There seems to be a common rhythm to all of them. The first is news of something new that must be taken on board. Then comes the ‘naming frenzy’ (Omni-channel, shoppable to name two) and then comes the ‘it’s all over now’ phase.
My observation coincides with a dip back into Gregory Bateson’s book Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity & the Human Sciences)
Mind and Nature
In this fascinating and sometimes challenging book he sets out his ideas of the ‘pattern that connects’ and information as ‘the difference that makes a difference’.
Now any marketing communications person will tell you that you need to stand out by cutting through the noise. This is what Bateson is driving at. We only notice something if it contrasts with the norm and we take it to be relevent.
So ‘new’ marketing ideas are always framed as ‘disruptive’ or ‘apocalyptic ‘. Other wise why would any of us pay attention?
Then of course marketing peeps attend meetings, do presentations and this new thing becomes the ‘new normal’. It stops being different!
This creates a problem. People stop taking an interest in marketing stuff and the consequences could be job and career threatening. So what’s a marketeer to do?
Demonstrate ‘thought leadership’ that’s what! Be the first recognise to trap of the new normal and introduce an even newer idea.
Digital marketing? That’s sooooo yesterday.
What does all of this infer about the marketing thought leaders who so graciously tell us ‘we are all doomed’. Will we enter a ‘post doom era’ in marketing?
I reckon it’s all about professional identity. Marketing is about spotting change and there is a race by the hyper networked marketeer to spot the latest difference that will make a difference. And then of course as true marketing people – brand it with a catchy name that everyone can share.
Did I just say ‘hyper networked’ omg I’ve done it, I’ve spotted a new normal. A world of frenetic social media connection with no other purpose than to connect.
I can’t wait for the ‘post hyper networked era’ now so I can lie on beach with cocktail and ignore everyone in my social networks.
…and there’s more, yet another example of a shiny new idea described as the age of corporate differentiation which Forrester in turn call The age of the customer (funny, I thought marketing had already done that one?) and CMO magazine call the age of transparency.
Now the smart thing about describing things in ‘eras’ or ages is that you only have to wait a while before ‘you’ve been there and done that’ and the ‘age’ gets past by. A sort of post age of you like…which ironically sort of describes the current age of social media. Which in turn means it’s over before its begun…now my head is really fried!
No wonder because the Harvard Business Review is saying we are in the Age of digital telepathy – (so what age are we in?) – this quote explains this spooky era:
“Augmented knowledge. We don’t recognize it as such, but we are living in an age of digital telepathy, where we can send information directly to each other’s brains via the internet. Scientists at the University of Southern California have been working on a cognitive neural prosthesis.”
On December 21st 2015 I picked up yet another from Marketing Week – we are now approaching the era of Post Mindfulness – this article follows the typical pathway described above. First we were told mindfulness was coming, then we were told mindfulness is critical for competitive advantage and now we are told mindfulness is yesterday’s news.
It seems like marketing people are becoming unthinking consumers of disposable ideas.