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Search and replace marketing

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From: T.D. Wilson: The nonsense of 'knowledge management.

'Search and replace marketing'

The review of journal papers, the review of consultancy Web sites and those of the business schools, suggest that, in many cases, 'knowledge management' is being used simply as a synonym for 'information management'. This has been referred to by David Weinberger, citing Adina Levin as the originator, as 'search and replace marketing' in reporting the KM Summit of 1998: 'Andy Moore, editor of KM World and the event's genial host, asked the group how you reply to a customer who says, "Isn't this just search-and-replace marketing?" That is, do you become a KM vendor simply by taking your old marketing literature and doing a search and replace, changing, say, "information retrieval" into "KM"? The question rattled the group. Answers sputtered forth. This was obviously a sore subject. It seems to me that there are three possible answers to the question "Is this search-and-replace marketing?" given that this question expresses customer pain and suspicion:

1. No, we've added important new features designed to help you with your KM chores.

2. Sort of. We have the same features as always but have discovered new applications for them.

3. Yes, you pathetic loser.

The first two answers are perfectly acceptable. The third is perhaps a tad too honest to make it in this imperfect world, although undoubtedly there is some "kewl" company that is contemplating using this as the center of its advertising campaign. ("Companies will love that we're being so upfront with them, man.")' (Weinberger, 1998)

I haven't heard this term before. But it's perfect for the software industry.

January 4, 2003 03:02 PM


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