Medical practitioners, who were trained in the practice of bloodletting, never questioned its efficacy. They just assumed it worked because they were taught it worked and they credulously attributed the fact that some people got well to the treatment.
We are faced with a similar problem today in advertising. We have a whole generation of people who have been taught nonsense. They are now in important positions in marketing and advertising, and they are practicing what they have been taught.
For almost 20 years, advertising programs, marketing courses, and professional development classes have taught these people principles that can now be labeled either seriously flawed or outright baloney. Some of them are:
- Consumers want to interact with advertising.
- The "interruption" model is dead, and the "permission" model is transcendent.
- Consumers want to have "relationships" with brands and be "engaged" with them.
- Consumers are heavily influenced by online "conversations about brands."
- Broadcast media are "dead."
Marketing and advertising have always had their share of questionable beliefs. But never before in my experience has a whole generation of marketing and advertising people been taught an entire set of principles that is so lacking in a factual basis, and so influenced by anecdotes and fantasies.
Paradoxically, a generation that has been raised to worship data, is ignorant of the data that has evolved to demonstrate the fundamental fallacies of these principles.
Worse, they dismiss those of us who question their "bloodletting" as ignorant heretics.
Hat tip to Steve Goldstein