Postcreditcrunchism: marketing is the measure of all things

Every recession is a reckoning.  Seemingly untouchable business empires crumble and disappear practically overnight.  New ones, perhaps Richmond based, rise out the rubble.

This recession is no different.  The financial industry’s plunge was abrupt and violent.   The rest of us are still spinning in the vortex of change.

So what’s out?  Relativism.  Soft opinions. Subjectivity.  Emotion.  Man is no longer the measure of all things.

And what’s in?  Absolutism.  Hard facts.  Objectivity.  Statistics.  Marketing is the measure of all things.

New order marketing firms need to put a data fist into their creative gloves.  Here’s our verdict on how the contenders are shaping up.

WPP and Omniture
WPP is a vast empire.  An empire under threat.

Its tie up with Omniture acknowledges demand for “analysis, measurability and focus on return on investment.”  It’s a positive admission of an historical failure to turn data into action: a failure that can no longer be tolerated.

Verdict: The Empire Strikes Back’ unleashes Service Cloud made a fortune in sales force automation.  It wants to make another one by turning loose web data into structured actionable information.

Service Cloud allows clients to “enable businesses to join the conversation” on search engines, social networks and web forums.  Firms gather loose product feedback, structure it, and  plan intelligent service responses direct to customers.

Verdict: Empire Building

Facebook and Polls
Facebook sits on a data goldmine.  It knows it.  You know it.  Users knows it.  But can it unlock the cash without fomenting a mass user exodus?

The company needs to find a way, as the Guardian puts it, “to tap the value of all the rich user data that the site gathers”.  The poll idea is interesting, but it doesn’t sound like the latent actionable information that will open well-guarded corporate vaults.  And as for the latest volte-face on personal data…

Verdict: Emperor’s New Clothes

A shift from qualitative to quantitative assessment is here.  It’s no bad thing.  If half our marketing doesn’t work, then let’s stop doing it.

Author Paul Brodeur once said “statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off.”   We need to be tougher now.


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