What if everything we see in our New Media world is not one of change? What if there is nothing unusual at all about what's going on in business today?
Think about it this way: many Digital Marketing agencies are proposing that the world has changed and that it's no longer business as usual (my hand is raised as I bow my head with guilt). We're often guilty of scaring clients into working with us because the Marketing of today is not the marketing they're "used" to doing (the world of yesterday). This inter-connected consumer is untethered by technology and has access to information and people like never before and this changes the fundamentals of marketing. It's only compounded by the fact that each and every one of us has a publishing/media platform that allows for us to express how we feel (about anything and everything) in text, images, audio and/or video to the world... for free. Brands used to pay a heavy fee for this type of access and now it has been completely democratized and intermediated because of technology.
Has Marketing changed forever?
What does a brand want? What does a brand really, really want? (had to throw a Spice Girls line in there). Yes, this will be over-simplistic, but let's bring it down to three main points:
- Love. A brand wants to be loved by their consumers. When people love something, they buy more of it and they tell everyone they know about it. They become loyal and they become brand champions.
- Greatness. A brand wants to create and sell a great experience that they can proud of. This is not just about the customers. This is about the real human beings who work, partner and connect with the brand. A brand may be an emotional connection but a brand is made up from the people who create it, sell it and market it.
- Money. A great brand is a business. For some reason, people think it's heresy to make money. Brands are a function of business and business is about money. Making money... and lots of money. If you look at the best global brands, you will note that all of them are big money-makers too. A great brand is about money.
Nothing has changed.
The basic business fundamentals remain the same... or maybe not? Have you ever found yourself using the phrase, "kids today..."? Dissect that line: kids today are nothing like the way I was when I was growing up. But, when I was growing up was I anything like the generation of kids who walked before me? Are we - as Marketing Professionals - foolish enough to think that things were always the same way in the past half-century and that computers, connectivity and Social Media have suddenly changed everything? My guess is that if you talked to a Marketing professional from the eighties they would have told you that everything changed from the way things were done back in the seventies. My guess is that in five years marketing will look very different from marketing today.
That is not unusual.
We perceive things to be new, different and unusual. Maybe we are looking at things in a much too linear fashion? You know the saying, "the only constant is change"? If that's true, is it not safe say that there is nothing unusual about today? That nothing was ever one way and now it's another (new and/or different) way entirely? Instead of saying how the world has changed or how it's not longer business as usual, maybe we need to cowboy up a little bit here and simply say that everything is always changing and that everyday is actually business as usual? This isn't an esoteric debate about semantics... it's a new positioning. We didn't have World A and now World B... it is evolution and it doesn't stop. Perhaps some of the chasms are wider than others as things evolve, but saying that everything has changed and it's no longer business as usual seems a little... fake... and alarmist.
Constant iteration is the way it was... and the way it will always be. Change and the end of business as usual is a myth.