It’s no secret that today’s ever-accelerating rate of technological change is having an enormous effect on our lives. Many of the effects are positive—keeping friends and relatives in our social orbits who we may have lost touch with in another era, staying immediately abreast of even our most arcane interests, or the pseudo-immediate gratification of Amazon Prime. But many effects aren’t so positive.
Sure, there’s Pokemon Go fatigue and the tidal flood of porn, but by far the biggest of these negative effects is the overwhelming stress and disorientation that comes with our inability to fundamentally and effectively process the changes technology brings into our lives. Attempts to cope with this stress manifest in many unproductive ways: the psychosis of presenting imagined, perfect lives in social feeds; disconnected families reading screens instead of real faces; the meteoric rise in the number of self-appointed social media gurus ready to help us take control of our personal brands.
One constructive result is the increasing movement to simplify, declutter and strip down our lives to the essential people and things that truly matter to us. Rooted in the Buddhist philosophy of eliminating want, this attempt to regain focus is essentially a quest for meaning, a return to a place with more space for the most rewarding aspects of life — our health, relationships and passions.
I would argue that no one in our society feels the stress of technological change more keenly than the modern-day marketer. Because, in a sense, the modern-day marketer is dealing with change without exchange — new tools and technologies aren’t replacing old ones, they are compounding. Mobile, social, email, display and search are added to the mix of “traditional” channels while nothing gets taken away, so the list keeps growing, as do the number of platforms that must be evaluated. And don’t look now, but here comes virtual. Guess who gets to separate the marketing hype from the utility there?
Marketers today aren’t looking for sympathy. Most are by nature forward-thinking, curious and highly adaptive creatures. But I would venture to say that the vast majority crave a true clarity of focus amid the noise of today’s crowded marketplace, free of the crippling FOMO on the brand benefits of the next technological platform. So how can overwhelmed marketers find that clarity? The answer is simple. Literally.
Make the choice to simplify — to declutter and strip down to a focus on the people essential to the success of your brand. Stop spraying and praying and instead identify the meaning you bring to the world, then make the space to reward the relationships that definition creates. Recognize that a world of connected mobile devices and social platforms has placed a premium on engagement, and the last thing today’s consumers want to hear is a one-size-fits-all message shouted through a megaphone hoping someone, anyone, is listening.
Or, simplified: Get more customers by talking to fewer people.