I’ve been having some really interesting meetings today and my head is spinning with contradicting thoughts. Most of them have to do with the nature of “marketing” as we know it, and I’ll admit I find myself wondering if I can ever advocate for it again.
Most of my colleagues would react with something like “what, are you TRYING to get fired?”
But before we go too far, what I mean is that I doubt I can ever really advocate for it the way it used to be, when it was all top-down messaging from marketing departments flush with quantitative research telling them what to say and how to say it. Words like “convince,” and “convert” seem somehow antiquated, as if the era of command and control is just over.
“Dude, what is WRONG with you?” my friends will ask.
What’s wrong with me is that in this era of social software and ubiquitous mobility, a period of ever-present content and messaging has meshed almost completely with daily life. The inexorable move towards technology and digital footprints among even the youngest and poorest demographics means that content sharing is like talking. Hell, it’s REPLACED talking at my house. Some people are even convinced it’s maybe, sort of OK for computers to start doing the messaging without much input from humans at all!
I’ll pass, thanks.
So what’s my point? I firmly believe that in order for commerce enablers to continue to succeed, they are going to have to get human again. They are going to have to use all their smarts, tools, and capabilities to find groups of people who share their values already, who have personal reasons for wanting to consume or advocate for their offerings. They have to seek out and find their cheerleaders, their true fans, and deliver more than those folks expect on a regular basis. They are going to have to enchant them, because there are too many inputs all day long for anyone to give a brand a second thought unless they do.
Sure, the era of Big Data is just beginning. But to what end? My opinion is that it has to be to find those cheerleaders and make them happy, because the era of big marketing to folks who don’t share your values is on the way out, if it’s not already gone.
Boy, you must have been on fire. Look how fast you banged that out. And see, I think we probably would agree on just about everything. I think it is possible to use certain tools, and remain human. Or should I say, regain our humanity. this is exactly the point I made over at Spin Sucks yesterday, regarding the Four I’s. It’s part of the pendulum swing, and the good news is, I think we’re swinging back to a nice place.
Here’s the deal: Machines have been replacing humans for decades (even a century). We can either embrace it and move forward, finding a place where we fit or we can fight it.
@ginidietrich @KenMueller Yes, I’m well aware–I’m old, remember? And as Ken says below, it is part of the pendulum swing. I just don’t think it works in the end. People see through it, or become indifferent to it. When you automate, you miss subtleties that make the difference–that’s why we hate autoposting or recommend against it. When you start writing for SEO, for example, things start to get…homogenous. That eventually wears customers out, I really believe that. I’d actually love to do a study on the uptake of human vs. robo-written copy.
@rustyspeidel @KenMueller But here’s the point: It’s not about writing blog posts or email marketing copy. It’s about writing stories that can’t be (aren’t) written by humans right now. If you’re a Fortune 500 company and the business publications only report on the top 50, wouldn’t you like to see some coverage of your earnings? That’s the type of stuff these guys do. It’s not like they write for Spin Sucks or Marijean Jaggers or Inkling Media. You’ll read the stuff the computers are writing because it makes sense for your business or your family (Little League game results). And, if you don’t care, you won’t read it but it won’t matter because those stories are created in four seconds.