To Click Or Not To Click

As a marketer I am delighted that I no longer have to push messages at unwilling recipients but the choices the internet has given us extend well beyond shopping and media. We are responsible for our own moral choices.

The hacking and publishing on the internet of a number of celebrities’ private photos has revealed more than these stars’ naughty bits. The incident has brought into the open the truth about modern

Finger on key
To Click Or Not To Click

morality.

Where once laws, censorship and peer pressure helped us keep our baser impulses in check, these days we’re on our own. Social network managers and even the FBI may try to control our access to these stolen pictures but the fact is, if we want to, we can find them.

In the modern world, we don’t even expect to tell other people what to do. Complaining about strong language or sex or violence in a TV programme seems almost quaint in a time when you can watch what you want when you want- or not.

If You Want It, You Can Have It

Looked at positively, we have become a more tolerant society, letting almost everything pass us by as long it doesn’t interfere with our own life. Looked at negatively, those who remain intolerant of different taste or behaviour can now be express themselves in the most foul way. Previously they held insulting remarks in check because they would have to be expressed face to face or in green ink in a letter that needed posting. Now someone can use a social network to anonymously threaten to rape an MP because she supports having Jane Austen on a banknote.

Just as there are caveman parts of our brain that haven’t caught up with our civilised life, we have 20th century habits that haven’t caught up with the internet age. For the last few generations, we have been a consumer society. We have been taught that if we want something, we can have it. But those things were what manufacturers pushed at us. The internet changed that.

As a marketer I am delighted that I no longer have to push messages at unwilling recipients. I can offer my wares and let people ‘pull’ out what they were interested in. Truly targeted interactive marketing builds up good relationships between consumer and supplier.

Some marketers haven’t learnt yet. I was fascinated to see that the Sky News iPhone app which used to be so popular now has the lowest possible rating because so many users hate the amount of ads it pushes at them. And of course they can choose to delete the app which many are.

It’s Your Moral Choice

The choices the internet has given us extend well beyond shopping and media. You are responsible for your own moral choices.

‘Pulling’ things into our lives that we know are wrong used to be quite difficult, now it can done in secret without moving from our computer. All that stops us now is our own self censorship.

It’s easy to click the button that brings nude celebrity photos to our screen but it’s our choice. There is no person, agency or God stopping us. Just as when we see an empty car with the engine running, we don’t have to drive it away.

You might even kid yourself that they’re celebrities and that these attention hungry women are getting what they deserve. You might say it wasn’t you that hacked the photos. But, if you know it’s wrong, are you any better than the thieves who stole them in the first place?

This blog was written by Paul Lewis, owner of the Winchester based marketing consultancy Seven Experience. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn. A version appeared on the Daily Echo website.

Follow The Crowd

Thousands of entrepreneurs with good ideas are now looking to the great mass of small investors rather than one big venture capitalist to help them launch or expand a product. Many musicians, writers, filmmakers and artists are looking to fans to help them get their work made. For the entrepreneurs and artists, it’s a way to get around an establishment that can be risk averse and limited in vision. For you and me, it can be a fun way to put a small amount of spare cash into supporting something we like.

Photo of Chateau de Peyrepertuse

Last week I found myself in the middle of a huge conspiracy. Visiting the Languedoc part of France, now renamed Cathar Country by clever tourism people, I climbed a hazardous mountain path to the ruined castle of Peyrepertuse and found myself in the setting for Kate Mosse’s bestseller Labyrinth.

I don’t believe in the conspiracy theories about the Holy Grail. I tend to think such a big story wouldn’t really have been kept secret for two thousand years. Even if true, I’m not that interested. Nevertheless Mosse writes a gripping narrative and brings alive a dramatic period in medieval French history.

I first came across Ms Mosse as the writer of the book accompanying the BBC TV documentary series which went behind the scenes at the Royal Opera House. I found that a gripping read too. Where the book generated light, the TV series preferred the heat of conflict and confrontation including a memorable occasion when a frustrated marketing person broke his phone which, as I recall, was not even worthy of a mention in the book.

