Personal confession – I earn my bread (and cat food) from marketing. That’s what I do for a living, hence will try not to saw off the branch that I am sitting on. Still need the money, you know…We, the hoi polloi, keep on running on our hamster wheels ..Trump or not …(sobbing gently on the go :( ).
However, the barrage of post-mortems for the liberal ideas and neo-liberal economy/globalisation, written after 7th of November is verging on apocalyptic. Even one of the chief culprits of this decades-long delusion reluctantly and tacitly acknowledged its failure lately; Lagarde Says Globalization Needs to Have a More Inclusive ‘Face’.
And as the economy is governed by politics, the “new economy”, aka technology based one, and all that enveloping ‘jazz’ (VCs, trend-blazers, gurus – the bunch) got some serious bashing as well; Silicon Valley Reels After Trump’s Election.
Not that I am terribly worried about them – am sure they can soothe their battered egos in their cozy ‘smart’ mansions, drowning sorrow in a glass of quality bourbon, served by their AI humanoids. I guess the price of the luxury isolated fortresses in the snow planes of Canada will go up…At least they threatened to relocate there if Trump won. Now, for some reason, they are keeping awfully quiet on that.
OK, sarcasm aside, and stifling the glee at the failure of their ‘sure’ myopic bets, one can assume there will be a change in the marketing policies as well. Not in the means – no one can ‘undo’ technology – but in the strategic target markets and products/services promoted. My guess – there will be a major business overhaul of the funding trends – much needed, and long overdue, re-evaluation and identification of sustainable end-clients and real supply shortages.
Marketers are dream-weavers – we try very hard to dress the product in the most appealing garb and offer the most creatively convincing reasoning why you should spend your money on it – NOW!. And it doesn’t really matter if you are an individual consumer or a business client. We say you simply can’t live without whatever we are promoting for our ‘masters’. We are the magicians making all your dreams (whatever they are) come true, through our offering.
However, some of the merry-go-round fanfare of the ‘new economy’ were pure bubbles, many – useless little thingies which were very hard to peddle to anyone. But somehow, they got funded: an altogether different issue for another kind of experts – the gross failure of judgment verging on Icarus’ style narcissistic hubris. What about zillion taxi, pizza delivery, and cleaning services apps? Anybody remember Yo, the app that even its founders can’t explain what it’s doing and why it should exist? Tumblr who tumbled after Marissa forked out a billion for it? Theranos – a major flop which put people’s lives at risk….But, must commend the Founder – a brilliant marketer, chapeau….until the truth about the ‘product’ leaked out and it exploded with a horrible stench. Am sure there are many more which were written off quietly without coming to our attention.
Who paid for all those over-hyped fads? We did – all of us globally….Will anybody be held to account? I very much doubt. Again, bruised egos can easily be healed by a few millions, and in recession, these millions can go a very long way. So am not even remotely worried about those VC Einsteins who gave those shams thumbs up. They can comfortably get off the grid now, till the end of their natural lives.
How is this connected to the tectonic socio-political shake up we are going through right now? The ‘back to basics’ trend will not stop at the social and political levels – it will also jolt economy and business. My bet is that it will restore the right order of priority between objective and means: objective – being the genuine human/society needs, means – technology.
Sorting out the chaff from the kernel will abolish the tyranny of nerdy geeks for whom solving technological issues is a goal in itself, a stand-alone challenge, discarding ‘human’ questioning of its usefulness as a dinosaur attempt at survival – a lost battle so far. Well, not anymore – common sense seems to be in a much overdue comeback, re-entering our lives with a bang. It is a HUMAN FIRST now – humans of all ages, colours and walks of life. And if they think they want to order pizza the ‘old-fashioned’ way over a phone – then it’s their rightful choice – respect it!
Business will re-emerge in the spheres which will be truly beneficial to our existence and evolution- the money already seems to tacitly flow there. Now, when the Silicon Valley is recuperating from the shock, they better come up with the offering that the ‘rust-belt’ may connect to. Because they simply can’t afford their ‘lofty haughty’ isolated existence anymore; With Donald Trump’s surprising victory, Silicon Valley is having a meltdown.
As a marketer, I am a business mercenary – the ‘keyboard-for-hire’ – preferably for the fattest retainer available. Unless there are gross moral gaps between the product and my beliefs (like animal welfare), I will push anything for the right price – pizza apps included. That’s the sad fact of life I have mentioned in my opening sentences – I have to pay the bills. Like graphic designers – who are frustrated artists – doing ‘branding’ for a living, we all need to adjust our skills to market demand to survive. That’s the blunt truth. Fair enough – am not bitching on the issue. Actually, this artistic creativity of ours, allows for the results we produce.
Having said that, my professional ideal would be to promote something I truly connect with, and believe in its intrinsic value to address real glut. Not “educating” the market of its indispensability, but publicly – for all to see – unraveling genuine benefits of a product, that perfectly matches a proven need. As a professional expert conjurer, I crave the truth. A funny oxymoron, isn’t it?
The new socio-political order, and the ensuing business re-orientation, that are about to descend on us, give hope that my task will be made easier. The natural “rough diamonds”, overlooked until now, may wish to be unearthed and promoted. The little artificial “quickies” will remain an intellectual technological pastime for the geeks. The common sense may re-enter and fertilise all spheres of our lives to the common good of all….
Sounds utopian? May be….Depends how many new clients I get….