Marketing, and other strange languages
Twitter-ready insights on marketing follies
Things ain't what they used to be. Once, I could describe myself as a back-page columnist for a monthly magazine. No more. Now, I'm a transmedia storyteller who develops original content for distribution across multiple platforms.
There was a time when I turned to friends to ask their opinion about which restaurant to eat at, or which car to drive. Now, I activate my social graph to tap into a sphere of influence. We communicated in words, not characters. I used to call my mom on the phone. Now I employ a mobile device to participate in a voice-based interaction with her. (Whatever you call it, she still says I don't do it often enough.)
Summers were fun. I took my kids to concerts, fairs and amusement parks. Now we are engaged by the experiential. Somehow, the zeppoles don't taste as good.
I watched TV in my living room before I consumed video in a home theater environment. Books were not devices. The networks aired TV shows and commercials rather than scripted programming and short-form marketing communications.
I spoke English back then, or at least a Brooklynese dialect. Somewhere along the way, though, I became a practitioner of BizSpeak (BS, for short).
It happened gradually. Most of the people I worked with spoke BS, and since many of my friends are in the business, I began to hear it outside the office as well. As I do with my high school Italian when in Rome, I tried a few words out in native environments. "Hey," I'd say to a mid-level marketer over cockt-ails at a conference, "how many touch points have you interacted with today?" Or, "How about those retention rates?"
Over time, I became more comfortable with the language, and before I knew it, I was fluent in BS, able to speak many words without actually saying anything.
I stopped shopping in stores and began engaging in commerce via e-tail and bricks-and-mortar excursions. Cereal was out. Packaged goods were in. I gave up chatting in favor of messaging. I called my kids "the younger demographic" and asked about the consumption habits of their peer group.
Classic movies were no longer something to watch on Sunday afternoons. They were the long tail. My personality was replaced by a brand essence.
I long now for the days when men were men instead of target markets. But what can I do? Hop in my hybrid crossover vehicle, deactivate my location-based devices and disappear from the grid? No, I must return to my open-space work environment and get back to the business of developing engaging narratives aimed at influencing outcomes.
Or maybe I'll skip out — just this one afternoon in August—and catch a ball game at the park with some friends. We'll eat peanuts, soak up the sun, shoot the breeze and watch grown men earn a living with wood and leather and dirt.
I'll even speak English. No BS.