In the 16th century an English gentleman named Martin Frobisher discovered vast wealth in a Canadian mine. He loaded hundreds of tons of gold into three chartered ships and returned home with the expectation of a fine profit. To his surprise, the gold was revealed as iron pyrite, a near worthless mineral.
Frobisher’s plight gave birth to the phrase “fool’s gold” and a recognition that not all shiny objects are what they appear.
This lesson is especially relevant for today’s business-to-business and public sector marketer. The meteoric rise of Web, social, digital, content and analytics technologies, capabilities and offerings often result in misguided and unfulfilled expectations.
It’s the holiday season which means your Email inbox and social media channels will soon populate with predictions for the New Year. Here are two hyped projections I believe are akin to Frobisher’s gold:
1. Personalized Content Streams to Drive Reader Engagement. This sounds awesome in theory. Through a study of analytics, a company can push a customer or prospect the right information, in the right format at the right time. The potential is so compelling that respected publishers like the New York Times are investing in this area.
What’s the problem?
Reader interests are broad, diverse and constantly shifting. The better play is to produce and publish in different media formats (i.e. written, podcasts, video and infographics), and then focus on design/user interface so the reader can identify and consume the content of their choice.
2. Integrated Marketing, Content and Technology from a Single Source. Imagine the efficiencies achieved by retaining one vendor to handle the broad spectrum of marketing requirements. It would be seamless, flawless and pristine.
Yet, the ability to effectively execute across multiple and diverse disciplines is simply a bridge too far. Vendors have specific expertise woven into their DNA. A provider kluged together through acquisition can spin a good story. That’s about it though.