to the sociologists among us.

Still, you can’t deny that our habits make our affiliations, and it’s an increasingly difficult world to remain a true “loner”. Our obsession with online relationships and interests have turned Twitter into the mobile-tool-must-have. My recent ventures into social networking have proven the “herd” definition of marketing attractions to a daily reality.

I had reviewed a few reference articles before this on swarm intelligence, and a delved into the concept to gain a better understanding. In short, swarm marketing knows that consumers are smarter, much more media-savvy, and generally wise to the marketing profession’s regular bag o’ tricks today more than ever.

Buzz marketers like bloggers and podcasters are inventing new ways to reach consumers using measurable and targeted toolkits. Not exactly new news – but the reality of this shift in behavioral understanding might be as earth shaking as the earthquakes we’re riding in northern Nevada this week

All was well with my herd-oriented world until I read a piece by Chuck Brymer, President and CEO, DDB Worldwide. Admittedly, DDB is one of the foremost resources on branding, corporate identity, and advertising, and they’ve produced a series of seven yellow pages , of which the most recent is his piece on swarm marketing. Replete with its three “C’s” – conviction, collaboration and creativity – this new business model suits my vision of today’s opportunities in our craft.

Our fast, highly connected swarm mentality will only continue to grow – and show it’s presence throughout traditional and “new” media channels. The challenge is to create the right kind of community to house these immediate hordes, while finding the influencers in the chaos.

One Response to “From The Herd To The Swarm”

  1. Twitter is for Pansies | MyWebTronics Says:

    […] in micro-blogging  (tweeting). It can actually be quite effective at brand awareness and “swarm marketing“. But at the end of the day, I would rather have 5,000 blog subscribers over 50,000 twitter […]


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