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Smartphones, tablets, Foursquare, Quora, Colour, Google+… what is it this week? Whatever it is, if it’s new, marketers will be all over it like a cheap suit.

Here are ten reasons why...

  • New things are exciting. Old things are not exciting. Humans are pleasure-seeking by nature. And marketers are human – at least technically. 
  • Marketers live in a self-absorbed world where every practitioner is also an observer. So every new thing is absurdly over-analysed, hyped and magnified. Even though the buzz is self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling, it’s hard to ignore. 
  • Rapidly adopting a new thing means you can position yourself as forward-thinking and innovative, perhaps achieving a competitive advantage (in clients’ eyes at least). 
  • Even though many new things fail, it takes major cojones to come out for old, established things. In an industry where youth and novelty are prized above all else, to favour the old over the new is to risk looking scared of change
  • Early-stage stats lie. If four people use a site one week, and 36 sign up the next, you can point to a 1000% increase. That’s exponential! Get on board quick! (Later, more disappointing stats emerge, like 68% of Twitter accounts being dormant.)
  • If clients can be persuaded that the new thing represents a genuine addition rather than a dilution or a fragmentation, there will be an opportunity to charge them more for doing the new thing. (Savvy clients will reason that audience attention is finite, and cut their coat according to that cloth.)
  • By definition, less is known about a new thing than an old thing. So novel marketing tasks can be delegated to younger (cheaper) staff, whose inexperience will not hamper them. Clients will pay for them to learn on the job. 
  • By the same token, it is possible to ascend to ‘guru’ status very quickly if nobody knows very much about the new thing. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. 
  • Old things have proven, established principles, which clients are unfortunately in a position to learn about, allowing them to evaluate and question the marketer’s work. New things bring a blissful freedom from rules, analysis and accountability – just make it up as you go along. 
  • Change means churn in terms of people, teams and companies. The grass is always greener, so younger marketers reason that they probably have more to gain from change than from the status quo. 

The point of all this is that none of these points relate to the known commercial effectiveness of new things, or the benefit they might offer clients. 

Very often, it would be better for clients to wait and secure ‘fast follower’ advantage when a new marketing channel or technique appears – learning from others’ mistakes. But who’s going to tell them to do that?

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Published 9 August, 2011 by Tom Albrighton

Tom Albrighton is a copywriter and contributor to Econsultancy. He blogs here and tweets here. You can also add Tom to your Google+ circles. 

16 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Erin Feldman

Your article was painful to read. Unfortunately, many marketers work the way you state. They don't consider what's good for their client; they consider what's good for their wallets. Doing so is shortsighted. If the marketers don't have their clients' best interests at heart, those clients' businesses are going to fail. What happens to the marketers' wallets then? I suppose they continue onto their next victim, and I do think that is what a client is for those marketers - a victim. Those of us in marketing and PR who actually keep our clients' interests in mind at all times have a challenging road. We not only have to overcome a perception problem due to the existing, shady marketers, but we also have to be the voice of reason in a world that likes the latest and greatest things.

over 4 years ago

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Nick Stamoulis

I think there has to be a balance between investing in the new and maintaining the old techniques. You can't drop proven strategies because there is a new and shiny toy to play with. But I don't think we need to look at every emerging technology as a waste of time. Maybe we don't have to dive in right away, but it's worth getting a feel for it early.

over 4 years ago

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UK Suppliers

Hi,

In my point of view marketers want new change just because of customers. Every one wants new, innovative and smart changes in his/her life. If marketers can not introduce new plans and ideas to make customer more attract towards the product, he will be fail. The marketer ideas example is just like change in fashion with the time being. I mean if there comes a new dress with nice style and good looking material of clothing than everyone will move towards it. Same is the case with marketer that if he can promote his product with new emotional ideas and appeal than it will be good for sales and company`s benefit as well. It is the reason that why marketers look towards new ideas and techniques.

over 4 years ago

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