“But how do you keep up with the pace of change in online marketing” – and other misconceptions

Very often friends, family or colleagues will ask me how on Earth us online marketing people keep up with all of the change in technology.

At which point I usually give a gentle sigh and try and put them right on one of the fundamental misconceptions of our discipline: it’s not about the technology – it’s about the people.

And people do not change that quickly… – or even at all.

So many people think that if they just get the latest app, or social media network, or tool, or CMS or CRM then they can deliver exponentially better results than their competitors – and then wonder why they do not. (often after vast expenditure too)

Put simply it is because they are focusing on totally the wrong part of the equation.  Technology is the toolset we use to do our job yes.  Yes – a better tool can make you more efficient at your job: having a good integrated emarketing platform is a prerequisite for  efficient delivery of effective marketing… – but if all you ever think about is the tools then you will always fail to understand the most critical part of the whole exercise: the people who will read, view or otherwise consume what you have created.

And unlike technology, people do not change.  They are now – and always have been – time pressured.  They are highly resistant to being lied to – and here technology helps them by allowing them to more quickly determine when they have been lied to.  People will always value word of mouth marketing from friends and family over anything we can say, and – to be blunt to a point few marketing people will ever admit to – they don’t really care about what we are saying.

If you think we are engaged in a technological discipline you are always going to fail.  This is about people: getting through to them in a way that means they do not immediately delete the email, close the browser tab or delete the app.  And yet so many people outside online marketing – and unfortunately inside it too – do not understand this.