What you’re saying is common sense and the reason for which traditional marketers don’t agree is the resistance to change, that’s why you get the “it’s a fad” answer. The world is moving faster than ever before and the noise is bigger and bigger. We need to understand that and not blame them, they will adapt or die. The reason some are so resistant is because the marketing world hasn’t really changed since Edward Bernays. Sure, it has adapted over time and changed its fur, but since then it’s the same animal. Edward Bernays changed the animal completely back then and we’re still dealing with the same thing: everyone is selling emotions, not products.
Now, the second thing: marketers have been used historically with stress and coming up with new ways of approaching consumers and making them buy as much as they can without assuming too much responsibility for what those people were buying. Over time, these marketers have started to establish a relation of trust with their buyers (learned from brands), which in itself is really hard to do. Trust is a very hard to obtain commodity and very easily lost, that’s why it is so valuable regardless of the context. In some scenarios, it is the most valuable thing in the world, just like water for a person dying of thirst in the desert.
Building trust on TV meant investing time in ads and promotions that were unilaterally delivered to customers, because TV and radio were their only permanent interest focal points. You knew where they were and your problem was how to deliver it the best way. Now, over time with internet, customers started moving and with social media and the advent of social media on mobile, a lot more spaces just opened up, a lot more interest focal points and also has reduced the period of the time invested in that focal point. People are more informed, have more knowledge, want more, need more, and they need to divide their time more in order to achieve those desires. And when you’re selling the solution to desires, you need to be where the desire manifests itself, not just where it manifests stronger or strongest.
Whereas TV advertising was fishing in a pond, mobile advertising is like fishing in the ocean, but before that the pond was our ocean. We will get used to it when we have the right tools to market across all these channels to our target audience, because right now we don’t have them, really. I’m also not saying that social media will be the final ocean, I believe there might be other oceans out there which will replace sm. Consider the walls and windows of your house, they are the perfect place where ads would show up; and after that, directly in your eyes. And after that, if I say it, it might seem too much right now.
But now you need to build trust across a lot of channels, which means you need to first generate content, that content needs to be channel specific and it also needs to deliver the same message. Which in itself is really hard to do in order to succeed without huge ad funds. And even with large teams and budgets, it’s hard because the expected results are always the highest, which is a lot of pressure. And no, we can’t always rely on viral content.
I believe that what marketers need to do now is to accept this customer transciency as status quo and start organizing their efforts into cells, each cell orientated towards a specific channel, with the cell’s dimension directly proportional with the channel’s audience. Also, there should also be a transcient cell, which will deal specifically with “fads”, those hyper-channels that are as ephemere as a butterfly. There are a lot of customers to be found with fads, because of their feeling towards that fad: it’s something new, exciting and cool. Automatically, that feeling passes on to the companies that are exploiting that channel, in a reduced manner nonetheless. But hey, it’s better to start building with a nice feeling in the user’s heart than with boredom, nothing at all, or repulsion, right? And if the message is good enough to woo the consumer, he/she will come looking for you!