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Marketing in the Participation Age: A Guide to Motivating People to Join, Share, Take Part, Connect, and Engage by Daina Middleton

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Chapter 1

Marketing in the Age of Participation

The moment it all crystallized for me stands out very clearly in my mind. It was early 2005, and I was still working in marketing at Hewlett-Packard (HP). I had to organize a meeting for a large global product launch for the Imaging and Printing Group and was specifically focused on helping the team develop launch plans for the United States. It had a significant digital marketing concept central to the big creative idea, which was something new. Big ideas, however, were not new; in fact, finding that magical big idea was the ultimate marketer’s goal. The quest to uncover it usually began with a television concept that we would extend into the print and digital environments—if it worked. We had been counting on this formula for a number of years, and it had generally been a recipe for reasonable success.

But this time was different. The entire idea itself was about eliciting a response. The brilliant concept was designed to ignite participation from the individuals whom our message was trying to reach. This was not a “send out the message and see what happens” campaign. The idea itself was big, brilliant, and beautiful—but insufficient. In addition to the fact that we were asking for feedback, our audience actually had the tools to take action. This was significant, and that campaign suddenly made the notion of integration incredibly important.

Even before this campaign came about, I had acknowledged the growing challenges related ...

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