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Op-Ed: Lean Forward into the Future of Marketing

Do you realize just how much is changing right now? I promise you that it’s bigger than you think.

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Do you realize just how much is changing right now? I promise you that it’s bigger than you think. And your role in this is also much larger than you know or believe.

Disruptive technology, social networks, new influencers … they are leveling the media landscape hierarchy. The ado of crafting marketing messages, pushing them upon target customers, and propagating them every way possible — while attempting to control the story — is not only outdated, it is the very thinking that has held marketing back for decades. But you are at the forefront of a new era of marketing communications and its future is in your hands.

 

The Future of Marketing

While technology is certainly a part of the story, it’s not the entire story. This isn’t about the new tools that are before you, social media, blogging, tablets, smartphones, and the app economy.

The future of marketing is about Putting the Public Back in Public Relations and social in social media; and that has nothing to do with the tools or technology we excessively celebrate today. Yet while there is an abundance of change, unfortunately there isn’t a wealth of innovation in processes or methodologies.

[pullquote align=”right”]”This is a time to rethink the value proposition of marketing communications and your company’s role within it.”[/pullquote]The truth is, we are at a time when we could change everything, however we’re running without clarity of direction or vision. We are not necessarily talking about a revolution as much as we are conforming revolutionary opportunities into familiar packages. We’re merely taking what we know and applying it to what is new. In many ways, we’re working against ourselves.

This is a time to rethink the value proposition of marketing communications and your company’s role within it. Why is what you do important? Because the value you think you provide and the opportunities presented before you are, in fact, two very different things. Think carefully about the value you offer and the value that others say you deliver.

 

Leaning Forward: Surfing, Snowboarding and Marketing

Allow me to share a slice of my life with you …

I have fond memories of surfing off the beaches of Southern California. I would grab my board, play great music, and head for the ocean — it was my sanctuary where I could find recreation, therapy and tranquility. There was something about the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves, and the ability to dance with mother nature in a way where she let you lead and you appreciated the momentary gesture. But, we both knew who was really in control.

When snowboarding grew in popularity, I immediately embraced it. I did so because I saw it as an art form that was easy to categorize against something familiar. I was also excited by how quickly it had become a trend. In fact I thought of it as winter surfing (and I was wrong to do so).

I brought my previous experience to something new and expected it to carry me forward into new territory in a very different environment. What I didn’t bring along was a new and open mindset. I over confidently got on my snowboard, leaned back as you do in surfing and set out to surf that mountain the way I thought I should. I learned, quickly and painfully, that I did the very thing that you’re not supposed to do.

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