Thought I’d share Mitch Joel’s recent interview with me on his popular podcast series. Mitch has been at this — blogging, podcasting, creating, running a digital agency — for a long time. He blogs at Six Pixels of Separation and has authored a book by the same name. On his podcast he’s hosted many of the usual suspects — Joseph Jaffe, Valeria Maltoni, Amber Naslund — but also more notable personalities and authors such as Douglas Rushkoff. In his spare time, Mitch runs his own digital agency, Twist Image.
Mitch and I met (virtually) during an episode of the Beancast a year ago and liked one another’s thinking. Here we talk about the evolution of advertising, the marketing industry’s miserable failure to market itself, the changes in the next generation’s expectations, and how all things digital are affecting everything from the people we hire, to the work we produce, to the organizations we manage.
If you’re at all like me, you’ll have a hard time sitting through anything this long, but should you be stuck in traffic when NPR’s having a fund raiser, perhaps you can give it a listen. (Actually there’s some good stuff here.)
Or if you want, just jump to the content that interests you. I’ve simplified some of it below and noted the time code so you can fast forward to anything that interests you.
Lessons from a Boulder Digital Works Entrepreneurial Class (18:45)
This story about students at Boulder Digital Works reveals that the new generation is way better at collaborating than their predecessors. They can work in a structure void of hierarchy. And most importantly, they have no interest in advertising or ad agencies. They want to make stuff. Ramifications? Agencies and marketers need to change what they produce if we’re to recruit the talent we really need to prosper long term. We need to re-evaluate what we’re capable of achieving ourselves. And we may want to question the hierarchy that defines our own organizations.
As individuals we should all do more with the new social media tools (25:15)
A few thoughts on why we shouldn’t limit our efforts to selling other peoples’ products to other peoples’ customers with other peoples’ money. As marketers, strategists and creators we know how to distill information, generate compelling ideas, gather community, mobilize followers, persuade and influence. Why not do more of it for the causes and ideals that matter to us as individuals or that might be good for the communities in which we live.
Brands need to get more inventive in the social media space (30:19)
Enough already with the promotions, Facebook engagement ads, gimmicks and other ways in which we simply port interruptive advertising to the social spaces. We need new and better ideas that add real value and utility, that invite customers to co-create with us, that (like The Common) create brands that do as much for others as for themselves.
Freeing ourselves from the grip of muscle memory (37:20)
Muscle memory drives us to solve problems a certain way: digital agencies with CRM and data rather than a driving brand idea; ad agencies with messages rather than utility. We all tend to think according to how we’ve been trained. Of course that doesn’t necessarily bode well in an era when everything is converging: brands, stories, content, services, technology, applications. But there are three things you can do. Push for the extreme (in order to move it a little.) Change up the teams by mixing in more technology. Find ways to create more collisions.
Got nothing better to do? Take a listen. Like it? Mitch has more podcasts over at his place.