I was reading a recent rumor on the upcoming Panasonic GX1 and it got me thinking, as sometimes happens. Panasonic is obviously leaking this information to the enthusiast websites and has used a very special set of code words that seem to be increasing in popularity in the camera world "excellent-looking JPEG images."
This has become code for "it looks identical to your old camera and you really have no reason to buy." Truly, I feel bad for these marketing wonks. They're trying their best with a piece of hardware that would underwhelm just about anyone. And since they are lying, this means that they know that what they are lying about is important enough to lie about. Therefore, by process of elimination and the distributive property, we can assume that the people who don't know that it is important are the people running the company. Helloooo Olympus!
What the title of this post means is that, with the advent of the internet, marketing to the hard core has died. It no longer works. Obviously, pretty pictures and fancy slogans will always work for the general populace, but for those who are truly dedicated to the market, marketing no longer works. The enthusiasts see right through everything that is said. Even if a new enthusiast is fooled, they are only ever fooled once.
I think that this is one of the big reasons why Apple has done so well. They have NEVER, not once, tried to fool their core market. They have always been honest if secretive. And they have been this way since the very beginning, so I don't find it at all surprising that they built up a small but intensely loyal following throughout the 1980's and 90's.
Obviously, marketing is still important, but if a company is always honest with their core, the company will always have cheerleaders. To use Apple again, how many websites are out there which are dedicated exclusively to Apple gear? I think that countless is a good word. Now try to count the number of websites dedicated to Microsoft, Panasonic, Toshiba, Lenovo, Olympus, Samsung, and their ilk. You might, might, need your toes.
Moreover, if a company is always honest, the marketers' job is much easier. They can focus on image, personality, and the true characteristics of the products without having to try to cover up the problems. Because even when they do, we the enthusiasts see through them as though they were made of glass.