Dumb and Dumber

What is it about technology that creates so much fear and trepidation in the marketing world? Say the word and people tremble. Ask a question and executives break out in a sweat. Yet, is it worth delivering an idea and seeing nothing much happen? Despite the trembling and the sweats and the fear and trepidation, is it not worth a try?

It seems that maybe the terror of the unknown and the anxiety about failure, or possibly the dread of looking un-cool/un-hip, causes panic-related paralysis. It is considered better to ignore, hide behind ROI, budgets or resource allocation and hope that time is on your side. Either you will have moved on to another job and it becomes someone else’s problem (a real issue in a world where the average CMO is in the position less than two years, where they go for the short term instead of rocking the boat); or the sheer size and momentum of your business hides everything but the big obvious marketing initiatives – a phenomenon we have seen many times… And of course, does it really?
Bottom line, how do we cope? What should our approach be? What is the message of motivational support that will allow, nay, force our clients and us into action?

And, here is the thought:

“The computer is a moron.”
Peter F. Drucker

Simple. If ever a business quote opened the door for Wunderman and its thinking, this is the one.

I have spoken about this from atop a soapbox before, but it is becoming ever truer. In and of itself, technology is nothing but an enabler. The question is, of what?

No matter how brilliant the thinking behind it, the complexity of its design, or the intricacy of its model, technology without human insight built into its application and use is nothing. It is dumb.

You, my friends and colleagues, make it smart. You make it work. You make it profitable for our clients (and by extension us). And you make it a natural and powerful extension of all the activities that we are comfortable and at home with today – activities that at one time made our predecessors very uncomfortable and alienated.

The answer is never technology. The answer is always what the human/people need is that must be met, the action that is required and the result that is desired. Answer those questions, and the enabler becomes a catalyst for the solution, but it is never, in fact, THE solution.

Think about it. Read the following two paragraphs taken from the latest Annual Reports of key “Internet” companies and see if you think they get it.

“From the beginning, our focus has been offering our customers compelling value…Therefore, we set out to offer customers something they simply could not get any other way…We brought them much more selection than was possible in a physical store and presented it in a useful, easy-to-search and easy to browse format…”
Amazon 2003 Annual Report

“Key components of our community philosophy are maintaining an honest and open marketplace and treating individual users with respect.”
eBay 2003Annual Report

What do you think? Your turn.

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