I did it again today. As the ‘grown up; too old for anything; broken down’ marketer in the team, I infuriated the new Gens of the office by attacking, none other than the use of the web by clients. I need some space here to argue my point because I know hundreds of web wankers will be all over me like treacle on a hot spoon.
There exists today a definite refusal to challenge just about anything that’s techno. For example, we hail the mobile phone as a ‘time saver’, all evidence to the contrary, in fact it seems to me that it can very easily become a ‘time waster’. Don’t get me wrong I carry mine all the time but I use it as it was meant to be used, as a time saving convenience. In view of this I want to say from the very start that I’ve got nothing against the web. To the contrary, I applaud it; celebrate its arrival and heap praise upon its magnificence. However, there’s a big ‘BUT’ here. I think we misuse it and expect more from it than it can rightly deliver.
I hear clients constantly asking our IT team to “Get me to the top of page one”. In other words they want to be on the first entry of the first Google page under the heading of ‘Women Bra’s’ (an uplifting hypothetical). What happens next is the fun part – the boys go to town with web optimisation applying techniques such as meta-tags; keywords; Google Ads; links, you know all the buzz stuff ensuring our busty manufacturer has the biggest boobs on the net. Outstanding stuff – So here’s my bitch!!!!
What’s the possible outcome? OK now you’re No 1 on the Google Hit Parade; anyone who wants a bra will head for the top of the list only to discover you have a website full of crap designed to get them there and guess what the really uplifting stuff – cleavage; lift and separate; push em together; the ‘aunatural’ look, just got lost. Sadly they don’t recognise who you are and subsequently can’t trust you so off they go to type PLAYTEX into their cute little Macs.
Now I may be wrong here and let me say I agree that the web needs to be part of the promotional mix, but watch what you spend in time, money and effort because it can, and does, get too much – far too much focus. Nothing will ever replace branding and the age old winning the hearts and minds of the people – ask ‘Nike’. But most important of all, today we need to accept challenge and create challenge to the things which, on the outset appear fashionable and suggest that it’s a lot easier, when it may not be.
Sometimes we are reluctant to offer our opinion because it does not conform, it’s uncomfortable and like the emperor in the 1837 Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale, we do not wish to appear stupid so we see something that is not really there. Challenge is today’s most powerful tool; if a new idea, concept, invention is worthwhile it will stand the test of critique and controversy – if it doesn’t it was always a fraud.
Sorry Gen X & Y but I’m the lame, little boy who sees technology and embraces it but if I find it’s invisible you will hear me shout loud and long, “The King is in his Altogether” Good night!