It’s the Humanity, Stupid!

Caravaggio: The Sacrifice of Isaac
I don’t know why I haven’t posted something about this before. I find myself talking about this all the time. Here’s the gist:
Marketing is dead. You can be humans again.
No, really. Not the practice of taking things to market; I mean “marketing, the paradigm”. Marketing, of necessity, has been about dealing with customers at arm’s length. This is a byproduct of the industrial revolution. In order to pass the value of economies of scale to customers, companies had to be big. They had to talk to a lot of people. Since Gutenberg, the only tools available for—indeed the only ways to even think about—talking to a lot of people have been unidirectional. These univalent tools are the currency of marketing. They offer really no meaningful dialogue.

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No Wife, No Horse, No Mustache

origami unicorn
Innovation demigods, IDEO, have available for purchase these jaunty “method cards”. We bought some from the fine folks here at William Stout Architectural Books. We shipped ground—because our CFO is just like that—and we waited.
When they arrived, I took a third of the deck and divided the remaining between Steve and Ben. We thumbed through the cards, nodding and occasionally shifting our weight from one foot to the other. Perhaps it was the 11am sun reflecting off the mirrors that cover every surface in Ben’s cube, or even all the Sangria from breakfast; but whatever the reason, we were rather shocked to discover these.
Ben soberly suggested they were simply misprints. Obviously, this was met with derision. Steve and I had quickly recognized them for what they are; origami unicorns—clues alluding to the presence of a higher concept. What is IDEO trying to tell us here? We know they’ve worked with some of the biggest companies around, and even the government. Have we been chosen for enlightenment? Is there a handshake we need to learn? Please help us make sense of these cards. Maybe an IDEO adept (preferably like a 33-degree-er with access to this kind of knowledge) can give us some more information. I, for one, feel like I’m finally seeing the fnords.

Customer Service is Marketing

The Consumerist has a post about some excellent customer service from SmartBargains.com.
Every ad agency should be making every attempt to sell some kind of customer service initiative with every campaign. An authentic interaction. If the marketing is going to tell a compelling story, it had better be congruent with the customer’s experience when something inevitably goes wrong.

Post-Modern Marketing Moments, 2

…wherein I discuss the finer points of business theory with Odin, from his Madison Avenue penthouse, “Little Valhalla.”
me: Great place you’ve got here.
Odin:
me: Right, so for whatever it’s worth, I’ve drawn a good deal of inspiration from your business.
Odin: Oh yeah? What do you do?
me: We architect novelty. In all kinds of situations. In all kinds of organizations.
Odin: Well now you just need the big client.
me: We’re working on it. We’re talking to Macy’s about a big idea. We’ve been working with Monsanto on some novel communication approaches. But yes, we are always looking for big opportunities to help craft innovations.
Odin:
me:
Odin: Now you just need to get cool.
me:
Valkyrie: Hey, Odin, I’ve got some people here that want to be near your hair.
ODIN EXITS WITH VALKYRIE.
me: