As a dinosaur amongst millenials, I roam the jungle in search of the meaty copywriting scraps in our digital age. Though I don’t long for the money-spewing, alcohol-fueled days of Mad Man advertising, I do shudder at some of the losses in humanity we see in marketing communication today. Let’s briefly discuss a few.
- The loss of language. Perhaps driven by the desire for immediate global digital domination, we’ve evolved into a world of bland, safe product platitudes and pictograms lest one individual in the world not understand or possibly be offended by our marketing pitch.
- The degradation of selling. Great sales people succeed because they satisfy the needs of their customers. And they listen more than they talk. Somehow, we have managed to lump salespersons into a used car lot shyster motif.
- The thirst for immediate gratification. The business models for new digital companies seem to be pretty well defined following in the footsteps of digital monsters like Facebook, Google and Amazon. Develop unique code, cram a group of smart programmers into cheap space, work your ass off, go through 3-4 rounds of venture financing and finally realize your bonanza payoff with your IPO even though you are still losing money seven years in. All great if it works. But far too many casualties in the process. But no big deal if this flops – on to the next one.
- The herd mentality. In my career, I have never seen such a dearth of individual consumer thinking and decision-making. Kudos to you if you can rope the herd into your corral – like Apple has – through good old fashioned advertising btw. But sooner or later something has to give. And unfortunately it’s been brand loyalty. Not to mention human loyalty.
- The rise of the left-brain. By definition, digital marketing is a numbers game. So much so that it is rapidly becoming automated. All we need is a few million names, access to your digital profile and buying habits and a big honking server to individually target your precious self. Who the hell needs a creative Unique Selling Proposition when we already know a lot of your intimate details through your online habits? Why seduce you when we are already technically and literally in your pants on your smartphone?
So far, I have only highlighted some of the negative sides of today’s marketing communication world.
Stay tuned for a more positive outlook on my next blog, tentatively titled. Demystifying the Millennial Brain.