"It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much." - Yogi Berra.
Rob Walker - the New York Times Magazine columnist of, Consumed, author of the best-selling book, Buying In - The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, did a keynote luncheon interview with me earlier this week (on Monday) as part of Marketing Magazine's Marketing Week. Here's one sound-byte that should get you thinking:
"Marketers are still stuck in the dark ages of online advertising... The next decade will see a profound change in how online marketing is conducted. It's really so early in the history of whatever the online space is going to be... We all feel right now [that] we're very cutting edge, but 10 years from now, it's all going to look so stupid. There's just no doubt in my mind that it's going to get more sophisticated."
It does make perfect sense.
If you think about how the Digital Natives (those who grew up in a household that always had a computer) are going to be leading the workforce (you can read more about Digital Natives shortly in my Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun column which will be published this week), we are in for some significant changes in how we Market and communicate in a world where people were always online in one form or another. Most recently, Don Tapscott (author of Wikinomics) released his latest book, Grown Up Digital - How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World, and authored an article that appeared in The Globe And Mail on Monday titled, Digital boom is about to hit the workplace. According to Tapscott:
"Their Web, the New Web, is not just for surfing or hunting for information. It's not a passive medium. The New Web enables people to create their own content, collaborate with others and build communities. It has become a tool for ordinary people to organize themselves, instead of waiting for orders from the authorities."
The true challenge will be: how much conversation actually does happen and how deep does it go?
In a world of Twitter tweets, FriendFeed, text messaging and Bloggers who posts daily (if not more often), how much content can any individual take in, absorb, comment on, follow-up and engage with? Anecdotally, my online social media spaces are filled with organic content that is full of links, comments and feedback, but once something newer is published, the older conversations die in an immediate fashion.... and there's nothing wrong with that.
Perhaps the shifts that Walker is talking about and the changes we're all going to go through that Tapscott has documented is an indicator of the power behind newer, faster and more immediate snackable-sized content. It might also mean that how we advertise and market to consumers won't be as simple as, "give them some Blog postings and let the organic search engine results of that effort work for you." That ship has long since sailed. Do a search on almost anything and you'll note that most Blogs written by individuals hardly rank at the top of any search results for major brands and companies.
Marketers are going to have to stay well-ahead of the curve. Social Media is already morphing, adapting and changing. None of the new channels are dead or dying, but like Walker said, it only makes sense that they are going to get more sophisticated, powerful and engaging. After all, this is still a Web 2.0 world that we're talking about and there's no clear definition for Web 3.0.