Some inconvenient truths about the networked world that could save your asses

It’s nothing new to suggest that the Network disrupts all it touches. Working as a specialist in the networked space over the last year it shouldn’t have come as a surprise all the things I had previously believed as a marketer, professional, businessman and more should also be disrupted. By focusing purely on working with brands in this space I am beginning to have to face some realisations that force me to be more puritanical in my dealings with clients. This means saying some unpopular things to people in crowded rooms but I assure you do it you will feel a lot better!

Inconvenient Truths

Inconvenient Truths

– Branding exercises, no matter how much money you throw at them can’t hide that what you say you believe in and what you do don’t marry.  

– The only awards worth winning are sales. Clever creative advertising just makes people talk about how clever the ad was and how great your ad agency is and not your product. Just because it’s a clever ‘viral’ ad where people were the channel you broadcast through doesn’t mean the same does not apply.

– Agencies that fail to enforce the required changes on their clients thinking just to protect old margins or be safe in meeting old KPI’s should also be held to account. As a purest it is my duty to show up these failings. If you are wasting 99.96% of your client’s budget you should not have a job. A conversion rate of 0.04% is literally just that. If you need you client to spend millions on getting people to engage with your mechanic they are paying for your incompetencies.

– Client: If your agency isn’t challenging you on a daily basis with these different rules you need to find a new one. The world is changing dramatically why aren’t your KPIs.

– If advertising bridges the gap between supply and demand. What happens when there is no gap?

– When you are left only with your naked product. What happens if it’s not the best one?

– Why isn’t it the best one when social media offers the market research nirvana of non-interruptive voyeurism? Listen.

– If you have to spend millions on trying to convince the consumer its what they need it obviously isn’t.


– Don’t be so afraid of being seen to be real people? I can trust a fallible person far more than an apparently infallible one. Even if they were infallible how could I, a fallible one, ever connect with them? People buy people.

– Closed models of any sort won’t save you. The only restrictions and limitations you are imposing are on your own business.


-The only way most shareholders will realise this is when all that they possess has been stripped of any or all value.

– Marketing in social media is only just a bit better than marketing any where else because marketing treats things as ‘channels’.

– Business leaders that neglect the opportunities that the network presents to their company should be held responsible for gross misconduct. Even if their limited view of it is as a market condition they still failed to account for it.

If more than 10% of the energy around your brand is driven by you there is something wrong. This means that if less than 90% of the energy around your brand is not from the consumer there is something wrong. The 90:10 rule means your consumer is engaged, they like your product, they are improving it with you, they are marketing it for you, directly selling it for you, and they are your brand. This is where you need to be. If you aren’t you are not future proof and the future happens quickly nowadays.


Add a Comment

  • Hear hear! The only thing I’d add to your list is Generosity: Before people can take from the network they have to give to it.

  • The only thing to add is that the number one moan that clients have is
    “Agencies don’t tell us about cool new stuff”
    and the agency reply is
    “When we do tell you about cool new stuff you won’t run with the campaign and fall back on safe old tools”.

    Impasse or Opportunity?

  • Right Right Right.

    Its a case of playing violins on the deck of the titanic whilst its sinking.

  • Interesting concepts and quotes. I agree with most things here. I have worked closely with brands and social networks and its amazing how their mentality is completely different from reality.

    Good post Jamie

    • socialglue

      Hey Andrew. Its amazing how many people inside companies & agencies I meet who are collectively crying out to help make the business better but hit a wall. I believe the answer is the network.

  • I believe the answer is to go below the radar and become the “subversive” element. Prove your case quietly / behind the firewall.

    • socialglue

      I would have agreed only 6 mths ago but increasingly I have found it needs to come from the top and from client side. Until the way the success of a department /division is judged shifts, and in turn the agencies that service those departments, people can’t seriously bring about change through fear of not meeting the old KPI’s or having to produce comparative ones this is only heightened in these economic times. Ironically the true measure of success by connecting to the network for business is cost saving as well covered here by Luke.

      I have spent a great deal of time chipping away from the bottom supporting those who do ‘get it’ and, if I am totally honest, brought about little real successes for any of the parties involved. The client is happy because they can say they have done something in social media, I could pat myself on the back because others interpret it as a success but I know its scratched the surface because it hasn’t changed their business.

      On the other hand I have and am working directly with board level clients in a partnership type capacity, they with the knowledge of the biz / sector and us the knowledge of the network. The conversation very quickly becomes how can we do things better. This then moves to the empowerment of one area of the business, and the employees within it, in the first instance to do something differently. The next step should hopefully be a gradual roll-out.