John Hagel is at it again.
His latest blog posting is one of the best, and most succinct, explanations as to why we are moving helter-skelter towards a person-centric economy. (http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/) He sums the shift up thus: : ‘Rather than viewing markets as places where vendors seek out customers and try to sell them as much stuff as possible, successful players will recognize that we are increasingly participating in “reverse markets” where customers seek out vendors when it is relevant and then negotiate to get as much value as possible from the vendors they deal with.’
There’s just one last step that he is failing to make: he continues to assume that these new reverse markets can, or should, be organised and created by vendors as part of a ‘new’ type of marketing strategy.
This is a contradiction in terms. You cannot create reverse markets as described by Hagel as part of a marketing strategy designed to promote the products or services of one particular vendor. The two functions of creating products and services that people want, and of navigating people towards these products and services, have to be separated.
This is why, as Hagel himself admits, ‘Vendor response [to his suggestions] is disappointing so far’.
Once the distinction between the different functions is recognised – we are talking about the emergence of new forms of ‘buyer-centric’ business – then Hagel’s comments make perfect sense.