In this current age of multi-tasking, multi-roles, multi-networks and multi-everything, a few things seem to stand out quite clearly.
Many appear to be the inevitable outcome of ever-increasing activity and interactivity across multi-platforms.
The first is that people are going to increasingly become skimmers (borrowing a term commonly bandied by the media socialists) rather than divers. With so many online (and offline) options screaming out at us, paying attention beyond a couple of seconds may become a thing of the past.
Perhaps we should coin a new name for this condition – Distractus digitalis?
The second is that almost anybody in an online or mobile space would have an army of acquaintances. Think about the number of folks on Twitter who has added you in the last 24 hours, or the number of fan page invites from Facebook.
If we believe that every member or friend in your list is keen in your product or service, you would have an armada of customers beating the path to your shops. Yet the reality may be far more sobering.
The third is that it isn’t enough that each new product launch becomes bolder, brighter, and more beautiful than the previous one. You now need to have arresting anecdotes, heartfelt “Hallmark” moments, and a fascinating backstory on your blog/facebook page/twitter account/fill-in-the-social-media-blanks to your business if you ever hope to stand out from the rest.
What’s alarming is that the entire conversational marketing push purportedly catalysed by multiple social technologies may become as dead as a digital dodo.
There is so much overcrowding and jostling for attention in every social networking channel imaginable – even amongst family, friends and fans – that getting people to talk about your product or service is only going to work if you are remarkable beyond belief (or a damn cute celebrity).
How many lasting relationships can we really form, beyond our various inner circles of contacts?
How many wonderful stories can we spin about our company – short of hiring Stephen King on our payroll?
More importantly, who do we really trust to give us honest-to-goodness, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die feedback on what’s a really great product or service?
What this means is that we are ironically going back full-circle to AIDA (an artefact of Advertising 101), which kind of goes like this:
Attracting people to notice and pay attention to us – or to befriend us in the first place;
Generating their Interest in our product or service – as well as their interest in our buzzworthy or noteworthy story;
Stimulating their Desire in what we have to offer – and their desire to discuss it across both offline and online platforms; and
Getting people to Act on that information and to purchase it – or talk about it to their various networks, contacts and affiliates.
In the bigger scheme of things, it is surprising how things haven’t really changed despite the revolution behind social media, blogs and that whole 2.0 thing. In the end, it is still about spin, albeit packaged in new wine skins.
Do you agree with me?
Update: To clarify further, perhaps I should state that I truly believe that Word Of Mouth and grassroots evangelistic styles of marketing do work. Relationships do matter a lot more in this day and age as a first step in building trust and respect for a brand. However, it is undeniable that only the very gifted few can hope to cut through the clutter in an ocean of channels, platforms, networks and aquaintances.