I'm sitting at the Digital Summit in Dallas this week and it occurred to me that we, as marketers, have developed a marketing approach that is killing creativity.
Now I'm not saying that we were wrong many years ago when we turned to science and data to help validate our creative. I'm just saying that it is now officially out of hand!
Literally an entire service industry was born from this. We began to measure everything in the marketing ecosystem. How many people opened or clicked something. At what time of day. What day of the week. Male or female. Their age. Income. Educational background!!!
And it made sense at the time to adjust our marketing efforts based on this. If people didn't read something, or abandoned your cart, we rationalized it through data and then adjusted. And then we did it again. And again. Until it basically lost all that was unique, fun, and/or inspirational.
And this has become the norm. Looking back to predict the future. But when did we look ahead? Not very often. And, again, it was because clients simply became dependent on historical data.
So it's become a massive hamster wheel!
Yet, surprisingly, along the way, some innovative product companies took chances. Technologies that have existed for some time, like VR and AR are now being explored further. Or new ones that allow for conversational UI. Innovation has come to the forefront from independent firms that challenge the norm (think Nest, AirBNB and Uber). Service models have changed. Products have evolved. And now, companies are understanding that research needs to be done at the very moment that a digital product is being used and/or consumed, and within the context that it currently exists. And, here's a crazy thought, adjusted to that environment immediately!!
This is the beauty of connected objects and the Internet of Things. Product developers are building an inherent intelligence into their products, thus removing some of the responsibility that many of us have assumed of deciphering data that, frankly, makes many of us want to take a long walk off of a short pier!
Which leads me to believe that there's hope.
This hope doesn't mean that marketing will simply change. Frankly, I believe that marketing as we've defined it may be gone in the near future. Which means, that fighting for attention will no longer be a practical means for brand adoption. It is now transitioning to even more meaningful interactions, across disparate digital products. People have become less aware of brand and more aware of how they move across their day, their lives, and their relationships.
So as marketers we are at the proverbial fork in the road. Do we play the game we created and continue along this pathway that makes our clients happy? Or, do we once again take a pulse and proactively create a new paradigm that once again inspires creativity, and more importantly, successful adoption of the work we create and brands that people engage?
I know which direction I'm heading. What about you?