I actually helped publish Ms Mosse’s most recent non-fiction work- a history of 50 years of Chichester Festival Theatre. The book was crowdfunded by the publisher Unbound and I was one of the crowd. Given it’s probably my favourite producing theatre, I decided to put up £20. There was no risk. The funds were raised so I got a copy of the book with my name in it, but if there hadn’t been enough subscribers, I would have kept my £20.

This is nothing new. I have a set of leather bound works of Shakespeare from the mid nineteenth century which were published by subscription periodically as and when sufficient money was raised. Clearly it wasn’t an entire success as there are no Roman Plays!

This year, for the first time I think, a West End musical was partly crowdfunded. Through the Seedrs website, The Pajama Game, which I saw and loved at Chichester, raised £200,000. Theatre is a risky investment. I once asked a well known and successful West End producer whether I should put money into one his productions. ‘Only if you are prepared to lose it,’ was his candid reply. However, unlike the usual situation where the smallest amount you can put in might be £3000, you could have been an investor in The Pajama Game for as little as £10. A better bet than the Lottery, I suspect, and a lot more exciting.

Thousands of entrepreneurs with good ideas are now looking to the great mass of small investors rather than one big venture capitalist to help them launch or expand a product. Many musicians, writers, filmmakers and artists are looking to fans to help them get their work made. For the entrepreneurs and artists, it’s a way to get around an establishment that can be risk averse and limited in vision. For you and me, it can be a fun way to put a small amount of spare cash into supporting something we like.

We can all be dragons now.

This blog originally appeared on the Daily Echo website. It was written by Paul Lewis, owner of the Winchester based marketing consultancy Seven Experience. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.

How Timeless Fashion Rules Apply To Marketing Too

An article on Timeless Fashion Rules caught my eye. Apart from my constant desire to be a snappy dresser, I was interested in how the same rules could apply to marketing and much else in life.

An article on Timeless Fashion Rules caught my eye. Apart from my constant desire to be a snappy dresser, I was interested in how the same rules could apply to marketing and much else in life.

Keep it simple. Enough said.

Dress for the environment. Marketers should always be aware of the context and speak with the appropriate tone of voice.

Shop at Thrift Stores. We should always look for value for money.

Study History. It’s right to question the status quo but there is often a good reason why things are done the way they are.

Find a Style Mentor. Learn from people more knowledgeable or experienced than yourself.

Buy the Best. Don’t cut corners- pay for good software rather than going for the free option. Use the best designer not the cheapest. The results will be to your credit.

Learn to Sew. Learn the basics of coding, photoshop, adobe etc and you’ll be able to move things on without waiting and paying a specialist to do every small job. (And they won’t be able to blind you with science.)

Teach others. Apart from being a nice thing to do, teaching is a good exercise for making sure you really know something.

 

 

 

What Matisse Didn’t Cut Out

The best work is not the first work, as Henri Matisse’s constant revision of his cut-outs demonstrates

The Snail, a cutout by Matisse
Matisse Cut Outs at The Tate

One of the many fascinating aspects of the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibtion, which is at the Tate Modern until 7 September is the insight into how he worked.

Matisse first used cut out shapes as a way of trying out different compositions until he found the one he would ultimately paint. Eventually they became art in themselves but the technique remained the same. Even when he was old and frail, he would direct his assistants to move and re-pin cut-outs until he was finally happy with the relationship of the shapes and colours.

On one canvas, featuring perhaps a dozen cut-outs, researchers counted over a thousand pin marks. The lesson for all of us is that you can’t expect to get it right the first time. All great authors revise their work. So don’t expect your copy or press release or website design to be right at the first attempt. Go back to it. Try writing it again without reference to the original. Read it out loud. Let someone else read it to you. The best work is not the first work.

The author of this blog is Paul Lewis, owner of the Winchester based marketing consultancy Seven Experience. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.