Marketing, and other strange languages

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.

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