The day marketing grew up


It’s in the air. Can you feel it? That whiff of… well, crumbling pillars, decay and the blossoming of something new.

I might be imagining things, but I’d like to think I’m not.

Since we kicked off our own company in the spring of 2016 we’ve been involved in our fair share of marketing efforts. Some straight-up marketing, some more narrative driven. When the chances arise, I’ve developed with transmedia storytelling as the basis – then again, of course, when the situation has called for another approach, we’ve adapted.

Still, that whiff… That thing that might be a reaction to all the “fake news” and Twitter storms and astroturfing and gaslighting and polarisation and horribleness that takes up most of the space on the Information Superhighway™ right now. You see, people don’t believe marketing anymore. To be fair, most haven’t for a long time. At least, however, some of them have looked at, read or listened to your commercial, if it’s been impressive or funny or in some way catching the attention. Right now though… I’m getting that “nope” vibe. There’s too much crap going on. There’s too much FOMO moments, too much anxiety, too much of too much.

And yeah, we’ve all read those “Let storytelling lead you to the new marketing nirvana!” articles. The “Be a Storyteller and a Storyseller!” blog posts. Those “Five ways how transmedia will transform how you present your product!” infographics that you just can’t do without.

We’ve read them, sighed, and moved on. Because if it’s something people want today, it’s not the lauding of a product or the convoluted slashed-prices-offering wrapped up in a story about the company founder’s day out in the forest. It’s not the chase-this-rabbit-down-the-InstagramSnapchatPinterestPeriscope-hole-for-the-chance-to-get-25%-off-our-new-overpriced-whatever. It’s absolutely nothing of all of that.

I’m starting to think that the most valuable marketing right now would be to be the ones known for not doing any marketing at all. Talk about what you like, what you’re passionate about, what you love or hate or slightly-sometimes-kinda-like. Then have a great product or a great service as well, take your one-on-one sales meetings… but don’t market it. I’m betting – if your product really is up to scratch – you’d be the talk of the proverbial town within the month.

Will today (or at least this year) be the day (or year) that marketing grows up? I’m thinking that if it doesn’t, the rest of humanity will just leave it screaming on the day care yard and refuse to come pick it up in the afternoon. Time to grow up or get left behind.

(The latest reports are perhaps not entirely convincing or optimistic – currently there are a number of articles about marketing narratives and engagement created or carried out by AI, but according to archaic thought processes from earlier days of marketing. Not fully encouraging, I’ll admit…)

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