As the post-mortem on the election continues, we found Newt Gingrich’s assessment atypically edifying. Badgered by a Fox News anchor to atone for his prediction of a Romney near-landslide, he said “The country was looking at a different set of things than we were looking at.”
That sentence would sound more humble, of course, stated in the reverse order or perhaps more harshly – a la, we were looking at the wrong things. But we find it instructive, nonetheless, for the Marketing world:
If your view on the future of your products and markets is based on looking at “different” things than your customers are, you are bound to be disappointed with the outcome.
Here are some examples.
Radio Is Dead
Are you listening to those who continue to pronounce the death of radio? Are you not looking at the data that show radio advertising revenue in the U.S. was up in 2010 and 2011? And up even further through the second quarter of this year?
Do you really believe that small businesses have abandoned local radio buys for Facebook brand pages? Further, do you believe the studies that say over 90% of small businesses use social media to market their businesses every day?
TV Is Dying
Are you listening to those who continue to pronounce the death of TV? Are you not looking at the data that show the percent of U.S. households who “cut the cord” in 2011 equates to 0.43% of the total?
Are you not looking at the research that shows 75% of tablet owners who view video on an iPad or Galaxy are actually watching the same OR MORE programming on an old-fashioned telly?
Innovate Or Die
Are you listening to the pundits who claim you can and should “innovate” just like Apple does (especially when Apple now has its hands full with finding its next new thing)?
Are you not looking at initiatives like that of Williams-Sonoma, which is opening a “new” West Elm format – a general store, bundling “local” kitchen, garden, and personal care products with a café and a “public commons” area? The “new next” new way to innovate.
Buzzword Bingo On Steroids
Are you reading interviews with social media “gurus” like the one Nissan’s social media chief, Erich Marx, just did with Digiday, in which he responded to the question “How is content created by brands different nowadays?” with this nonstop stream of bullsh&t, shown here in its entirety, each sentence on its own worthy of a shock from the Adobe lie detector:
“The stakes are higher. Consumers are in control of what they view more than ever before. There are no guarantees anyone is consuming your traditional advertising messages anymore. Branded content now plays a larger and more important role in defining the brand and engaging with an owner base and prospect base. Social media has raised the bar. Expectations among consumers that they will have a voice and not simply be shouted at are on the rise. Customers now believe they can impact a brand, its products and even marketing strategies. I realize some may view this as a bad thing, but make no mistake, this is a good thing. Consumers want to engage. They want a role. They want to be advocates for the brands and products they choose. Branded content can deliver on the promise of a two-way conversation and deeper relationship that can turn customers into loyalists, and evangelists.”
Yes, marketing is about being different.
Different from your competition. Not different from your customers.