Do you remember those V8 commercials? Someone orders chicken instead of say, a carrot, and they get bonked in the head?
I just got bonked in the head, but it has nothing to do with juice. I got bonked in the head by tonight’s episode of 60 Minutes.
Tonight, there were two figures featured. One was Ben Bernanke, chair of the Federal Reserve, talking about what has been going on with the US economy and the world economy since the Fall of 2008. The second figure was Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. Guess who got top billing.
Sure the unemployment rate is up to 9.8%, but check out Facebook’s Facelift!
I predict that tomorrow, Twitter and the blogosphere will be jam-packed with analysis of the “new” Facebook. There will be posts saying how the new features will help business. There will be posts talking about the privacy concerns. There will be posts talking about how the first two groups are completely stupid and inane boggling idiots.
I’ll admit, I sat down to watch 60 Minutes so that I could at least make an educated contribution to all sides of the issues.
However, I sat down to watch the show from the beginning, which means that I saw Ben Bernanke talking about the current state of the economy. I watched him talk about the fact that we can’t really go into a double-dip recession because key indicators like housing are still so low they can’t really sink enough to hurt us.
I watched him talk about how this is the worst “recovery” maybe ever in the history of the US.
I watched him talk about how families are still feeling really insecure. I watched him talk about how companies are worried about near deflation-like prices, which means more people could see their wages cut or their jobs lost.
Somehow, Facebook just didn’t seem all that interesting anymore.
This is not a new state of affairs
As a marketer, I have been cognizant of the fact that the economy, worldwide, took a major dump in the Fall of 2008. It’s hard to find companies who have not been affected. It’s hard to find people who have not been affected.
But we’re not talking about this.
Marketers, since 2008, have concentrated full throttle on new technology, new media, new opportunities, and things that are dying (print, advertising, marketing itself, computers, the internet…Paul McCartney if you say Facebook backwards).
Is that what our clients and our audiences need from us right now? Not to be obtuse, but is a case study about Twitter usage from 2007 going to help a company that’s on the verge of declaring bankruptcy?
Well, what can we do about it?
I’m not saying that marketers can solve all of the world’s ills. The woes that companies are facing are not necessarily tied to grave marketing concerns. And yes, the times are tough for marketers too. Competition keeps getting tighter. The times keep changing faster. I get all of that. Truly. It’s my life too.
But I think we need to readjust our priorities a bit. How can this marketing advice help a sinking company swim? How can this technology make a difference for a company during these tough times?
I don’t see a whole lot of that out there. There isn’t a whole lot of recognition in this marketing community that the last almost 4 years (because things started going downhill in 2007) have been beyond tough for all of the people, all of the companies that we’re talking to.
So, I’ll read all of the posts and tweets and articles tomorrow about the new Facebook, how Mark wasn’t wearing a hoodie this time, and how he didn’t seem particularly sweaty. But it’ll be Ben Bernanke’s words ringing in my ears. We’re at a point where deflation isn’t unimaginable. We’re at a 9.8% unemployment rate in this nation. The rift between rich and poor in the US is the largest rift amongst all industrial countries.
How can we talk to that world?
What do you think?
Image by jacquet karine. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/chtroumfet