What Culture Does A Company Need To Adopt To Use Cooperative Marketing Effectively?
In today's session on cooperative marketing at the New Communications Forum, Howard Rheingold of Smart Mobs gave the initial presentation on how cooperation is important for biology and human societies.
Elizabeth Albrycht asked a question of another panelist, Brad Williams, VP Corporate Communications, eBay, and in the process gave me an idea. Part of her question was that in the online world cooperation works well. Elizabeth cited eBay and explained that the cooperation that exists between eBay merchants and customers enables trust to exist for a customer to purchase from individuals and merchants on eBay's virtual marketplace. However, Elizabeth also said that in the real world that cooperative strategy does not necessarily work. I immediately asked myself the question, why does it not work in the real work?
Howard Rheingold had stated in his presentation that during the 19th century, evolutionary biologists knew more about competitive theory and not a lot about cooperative theory. I think I might be safe in saying that in today's world for the majority of companies, competitive strategies are the accepted norm for achieving corporate business goals. Yet with the adoption of the Internet it becomes easier to cooperate with customers, company stakeholders and even competitors. With so many examples of cooperation marketing success in the online world -- Amazon.com's book reviews, eBay's Trust factor, Craigslist.com's community contributions, perhaps cooperation marketing is a better strategy to follow for business success within companies?
Getting back to the question, why does cooperation marketing not exist in the real world in many instances? I'd suggest its because a company's culture is following a competitive strategy rather than a cooperation strategy. If a company wishes to follow a cooperative marketing strategy the first step should be to determine what culture currently exists within the company before attempting a new business model involving cooperation marketing.
Brad Williams from eBay had stated in his presentation that eBay's culture is very open and cooperative. EBay employees will contribute to company discussions in helping to make a better company. And even some employees joining eBay, once the employees have experienced how the culture works at eBay, cannot always handle the level of openness. For eBay their cooperation marketing efforts succeed because that's how the company's culture is hard wired.
I sit on the best practices committee for the New Communications Forum, and part of what we are researching are the effects of blogging policies on a company's development in the use of blogging as a form of marketing communications strategy. We recently realized that culture plays an important part in the initial adoption of a formal set of blogging polices. Working from this understanding and the perspective of today's presentation, I think it would good to conduct a survey about a company's culture to determine if a company's culture is competitive or cooperative. Such a survey would involve a cross section of the company.
I asked Howard Rheingold if such a survey exists. Howard he said it would be good if someone conducted such research and let him know if anyone did. I'd also be interested in getting help from people who are conducting that type of analysis of corporate organizational research on culture, both to borrow methods and read case studies.
Posted by johncass at March 2, 2006 3:15 PM
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