Monday, February 22, 2016

Marketing Failure is a Clash of Cultures.

I recently collaborated on a project with a psychologist friend Dr. Jody Dean, Ph.D. Dr. Dean and I were attending different graduate schools at the time of our meeting years ago. Following school, I went off to travel internationally with Olympic Track & Field Teams later using those techniques to reduce workers compensation injuries in the insurance sector. Dr. Dean went on to work within largest most esteemed corporations in the country. The reason for narcissistically relating my background is I can say with expertise and after meeting most of the world leaders, ie Mandella, Tutu, Mubarak, Hussain, and others while deployed in Africa and Europe, she is one of the most brilliant minds and people I have ever met. She and I look at things from different perspectives but with similarity in our conclusions. With this said, we were tackling problems of the day and the subject of marketing came to the forefront of our discussion. When I was at Carnegie Mellon working on projects that later became the drone program, we the Baby Boomers who ran the program had issues with the younger generations. The problem we had, the younger "pilots" and analysts had limited problem-solving skills and experience. They were great at sending information and gathering information, however, when it came to information implementation or problem solving, they were lost. Case in point, Dr. Dean related that we, the Boomers, had to solve little problems as children, that we thought they were insurmountable at the time. The example was poignant, if the chain broke on our bike, we had to find a way to fix it, to get home. We were free range children, only coming home when the streetlights came on. There wasn't a child we knew that didn't have a stubbed toe, broken arm or have some bandages somewhere. Our parents guided us the best they could but as Dr. Dean related "those experiences developed critical executive function capabilities that we may not see in the younger population". Dr. Dean also provided the example, "today if the bike chain breaks, the child is either in constant view of the parent or can call the parent via cell phone to receive assistance". We didn't have helicopter parents, play days, or oversight, we were free range children, we had to figure it out either alone or with friends. This eliminated a child's ability to problem-solve building on the little inconveniences to the larger problems of today. 
What we are seeing today is a large barrage of product marketing spread across all marketing platforms. The younger generations think in computer code, and their problem-solving skills revolve as they relate to a computer. Simply put very little real world problem-solving skills, because they have a net. We didn't have a net we were as I stated we were free range children, our friends were the net. The marketing paradigm today is to just bombard us with information. No education on why one product is better than another product, just fear best-selling, ie you need this or you die...Why does this occur, because the marketing monopoly is based on social media, most social media marketers have no idea what they are selling. They are insulated from failure, they just throw out information without in most cases any reference or fact. Fact finding and "need" have been pushed onto the consumer for research.  Now the Baby Boomers are retiring or dying. Baby Boomers grew up watching TV shows, these sitcoms and shows with family values ie Leave it to Beaver et all, all highlighted problem-solving skills, social problems and how to navigate them. These shows are lost to TV land in rerun form. Now you have a whole class of marketers that when faced with significant challenges run to GoFund Me like Kanye West begging for help. The solution for marketing companies, hire the old grizzled Boomer to strategize the message and let the other generations send or receive the information and analytics. The boomers will look at past history, life experience to facilitate success, this translates into profitability. You want to succeed take the two worlds and combine them to form an unstoppable force.