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  • Helen Lawler

Of Ethics and Egos

As we navigate the digital disruption that captures our attention, we often neglect to ask deeper questions about how today's decisions will change the future. Perhaps it is pressure to compete in a nano second or respond to industry mania. We have to contemplate so much in a given day that worrying about the future state of marketing is the last of our concerns. But we need to make it our concern. Here are four reasons why.


1.) Social media. We all started off using social media to reunite with old friends and share pictures of pets. In today's reality we are combating fake news and political polarization among other things. This great experiment of the past decade has taught us a few lessons in humanity--some good and some not so good. Social media commercialization and influence now change how fast we disseminate information and the extent with which we modify behavior. As professionals, we need to think about our tactics in the next viral campaign or the underlying implication of the aggregate messages we are sending. I don't mean from a branding perspective. Rather the consciousness of our markets, the maturing of today's media platforms and potential backlash from the public within the next 10 years.


2.) Big data. There are the standard concerns average businesses have such as data integrity, utilization and security. However, as big tech continues to collect vast amounts of data, the public is becoming increasingly sensitive to breeches and lack of control over their information. As marketers we love data. However, we need to be aware of the sensitivity of our market while enhancing experiences through leveraged information.


3.) Measurement integrity. Whether we are talking about vanity metrics or other engagement, we need to continually improve our methodologies. While some metrics give us a head start, they often don't tell the whole story or make a difference in the bottom line. Without such validation we simply breed mistrust and water down our value to the business.


4.) Tactical silos. Over 20 years ago, we were excited to integrate marketing disciplines to maximize effectiveness and create continuity. These tactical areas such as: communication, advertising, public relations, direct response, and digital are now seen as part of the marketing umbrella. However, we are seeing strategy coordination often taking a backseat to these silos. The result is reduced efficiency and effectiveness toward meeting business goals. It not only is a disservice to the business, but to the customer experience and even practice-at-large.


These issues keep bubbling under the surface. We need to start paying attention to before they impact our professional mission and that of the greater good.


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