Maybe all of this Social Media stuff will not add up in the end. Maybe all of this Social Media stuff will just be a fad.
As much as I like to discuss, debate, dissect and hack Social Media, New Media and everything else related to Digital Marketing, the truth is that I don't know how this will all pan out (in fact, nobody does). I'm hedging some big bets that Social Media is the future of media. I'm confident that the way in which we all get the news will not suddenly go backwards, and tomorrow we'll have it rolled up nicely into a newspaper on our front porch, or we'll get it at 11 pm on our televisions. The proverbial toothpaste it out of the toothpaste tube and it's not going back in. Whether or not Social Media becomes something that looks like the traditional mass media in terms of penetration, importance and advertising revenue is not as relevant as the new reality that the world has changed. The media has been disintermediated. The media has been fragmented. The media is very different from what it was five years ago.
It's time to stop the uncertainty.
Last week, I gave a keynote presentation at an event called, The Art of Marketing. I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Seth Godin, Avinash Kaushik, Jeffrey Gitomer, Max Lenderman and Andy Nulman. The day was filled with learning, laughs and insights. As much as I think I know, I usually spend days like this turning provocations, key takeaways and ideas into actions (they could be things for clients, Blog posts, the growth of Twist Image, or whatever). Days like this are my continuing education. In this instance, it was something Seth Godin said that struck the deepest chord.
"This is a Marketing Revolution."
It's easy to fill the air with platitudes. It's easy to tell an audience that Marketing has changed. It's not easy - and it can't be taken lightly - when someone of Seth Godin's stature and respect in the industry says that what we're going through isn't a change or shift, but a full-on revolution. I used to have a slide with the number 300 on it. I used to tell audiences that much like the fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in this best-selling graphic novel and Hollywood hit, this is our Marketing 300. It's that unique moment in time where the outcome of the moment will dictate the future generations. I backed off of this story many years back. I was worried people would think I was being too dramatic. I was worried that people would think, "does this Mitch Joel dude really think that a Blog is going to change Marketing forever?" Ultimately, I was afraid that I might be wrong.
We're not wrong. Seth Godin is not wrong. This is a revolution.
It's what Seth said next that really drove the battlecry home. He said: "don't waste it." And, that's the important part. Too many Marketers - from Chief Marketing Officers to heads of agencies - are either grasping on to the world as it was, adding in Digital as if it is just another new channel, or burying their heads (and marketing budgets) in the sand. Fine, mass media still has tentacles and teeth. Nobody is denying that, but it's not a zero-sum game. Social Media is not a fad. Social Media is a fact. If brands and agencies are not mastering these channels - figuring out these real relationships, these real voices and these real human beings, they are not only missing the boat, they're ignoring the tsunami. I'm changing my presentation back to the way it was. I'm putting the backbone back in. I'm willing to eat crow if I'm wrong, but I don't think that I am.
Seth is right: this is a Marketing Revolution. Seth is right: we better not waste it. I'd push this even further and urge everyone to not screw it up!
Are you prepared for glory?