Don’t Expect Campaigns to Disappear Anytime Soon

Sometimes I wonder about supposed technology trends that are discussed. One of the latest trends I am hearing about is the death of the marketing campaign.

Marketing technologists and analysts say that new tools will put an end to the dreaded campaign. My response? Don’t bet on it.

In the mid 2000s, this meme emerged for the first time. Then, the end of the marketing campaign was a Cluetrain Manifesto-esque railing against corporate treatment of customers. Thanks to social media, corporations would be forced to talk to customers, one to one.

What ended up happening was a new way for brands to cultivate loyalists, customers used a different public channel to complain (hello, Twitter!), and an immense amount of data was created. As for the marketing campaign, it now includes social media.

This time, contextual media and broken funnels drive the meme. Automation solutions will use data created from social media, and companies will be forced to create Choose Your Own Adventure content and lead paths to better serve customers. Global campaigns will end, forcing niche campaigns.

Sound familiar? I think so, too, though a bit more realistic than the one-to-one argument from the prior decade.

Why Campaigns Won’t End


Marketing automation will empower companies to create strong niche campaigns as opposed to deploying one-size fits all efforts. Though customized and more targeted, this will not end the campaign, rather make it more sophisticated with better tools.

The problem with ending campaigns is threefold. First, marketing campaign critics always address the matter from the perspective of the customer. They forget that campaigns are often a function of corporate budgets and anticipated profits. The same could be send for nonprofits and annual fundraising.

Budgets and revenue are time-bound, especially for public companies. This creates a compelling reason to develop specific campaigns within budget that achieve the necessary results, all to satisfy shareholders, owners, and keep companies and nonprofits alive.

Second, customers don’t react to campaigns, say the pundits. Well, actually customers just don’t like marketing period, but they do react to campaigns when they need/want a product or service. What the Internet evolutions of the recent past have shown us through tracking is a much more sophisticated non-linear sales cycle.

OK. So, that tells me that marketing campaigns will become more sophisticated, with better tools (automation, for example), more transmedia options for customers to accesss information, and more specified messaging. But like the social media era, the campaign evolves. It doesn’t disappear.

Finally, campaigns address a human need on both the customer and the company side of the equation: A desire for new. Whether it’s a mobile phone, a car, or a software solution, people have come to expect new evolutions from their current provider and competitors alike. Similarly, new products and services drive growth and competition amongst companies.

Guess how new products and services are launched? You got it, with campaigns. Customers may not like marketing, but they like the same old boring marketing campaign even less. The campaign helps fulfill the core need of new.

Until Wall Street ends quarterly expectations and companies and nonprofits stop functioning on an annual budget; the ability to adapt to customer expectations disappears; and the need for new things ends; marketing campaigns are here to stay. I’ll check back with the pundits in the 22nd century.

What do you think?

A version of this post ran originally on the Vocus blog.

Save a Life This Spring

We often think the holidays are the most dangerous time for those suffering from depression, but in actuality it is spring.

Maybe it’s the hopes of change the New Year brings. When a long winter offers little relief and the weather turns, a staggering amount of people choose to take their own lives.

The IMAlive Online Crisis Network needs your help to meet the annual surge of suicides. I’ve decvided to help, and have made IMAlive Tenacity5 Media‘s pro bono client for 2014.

You, see I understand how scary suicide is. I’ve had several friends commit suicide over the years, and had someone very close to me confess ideation of suicide in 2012. In that case, I was able to convince my friend to get help. X was diagnosed with clinical depression, received medication, and has been doing progressively better. Let me be clear, if X had committed suicide the effects would have been just devastating in my life. I wish I could tell you more, but I’ve been asked not to reveal this person’s identity.

More people die of suicide these days than in car accidents, 38,364 victims in 2010 according to the CDC. And anyone of any age is a possible victim, not just the young and elderly. Middle-aged people represent the largest growth demographic for suicide.

The statistics are staggering. The impact on real people’s lives is far worse. I talk periodically with Reese Butler, founder of IMALive and parent 501c3, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center. Reese’s Kristin died by suicide in 1998 leaving him and his child with a fragmented life. If you ever have a chance, listen to Reese tell his story. It’s powerful and devastating at the same time. Needless to say, the impact on Reese was just horrible, and he has committed his life’s work to try and prevent others from suffering the way that he and hundreds of thousands already do.

People in crisis generally don’t have the energy or ability to take on a long search for help. Please lend a hand to those around you who may be suffering in silence find the help they need within seconds.

You can give your year-end tax deductible donation to the IMAlive Online Crisis Network here. IMAlive uses your tax deductible dollars to make sure that crisis counselors are available 24-7 online and by telephone so that whenever someone needs to talk, they receive an answer.

Thank you for helping to save a life like Kristin’s this Spring.

The above photo features Kristin Brooks in a 1931 Ford Model T.

Saying Goodbye Sucks Sometimes

Sometimes you have to cut ties and say good-bye to people. Relationships change, decisions are made, matters becomes intolerable with no hope for improvement. This can happen in your personal or professional life.

And sometimes it really sucks. It hurts to tell someone that you can’t be around them anymore, especially when you care about the relationship.

I had one of these conversations this week with a relationship that spanned decades, and it was extremely painful.

When It’s Time to Leave

Lisa Gerber wrote an insightful post on this topic a while back. It was a great post. She discussed when people undermine you and don’t live up to their promises that you have to make the break.

I’d add that when someone you know attacks, steals, or just becomes so downright mean to you (or someone you love) over an extended period of time that you may want to sever ties. There may be little choice. At that point it becomes a question of self-respect and welfare.

Sometimes people do things that are so obviously egregious you don’t have to say a thing. Instead you just walk away. It pays to say as little as possible. Volatile situations are never made better by harsh words.

One time, some people I know stole some ideas from me, and then used them. A close friend helped. Shame on me for opening my mouth and trusting these folks. Shame on them for violating that trust. All of them are no longer a part of my life, but perhaps everyone is better for it. Two of them got the ideas, and I learned the loose lips lesson.

In this case, I severed relationships by simply ending communications and social network ties. I could not see investing in the relationships again anytime in the forseeable future.

But when I really care, I communicate. Today, I try to do so in a factual manner, as gently as I can and with love, always focusing on the positive memories. Perhaps I express a little regret.

There have been many times when I let my emotions get the best of me, and expressed anger, but today I do my best to avoid outrage. Expressing as little anger as possible with the offending party leaves the door open.

Reunions and Forgiveness

This week also held a reunion with a prior friend, a business contact that I had a falling out with before I became an entrepreneur. It was good, we talked about it with the pain of yesterday behind us as a distant memory. There was an apology. When you walk away with as little bloodshed as possible, you leave open the chance that such moments can happen.

The reunion reminded me of Ben Affleck’s Argo acceptance speech. In it Affleck said, “You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.”

As I walked away from this reunion, I left pondering forgiveness and what it means. And I felt a need to embellish in a little gratitude.

More next week about these topics. What do you think about cutting ties?

Image by Vito Santoro.

Just Quit and Leave

Dolphin Tale Wave

How often do we see big dramatic ends to blogs, declarations of account deletions, mass unfollowings on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.?

I’m not sure what anyone gains out of these posts and statements other than attention.

Personally, I find a pie in the face works just as well!

All jokes aside, I know some folks enjoy the discussion, but I don’t. It’s a waste of my bandwidth, and in the case of social networks, these declarations seem to cause more drama than anything else.

People don’t need to justify pulling the plug on anything online. How anyone chooses to invest their time is a personal choice!

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