May 28, 2019

The Stupidity Of Ignoring Older People

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak at the NextM conference in Copenhagen, hosted by Group M.

Here is a short excerpt from my talk. In this section I'm talking about the stupidity of marketers who are obsessed with millennials and ignore older people.

May 22, 2019

I Go To Conferenceland

One of the downsides of making your living as a loudmouth is that you have to do it in public. This means participating in conferences. As everyone knows, there's nothing in the world as dreary as a marketing conference, with the possible exception of a State of the Union address or lunch with a CMO.

It is my good fortune that when I speak at conferences I am usually billed as the keynote, which often means I get to speak first. Speaking first has one great advantage. After I speak I can wait until no one's looking then sneak out the back door and find a nice quiet bar.

I was at a conference a few months ago and I decided to be mature and hang around and listen to some speakers. I'll never make that mistake again. Here's what I learned:
  • The future is going to be amazing. No one's going to have to do anything. Everything will be done for us by AI, or robots, or Jeff Bezos. We won't have to work, rotate our tires, or chew our food.
  • Robots, by the way, will be stealing our jobs, our airline miles, and our children
  • Women will also be amazing. When they run everything there will be no poverty, or inequality, or wait times at the Genius Bar. Except that one from Theranos.
  • Advertising, on the other hand, is not amazing. In fact, it's dead. It's going to be replaced by Google glasses or flying cars or moving sidewalks or something.
  • Better expect the unexpected because if you expect the expected than your expectations will be unexpectedly... I don't know...something very scary.
  • China and India are going to have their own internets which will be better than ours because your password will be embedded in your brain or your kidneys and you won't have to update Flash every half hour.
  • Data is not only the secret to marketing success, it also makes your car's engine run smoother and -- something you probably didn't know -- it makes a great Father's Day gift!
  • Facebook is changing. No, really, they mean it this time! They're going to be double-extra careful with our data, our bank account numbers, and our drug bust records by taking all our files and putting them in Ziploc bags. And if anyone tries to break into them they will suspend them and not let them open another Facebook account for almost twenty minutes. Unless they use another name.
  • Consumers love your brand and want a relationship with it and want to join the conversation about it and share it with their tribe... or, wait a minute... (DISSOLVE TO 30 MINUTES LATER)... brands mean nothing to consumers. The internet has disintermediated everything and the whole idea of brands is totally stupid... (CUT TO PANEL DISCUSSION)
  • Gen Z is a whole new species of human that is even cooler than millennials. You have to get rid of all those clueless millennials you just hired because they are stupid dinosaurs. If you don't have a Gen Z strategy in place by tomorrow 9am you are already too late and you are dead. By the way, we are holding a 3-day Gen Z Insider Summit in Orlando next month...
  • Consumers will love your brand of orthotic shoe inserts even more if your brand purpose aligns with their values and they know you are committed to world peace and colonic cleansing.
  • And, by the way, everything is changing and if you don't change you will be left behind and die. It doesn't matter what you are, you have to change into something else. It doesn't matter what you change into as long as you stop doing whatever it is you are doing and start doing something else that requires AI, robots, or Jeff Bezos.
Bottom line: The only sensible reason for attending a marketing conference is to get as far away as possible from the dreary reality of marketing. Like Disneyland, marketing's conferenceland is so much cleaner, prettier, and safer than actual marketing.

My advice is stay the hell away from marketing conferences unless, of course, I'm speaking. In which case, bring the whole family.