I don’t know when I came up with the tag line “Stating the bleedin’ obvious since 1970” for this blog but I seem to recall it was a reaction to the level of hero worship that is afforded to those who merely… state the bleeding obvious.
I’m talking about leading figures in the industry, in my case those on the web in business and marketing, who have a propensity to get the utmost adulation for the most patently obvious of statements and “ideas”.
Nielsen seems to have been replaced by Seth Godin these days, although in a slightly tangential field, as the modern day guru [Other gurus may be available] Godin recently stated, as pointed out in Seth Godin’s Social Media Experiment post over at Robert Clay’s Marketing Wizdom blog, that (my distillation of the points here), with regards to marketing on twitter:
- Quality is better than quantity (in terms of number of followers) and
- All you have to do is write viral content
Point 1 is so bleedin’ obvious that it hardly warrants talking about. Everyone knows that quality is better than quantity, right?
As for point 2, where all you have to do is write content that will “go viral” – That’s easier said than done. Godin has the luxury of making that statement from a place in time where has the reputation and traction in order to make his own statements “viral”. They are not, in themselves (in my opinion), viral. In context of Godin’s status in the industry they become so.
Viral content, to me, is of the ilk of the Honda Hate Something, Change Something campaign back in, when, 2004/2005? With its sunny animation and catchy tune, the ad campaign caught the attention of so many people – Even my late father surprised me by sending me an official postcard from the Honda campaign all the way from sunny Devon.
Gassy, orange-coloured, sugar-filled soft drink brands have also benefited from truly viral marketing – Who can forget You know when You’ve been Tango’d? Or how about The Pot Noodle Horn or The Slag of all Snacks?
Not being a follower, I don’t know who Seth Godin’s target audience is nor who the actual demographic might be, but by insinuating that brand managers and marketers should spend less time chasing followers and more time creating viral content is both a great & obvious sentiment yet also potentially falling on fallow ground.
Who actually creates constant and regular viral campaigns, viral content? How big are these teams? Are there any/many single minds? Do they have the time or the budget to dedicate to only creating viral content? How much time and budget is actually involved in “doing viral”? Do these people have off-days? Is there a time when the well runs dry or the muse escapes? Where did Seth Godin start? Did he have thousands of retweets of his very first comments/thoughts? How long was it before they gained traction? At what point and with what variables in place did he attain critical mass?
So if there’s a great big market out there for making money out of stating the bleeding obvious then maybe I’m in the wrong job? If you can garner squeals of delight, gasps of awe, go viral and get paid every time you say things like “You’ll get more customers if you pick up the phone every single time it rings” then maybe I should start right now?
Here’s one, you can have this for nothing:
“Your computer will be more productive if you switch it on.”