Massimo Pini - IRI

The current crisis leads to new business opportunities: companies (especially small and medium) will increasingly make use of Social Marketing. You won’t say it so looking at current data, but …

From the analysis of Eurisko the future of our societies is “social”. Yet (as revealed by an SDA Bocconi, research) the Italian companies (large and small) are not only lagging behind, but just do not believe in the effectiveness of social marketing.

The Italian entrepreneurs are weak: they are made up of many small entrepreneurs who are very effective in seeking opportunities, in taking huge risks when they start up and being able to win in global competition “bare hands”, but when becoming larger they start to build barrier, sink competition, zeroing risk and focus on short sight strategies which lead to economic collapse we are experiencing. This attitude is not recent, it’s embedded into Italian entrepreneurial class, since the beginning.

In the early ‘900, Italy was in a situation where the big banks financed large companies that used the resources provided to take over the big banks themselves. In practice They used the deposits of citizens to incestuously finance the take over and not to finance the most innovative and dynamic industry (small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises). It’s sound familiar nowadays, isn’t it?. With the 1929 crisis and the emergence of collapse of the national economic system, banks sought to be financed by the State in exchange for the transfer of shares of marginal industrial firms (even this sounds familiar, isn’t it?). A man, however, succeeded in stop this “legal robbery”, Alberto Beneduce (not a fascist, but a socialist Masonic); with him another man Donato Menichella, president of the Bank of Italy established IRI a government body whose purpose was to overcome the handicap of Italian capitalism (a capitalism without capital), to save companies from the financial crisis, then manage and sell back to the private market. IRI became permanent body in 1937 because the capital of the private market was insufficient to absorb all the shares and remained in force until 1970!

Someone said that this long lasting state owned industry was caused by greed of state bureaucrats that refused to privatize. The truth was (see the book by Massimo Pini, “I giorni dell’IRI”, Mondadori, 2000) that the entrepreneurs of the big industries did not took the risk to develop new industries such as telecommunications and energy. The story say that one day Beneduce called the main Italian entrepreneurs (Agnelli, Pirelli, Spagnoli, etc.) offering them the most innovative companies at no cost (they have only to manage the revamped companies). After a week of study, the big entrepreneurs answer that they only taka a newspaper (Agnelli) and cables (Pirelli), arguing that companies such as Hydroelectric Company of Piedmont had no future. The SIP (Hydroelectric Company of Piedmont, in fact) along with other companies formed the heart of STET, the financial corporation in telecommunications, which become later on in the ‘900 Telecom Italia! Not a long sight group of entrepreneurs!

So small and medium-sized businesses, in particular manufacturing an export oriented will soon adopt social marketing strategies, because it’s what consumers need and is more sustainable (even economically) for their structures. To make this happen, first of all industrial associations should raise awareness among associates, but there are great opportunities for those who want to build companies devoted to social marketing for small and medium enterprises. We see many, abroad, and slowly beginning to appear even in Italy.

These new business opportunities and work are inevitable. From its research, Eurisko defines the internet environment characterized by 7 points:

1. Real Life

2. Initiative

3. Knowledge

4. Control

a. Corollary: Intelligence

5. Horizontal relationships, peer

a. Corollary: Responsibility

6. Social Sharing

7. Systemic awareness

The result of moving in this environment (in italic quotes from Eurisko Annual Seminar) “is a continual drive towards the construction of “meanings” and of “Sense”. There is an urge to ask to others and to take into account the experience of others in what happening, choices and intentions behind the behaviors and desires.” And this leads to the fact that “The drive toward the “Sense” is unstoppable. Come from the environmental dynamics of the media, not only by content that circulate with the media. It’s important the “how” and not “what is said”. The contents and messages conveyed on the web may be trivial, childish, with no relevance. It does not matter. It is the way people use the web, and experiences that will live in it, that guide towards this development. In fact, the intensity and quality of web use continues to grow, despite the fact that those groups of users who got on the web late have a medium-low socio-cultural profile. “

Eurisko consider this shift in huge. They consider it similar to the Reform “At a time when the people begins to read the Bible by themselves (and not just listening to the priest) they changed their religion: although the text of the Bible remains identical change was inevitable. Compared to the “religion of television” the web is as important as the Reform: the user is back to the center.

Eurisko tells what it is needed, then, to put in practice this new, inevitable, economic and entrepreneurial opportunity: “It is clear that no one is really prepared for this evolution. It is necessary to direct the efforts of marketing expertise to grow, build and maintain those skills that have addressed the issues of “sense” and “meaning” in human history i.e.: Literature, , Philosophy, Psychology, Anthropology, etc. .. “and we Europeans excel in these disciplines. Good news, then.

What do you think about this inevitable drift toward social marketing? Do you really believe that sooner or later the small business will adopt these tools? Or do they wait for the large employing them before?

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