hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

March 29, 2005

When was the last time a good communications tool sprung out of a marketing need?

I hate it when people pose questions in a headline or a subject line and then don't repeat them in the context of the message, so to be clear: when was the last time a good communications tool sprung out of a marketing need?

Seriously. I mean it.

Part of the reason that marketers have such a bad name with the technology folks is that we take over everything. We're a bunch of lecherous latchers-on. Sidling up to any newcomer and asking its sign. Any time a new technology is released, every time something starts gaining favor, we have to start mucking with it. What's the marketing angle? How can we make money off of it? Does it support branding? Does it support advertising?

It's in our very nature. It's in our blood. We, as marketers, ruin things. It's what we do. And because of that, we are indeed drivers of technology. Not because we drive the technology, but because we drive people away.

I'm willing to bet marketing Neanderthals told Og to sign his name to his cave paintings. Otherwise, our sloping-browed predecessors warned, no one will want you to come paint their cave walls. People love horses and hunting scenes. Sign your name.

And Og soon started looking for a way to get out more. To find other ways to communicate where the marketers weren't.

Literature spawned advertisements. Mail spawned junk mail. Telephones spawned telemarketing. Radio and television spawned sponsorships and "the spot." Email spawned spam. The Web spawned untold amounts of evil.

Marketing doesn't have a need for new technologies. Quite the opposite in fact. We have the need to consume and control new technologies for our own benefit. We are like a fungus. Like mold. We begin small and then spread, making whatever we touch useless. Unless, of course, it's cheese. Marketing, like mold, is always good at making cheese. Or intoxicants. Marketing, like fermentation, is effective there, as well.

The market, however, does have a need for new technologies. And that need is to escape marketing. We're Pepe Le Pew. Following the poor folks wherever they run to escape. We're the crazy uncle you try to avoid at the family reunion. You know we're going to embarrass you. You know we're going to aggravate you.

And now we're doing it with RSS feeds. How do we use these newfangled things for marketing? How do we profit by using RSS feeds?

We're horrible.

But don't think that someone isn't already trying to figure out the new way to avoid us. And don't think we aren't already driving the next spam filter, or caller ID, or ad scraper, or new delivery technology. Because we are. We are the negative driver. And technology will always improve in an attempt to escape.

Can you name one positive technological, or even communication-based advancement that was driven by marketing? If so, please comment, because I'd love to hear it. If not, that's okay. I'm as cynical as you. Why not return and continue to wallow in it with me?

 



When was the last time a good communications tool sprung out of a marketing need?
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