following my explanation of why so late to join the party, here is what i believe in, what i wish to be a part of.
Marketing Babylon is a metaphor I find useful in describing the current state of marketing as a discipline and as an activity.
Marketing is broken. It is not merely flawed – wide areas of the practice are quickly deteriorating.
Things that used to work, work no longer: audiences have become incurably elusive, markets endlessly commoditised, mass advertising losing it’s effectiveness even for mass brands. The list goes on.
We are paying the price for decades of marketing hubris, we stand amidst the ruins of an incomprehensible tower of hyped-up, reductive dogmas. Some marketers are desperately clutching their favourite tools, denying the new reality. Many are speaking different languages, distant echoes of outdated methods. More and more of us are looking for a new way.
Marketing needs some creative hacking to remain relevant. Many fundamental ideas are well conceived, but most need to be cut down to size, and separated from the reflexive propaganda of self promoting fads. Out of the rubble and out of the white noise, we can recognise the essence, then carefully select the grains of truth and rewrite a syntax to combine them back into meaningful discourse.
At worse, marketing today is hollow, it’s hypocritical, it’s inconsiderate, it’s loud, it’s corrupt, and so on… And yet, it’s hard to approach any area of business without a close understanding of this increasingly challenging activity. Marketing communications, specifically, remain one of the most prolific, complex and powerful aspects of human sign activity.
Fundamentally, Marketing is, and should be, about communication. It’s about how signs combine into stories and artefacts, and how these are interpreted by the market, and increasingly, fed back by the market.
If the Cluetrain Manifesto is right, and indeed markets are conversations, then marketing should grow to incorporate the theory of those conversations and offer practitioners better communication tools, more dialectical in nature. The convergence of communications, design and technology, is the force accelerating this change, tearing down traditional distinctions between the product, what it communicates and the communication about it:
the brand is the product is the brand is the conversation about the brand, which is about the brand is the product is the brand…
(Distinctions that were fuzzy to begin with)
I believe that a revolution has started, and that it will escalate over the next decade. Fuelled by the rapidly evolving relationship between marketing, design and communications, and their role in business. This change will be led by the people practicing those fields, a group engaging in meaningful, fearless conversation. I hope to make my humble contribution to that decentralised spontaneous movement.