We get the advertising we deserve. As marketers, we’ve put our skepticism on hold. And we’ve been taken. Programmatic buying, content marketing, influencer marketing, and native advertising are just a few of the fallacies the advertising ecosystem has foisted on marketers in the last few years.
We’re just magpies, looking for next shiny thing. And magpies, in case you didn’t know, can’t do science. An infographic or a vendor white paper is about as scientific as most of us get. And because we’re easy to fool, it’s easy for those fooling us to use our own tendencies against us.
Bob Hoffman quotes Richard Feynman extensively in The Problem Isn’t Technology. It’s Us. I encourage you to read Feynman’s address to the 1974 graduating class at Caltech, Cargo Cult Science.
Although Feynman was speaking in the age of ESP, transcendental meditation, Uri Geller, and other such woo, he was really speaking about the eternal problem of human nature. We’ve wanted to believe in magic since we sat in caves, looking at the stars, and making up stories about what they were and how they go there.
The caveman with the best story got a special hat, a bigger cave, and tribute from the other cavemen. The cavemen today get a C round, unicorn status, and a perpetual speaking slot at every conference to feed you more B.S. If they’re really good, they go to Davos. Or get a TED talk.
Be the solution. Run clean univariate tests. Hire a few people with grey hair that have seen a few cycles of B.S. Most of all, be scientific. Science is harder work than unthinking believing, but will do wonders for your bottom line.