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Marketing warfare

IDF's You Tube video of an airstrike on December 27, 2008 The images are gripping. Grainy, black and white footage shot by an Israeli plane flying overhead; men loading rockets into a pickup truck to be driven across the border and launched into Israel. Moments later, they're hit by an IAF air strike. No one survives.  You're watching the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) channel on YouTube

"The blogosphere and new media are another war zone," said IDF Foreign Press Branch head Maj. Avital Leibovich. "We have to be relevant there."

The internet's battleground-leveling power strikes again. Two sides at war seeking to be heard go to the net. Regardless of your perspective on the Gaza violence between Israel and Hamas, the democratization of voice begs to be heard. The IDF understands if they're not heard in the political conversation, the story won't be told to their satisfaction. 

The IDF is conducting a conversational marketing clinic. Conversation is a game requiring two or more players; one speaks, one listens. In an age where we see pictures of people speaking as a reporter tells us what is being said, the need to bypass the filtering of traditional channels is literally a matter of life and death. 

Your business lives and prospers only to the extent that you engage in authentic, unfiltered conversation with customers and prospects. But, how can you be sure they're hearing you? 

Conversational marketing is as tricky as it is risky. Person-to-person, face-to-face conversation carries a socially-correct politeness. There is no such requirement in marketing. That's what keeps it authentic; lose my interest, lose me. 

Authentic listening is the responsibility of the speaker. Engaging conversation only happens when the listener is intrigued. The degree to which you move your target's give-a-rip meter tells you how much your advertising is intriguing, or matters to them

Unless you get inside their head and understand what's being heard, what you're saying doesn't matter. That's why so many ads wah-wah-waaaah-wah just like Charlie Brown's parents; your ad leaves as a bullet, but arrives as a spitball. 

The IDF dropping bombs means more when seen in black and white. Your impact can be similarly authentic when you drop pretense and engage in first-hand conversation. Start by keeping  your site updated, blog regularly, or add vlog elements. 

When what you say is heard, you'll know it is hitting the target. 


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