Each month The Drum will publish a chapter from “Paradox: Feeling Machines and the Rise of Post-Modern Marketing. The third chapter, Post-Modern Marketing: Welcome to Wow! explores how the resurgence of emotionally driven creative and intuitive ideas, combined with new content/experience tech, and all riding atop a mastery of modern marketing customer interaction technologies, finally puts ‘wow’ within every marketers’ grasp.
Washington DC science fair students ride a school bus … to Mars.
One defiant girl changes hundreds of corporate board agendas.
Food industry executives experience life as a green bean and a company’s value skyrockets.
Since the earliest days of the advertising and marketing industry, marketers have sought the Holy Grail of “wow”: ideas that inspire, excite and challenge the imagination – and that give customers an irresistible predisposition to favor one brand over another.
But, like the grail, “wow” has proven exceedingly difficult and frustrating to come by.
Today, though, we are at the dawn of the post-modern marketing era. The rising noise through which marketers must cut makes wow more important than ever. And it’s not just that there’s more noise; that noise is far more fragmented among many more channels, with many more new, disruptive brands and business models clamoring for attention. All of which makes rising above really, really, really hard.
Yet at the same time – and at last – the tools that mark the post-modern era now put wow more readily within reach. The fusion of pre-modern’s emotionally rooted and iconic creative approach; modern marketing’s digital, highly measurable interactions; and rapidly emerging technologies like AI, augmented and virtual realities are yielding a long sought-after result: the post-modern marketing promise of a new age of Wow.
Here’s a post-modern wow: B2B marketers are leading the way!
Has the world turned upside down? How can it be that business-to-business marketers are leading the way to wow? After all, achieving a wow in the B2B context may be more critical than in consumer marketing – but it is also more challenging.
That challenge and its reward were evident for the B2B marketers who left their B2C competitors gasping for air at the Cannes Lions Festival the last two years. First, Lockheed Martin’s ‘Field Trip to Mars’ won 19 Lions in 2016, followed by State Street Global Advisors’ 18 Lions for ‘Fearless Girl’ in 2017. It does not get much more B2B than aerospace or global asset management.
Wows fly on wings of modern marketing mastery
Those examples demonstrate how post-modern marketing “wows” rely on powerful creative ideas laden with purpose. But just as importantly, the three examples share a mastery of the digital technologies that define modern marketing, suggesting that marketers won’t achieve post-modern wows without first mastering modern marketing technology.
All three examples deploy digital marketing technology to create (or amplify) new kinds of immersive experiences that hit the right and left brain simultaneously, making a far more powerful impact on people’s thinking and feeling than marketers have been able to achieve before.
Individually and collectively, these post-modern marketing campaigns reach the elusive, vaunted “wow” heights in a way pre-modern and modern marketing did not and could not.
“These examples show how the root-and-branch transformation we call post-modern marketing is more than a mere rebalancing of modern digital marketing with pre-modern creativity,” says Stein IAS chief creative officer, Reuben Webb. “It’s a sea change in business emerging from all the ways technology and society are co-evolving in the post-modern world.”
Marketers will get to “wow” only by taking full advantage of all the immersive digital storytelling, message amplification, optimization and individualization that modern marketing has to offer, but layered together with intuitively powerful, purposeful creative ideas that generate strong gravitational pull.