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Archive for May 30th, 2009

Over-used expressions part I – “Paradigm shift”…

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A brief jaunt through Google News reveals over 500 “paradigm shifts” in the last three weeks, including:

“A Paradigm shift in Polymer material”, from ‘Materials Views’

A “Paradigm Shift in European Cash Clearing”, from Gerson Lehrman Group

Pakistan needing a “paradigm shift” to beat the Taliban, from the BBC

A “paradigm shift in how South Koreans view North Korea”, from the New York Times

… and Malaysia’s Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) simultaneously “working towards”, and “undergoing”, a major paradigm shift,  from Bernama.com

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Written by Richard Wilson

May 30, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Andrew Armour reviews “Don’t Get Fooled Again”

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Andrew Armour’s very generous review picks up on some of the arguments I make in “Don’t Get Fooled Again” about marketing rhetoric – and in particular the seemingly ubiquitous idea that one new product or another constitutes a “new paradigm”. Armour has a professional marketing background, and witnessed first-hand the “dot com bubble” around the turn of the century:

From Andrew Armour’s Blog

I worked in e-commerce (print management and e-tail)… and remember well the presentations explaining how all retail was going to change, every shopping mall was going to die and banks would become mobile phone companies. I’m surprised we were not told that hover cars were to take us to the centre of the earth and the Mars colony would be open by 2012. Boo.com was going to be the biggest clothing retailer in the Universe, even though nobody really wanted to buy clothes on-line and it was making no money. The ‘old-rules’ did not apply. Marketing forces? Propositions? Mechanics? So, so passe. The smartest lesson I learned from all of this was that channels evolved and very seldom disappeared because alternatives come along. Radio and cinema did not replace theatre. TV did not replace movies and digital music will not replace the live concert. Printed media is the latest to be told it is going to die but I would bet that whilst it will evolve and change it will not go away. Then – Friends Reunited was going to change everything. Then Facebook. Then Twitter. And to be fair, maybe social media channels will change a lot, they will have a place in the mix and will evolve as another tool in the marketing box but let us not avoid critical thinking when listening to the high priests telling us social media will dominate the future…

Wilson points out that the ‘new paradigm’ has a strong cultural base that is often hard to counteract even with logic and evidence… to resist the notion that the new is always brilliant is to appear old, doomed, obsolete and conservative. But – how many new ideas that were championed and promoted passionately as the new paradigm were complete flops? Fascism or communism anyone? Boo.com? Friends Reunited? Balancing radical ideas with rational actions is the increasing challenge of marketers and with the proliferation of marketing channels and tools, it is the decision about what to communicate, to whom and how that will remain. As Kelly famously put it; ‘ In an endless world of abundance the only thing in short supply is human attention’.

Written by Richard Wilson

May 30, 2009 at 8:49 pm