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You don't have to spend too much time around marketing and media people to discover that they are obsessed with anything digital, anything millennial, and anything programmatic.

The preoccupation with everything new, hot, and trendy, regardless of its value or importance, is a pattern that has infected both media and marketing.

Here are a few examples...

Last week I got an email from someone telling me that a marketing publication had  promoted me to "advertising great Bob Hoffman" from my usual status as "Luddite dinosaur Bob Hoffman." My ego had to investigate.

In order to read the publication in question -- SmartBrief -- I had to subscribe. This is the type of publication that I would normally subscribe to only under threat of death. But, c'mon, vanity trumps all. So this week I got my first edition of "SmartBrief On Marketing Leadership."

It contained summaries and links to fifteen articles about marketing. Of these fifteen articles, twelve  (80%) were concerned with online marketing.

According to the US Department of Commerce, 8% of retail activity occurs online. So the concentration on online marketing in this case was out of proportion by a factor of 10. This is an enormous but not atypical compulsion to focus on what is essentially a modest component of the total marketing picture.

But that ain't nothing.

In our second example, Prof. Mark Ritson of Australia, a younger and more intelligent Luddite dinosaur, did a review of print media in his country to see how obsessed the media had become with millennials. He found that articles about millennials occurred 42 times as frequently as any other demographic group.

Millennials make up about 22% of Australia's population, which means that, if my math is correct (which it rarely is) media obsession with millennials is about 200 times out of proportion.

Our third example takes us to the UK where the Guardian did a wonderful experiment. According to Mediatel, they bought advertising in their own newspaper using programmatic (software-based) systems, just like their advertisers do. The purpose was to see how their "programmatic" money was being spent. Here's what they found: Adtech middlemen were sucking up as much as 70% of the money advertisers thought they were spending on advertising space. Here's a partial diagram of the adtech "ecosystem." Don't  even try to understand it or, I promise, your brains will fall out.


The marketing and advertising industries are some of the world's trendiest, and demonstrate very little interest in perspective. As they become more deeply buried in their own feedback loop and compulsively echoing each other, they continue to lose touch with the real world.


Report On Mobile Commerce

According to eMarketer, mobile commerce (buying activity on a smartphone or tablet) doubled last year. Count me as officially skeptical that consumer activity on a tablet (which constitutes about 50% of "mobile commerce") is actually mobile. I would bet most tablet purchases occur at home. (Just looked it up. Nielsen says 70% of tablet usage is at home.)

The report also shows that mobile commerce  (including tablets), constitutes about 2.6% of retail activity which, in my opinion, makes it a footnote. By 2020 it will increase to 4.5%, and still be a footnote.


On The Radio

While in Dublin I did an interview on a popular radio show. You can listen to it here.


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