Room Temperature

Let’s discuss some of the new key concepts of the ever-changing Digital world we live in.

In fact these leading-edge ideas are the subject of talks, panels, analyst papers, even whole conferences.

More – you are nowhere if you can’t posture and pontificate about the leading edge.

So here goes:

The Social effect on marketing.

The power of experiential selling.

Interactivity.

Mobile.

Buzz.

Word of Mouth.

Free shipping.

Personalization.

All of these are the result of the Digital Revolution and are blazing new territory for business. If you aren’t a leader – you are lost.

NOT.

Frankly I have become incensed at the depthless chatter and mindless posing around this and more I am tired of the word traditional, which usually precedes the chatter and posing in order to establish that the chattering poseur is anything but.

Let me be specific –

Social has been with us since Eve offered Adam the apple based on the recommendation of the snake. It is core to our human DNA. In fact it is also core to many living beings, from bees to whales to horses and back again to ants and so on and so forth. It has driven religion, fashion, revolution, not to mention hatred, killing, and war. Digital channels and technology (read applications) might make it more efficient – but it works because it is.

Experiences? Give me a break. The best restaurants (and I mean any best, even a lowly pub, diner or bistro) work that way. The best stores, boutiques, merchants. Every service worth anything from a hairdresser/barber to a tailor to a doctor or lawyer understands the value of experiences. And again I’d posit that the understanding of how experiences drive social behavior is probably what made one cave more popular than another – way back when.

Interactivity? Give me a break. Talk to Lester Wunderman. Or check out the Sears Wish Book from the United States circa 1880 or so. There is nothing online as primally interactive – yet – there will be (continue reading…) I’ve referenced this before – worth Bing-ing to really understand.

The rest I will leave to you – my readers – and hope that you will post some examples – I will too…

However, I will end this part with Free Shipping, as I am still shaking my head in wonder at an analyst report I once read on Amazon extolling the brilliance of this new tactic…So it goes.

I attended a conference at Microsoft last week, Imagine 2011 where I had the opportunity to hear Qi Lu, Microsoft Online Services President and the driving force behind Bing. What struck me in his talk was his view of what he had helped to create. His point was that no one was waiting for yet another search engine – there were more than enough. The trick was to understand human behavior, he said. Watch what people did when they looked for information. What was important to them – where were they frustrated – what value could be added. The result was the decision engine – a way to help people get closer to the decision information they needed as opposed to just general search. Successful? Time will tell – but Google is copying them….

Ron Howard, former US child TV star and world-famous director, also spoke. He reiterated the need to tell stories and good ones at that – yes, technology is great and adds huge value – often unexpected value – but without a good yarn – who cares.

And yours truly also had a turn and referenced the notion that everything – even print is digital today.

All of which leads me to this thought:

“It doesn’t make a difference what temperature a room is, it’s always room temperature.”
Steven Wright

Or as articulated by the Bard –

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare

And there you have it. Call it what you will; cover it in layers of whatever – it is what it is. And my deepest and strongest belief is that we have held back the best development of exciting channels because we seek to reinvent the fundamentals as opposed to building, riffing, and developing paths for clear truths.

Yair Goldfinger, one of the creators of ICQ (why we are all able to IM, BBM and such), once told me that he never used a focus group or took unilateral decisions – he watched people – he sat behind them and observed how they behaved and made use of the early versions and each iteration after.

How refreshing to hear that two of the great tech innovators of our time – Qui and Yair – deferred to you and me…humbling – particularly the next time you are tempted to discuss the recent origins of that new phenomenon known as shopping….

What’s your view?

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