Home » Archive » People first. Marketers … later.

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

I’ve hit a snag with the Foundation Series. It reads like crap.

I’m still wobbly on what I ought to say so I default to obfuscation. Orwell said it best, “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.” I’m not bogus, but perhaps affected.

You can see it in the buzzy words that start to slide out. Terse plus undecided almost always equals gibberish. And spotting gibberish in my posts set me down.

For me, there’s three lessons here.

First, there’s a lot of rhetoric about how we’re all marketers (ahem … Hugh MacLeod, Kathy Sierra). Yeah, sure, that’s fine — but what about it? See, it’s great to acknowledge there’s a need to market but there’s nearly zero translation from the people who draw up Budweiser ads to the folks who rattle off briefings to the Minister.

So, while I’ve got loads of experience in banging up recommendations to senior officials, I’ve got close to none in using marketing verbage in a corporate setting. But verbage is where most marketing people stop. So there’s a gap. That’s the lesson.

Second is form. Blogging is good for lots of things but running deep into complex ideas isn’t one of them. For this series I should’ve used essays.

It was the same story in government. We were always writing one page briefing notes or 11 page powerpoint presentations (with 13 words per slide) while trying to provide depth and understanding around massively complicated issues. Bad form. Bad decision.

Alright, I get that people are busy. I understand (perfectly) that important decision makers make many decisions daily. But there’s a trade off between many, crappy decisions and fewer, better decisions. In the short-term there’s going to be a backlog, but the hope is that fewer come back to be made again.

Anyway, blogs aren’t a great form for working out complex dynamics like power in large organizations. The lesson is: Pick the right form.

Third, while many talk about marketing and some talk about form, few talk about daily corporate issues like: power struggles, pushing up ideas from relatively low power positions, tracking issues using fragmented information sources, getting time with decision makers, muscling out high-experience, low-passion deadbeats, etc. These are the daily fights of a massive number of people.

These same people flock to Apple’s carnival of products, the Spiritual/Relationship section of Chapters, and Starbucks and all the marketing people pretend it’s a consequence of marketing. Balloney. It’s not that they’re instinctively pulled to high design, high thought, and high caffeine. It’s because they’re attracted to richness.

Corporate life is vulnerable to desertification. In the past we’ve invested lots of energy in driving out nourishment like passion, ideas, and responsibility. In their place we’ve put career plans, meetings, and hierarchy. And the most important result has be that today people left aching to find color again.

So rattling about marketing and writing styles and all that other entrepreneur garbage misses the point if it doesn’t implicitly link to that powerful corporate worker’s hunger for depth and meaning. And that’s where I got off track.

Buzziness betrays insencerity and inauthenticity. We’ve got too much of that already.

P.S. Neither Kathy nor Hugh are wrong, the cartoon by Hugh below is brilliant, and I’m a big fan of both … but that’s not the point.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Site Search Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.