Monday, November 21, 2016

The Information Lacuna.

One of the biggest problems in our world today--and certainly one of the biggest problems in marketing--is that we have too much information. 

And no place to find information.

Here's an example:

My 1966 Simca 1600, love it as I do, is growing a little long-in-the-tooth. It seems that I have to drive it down to Lothar, my Croatian mechanic in Toms River, New Jersey, about once-a-month.

It's not big things that go wrong. Maybe the steering feels a little mushy, or I hear a series of coughs and backfires as I make my way up and down the hills and valleys of northwestern Connecticut.

In any event, the Simca is beginning to provide more pain than pleasure. 

So I begun the process of buying a new car. In fact, I pretty much know what I want to buy. I just can find nowhere online if the coupe I'm looking at seats four or five. 

You can't really tell from the photos online. You can't tell from any printed material that I've been able to find. And the literally hundreds of articles and thousands of comments supply me with no answers.

I'm not ready to call a dealer or walk into a dealership. I can't find a way to find out.

I fear that hunger amid obesity is the dilemma of our information age.

Most of this is due to the web.

Digital advertising units are too small to have copy. And company websites are too limited in copy as well. Besides they're, as a rule, horribly organized. 

If the information is there, you can't find it. And if you do find it once, you can't find it again. 

Also, there's no source that clarifies, compares and contrasts. You're on your own.

Every time I get an assignment to do that entails creating some digital ad units, I say to everyone assembled the same thing.

"We need the digital equivalent of a double-truck with gutter."

This was the space to tell a story. To craft an argument. The work with and help a consumer--a thinking consumer--make a well-informed decision.

I think one of the reasons behind the ephemeral and fractious relationship most people have with brands is that brands do nothing to validate a buyer's decision-making process. 

In short, there's virtually no brand left that makes you feel smart for choosing them.

I know the feeling "smart" is not one usually lusted after by planners and MBAs and people of that ilk. They're usually looking for modern and contemporary or cool.

Maybe they're right and I am once again a voice crying in the wilderness or--worse--a stranger in a land I no longer understand.

However it seems to me we have been beaten long-enough with the bludgeon of "best-practices."

And those best-practices yield six clicks per 10,000 views, and no sense that the brand cares, listens and is useful.

The truth of the matter is this: the web and all its corollary spinoffs as marketing media exist because of one thing: they're cheap. 

No brand has ever been built via the web. 

It is the domain of small space, fraudulent ad-buying processes, and machine-generated cliches and jargon.

Worse, because it is ostensibly cheap, it has destroyed every serious media in its way.

In the race to the bottom, the web has won. Its high Priest in Donald Trump. Its Minister of Propaganda is Steve Bannon.

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