The First Rule of Mass Communications

Seth Godin recently posted the following article on his blog:

Organizations will work tirelessly to de-personalize every communication medium they encounter.

  • Radio ads used to be live, personal and spoken by an individual.
  • TV ads used to feature actual people, demonstrating something, usually live.
  • Phone calls involved a live speaker, talking, with permission, to another person.
  • Email used to be honest interactions between consenting adults.
  • Facebook pages (and Wikipedia, too) were built by people, not staffs.
  • Twits came from real people, and so did instant messages.

One by one, the mass marketers have insisted on robocalling, spamming, jingling and lying their way into our lives. The pronoun morphs from “you” to “me” to “us” to “the corporation” …The public works tirelessly to flee to actual interactions between real people, and our organizations work even more diligently (and with more leverage) to corporatize and anonymize the interactions. The irony, of course, is that an organization with guts can go in the opposite direction and win.
My name is Seth Godin and I approved this message.”

I agree with Seth that large corporations like to make their communications as mass as possible. The reason for this is pretty obvious – the more people you appeal to (in theory), the greater the chance you have to resonate with the few you want. It’s pretty scary for a marketer to only focus on the niche few they are targeting – especially if the creative and communications don’t break through.

That being said, the more mass you go, the more people block your message.

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