The blurring of traditional marketing boundaries …

The US band Presidents of the United States have come up with an interesting way of launching their latest album, instead of buying a CD or downloading the album, they are launching an app for the iphone. It gives them a couple of benefits over traditional downloads, like a more constant connection to their fans, and allows them to serve up their catalogue as well as the new music.

If you think about this from a marketing perspective, it is hard to describe what they are doing with our usual terminology. Is this digital marketing? Or does this count as a new distribution model for their product? Or is it the product itself? Or is it a service? Or is it all of these? Ultimately it doesn’t really matter as far as the Presidents of the United States are concerned, they are trying something new and interesting and will reap the benefits.

For marketers I think the lesson is an important one – traditional boundaries and definitions are no longer clear. A TV ad can be content (e.g. Cadbury’s Gorilla), content can be a TV ad (e.g. Sony’s placement in Quantum of Solace), products can be marketing (e.g. music album releases that promote the live tour) and marketing campaigns can be a products (e.g. free gigs from a mobile operator). This means that you can’t judge what will engage and cut through by the normal standards either.

Consumers will just engage with whatever is interesting regardless of where they come across it or its intended purpose. So brands must just do interesting things that excite consumers and worry about definitions and boundaries afterwards……

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