Saying "Stuff Is Dead" Is Dead

If you’re a fan of reading blogs or articles–-and you’re reading this one, so odds are good that you are-–you’ve likely read that the end is near for whatever it is you do, in whatever industry you do it.

Traditional advertising is dead. Digital advertising is dead. Marketing is dead. Retail is dead. Big data is dead. Social Media is dead. Web banners are dead. Blogging is dead. Smartphones are dead. The music industry is dead. Finance is dead. Management is dead.

Google ‘em. Every one of those are real articles.

Since none of those things are actually dead, it’s easy to dismiss all this as so much grasping-for-attention. But that would be dangerous, because there is truth buried under the hyperbole.

The truth is that all these things are constantly changing. And they’re far more likely to keep changing than ever again settle into something predictable. Figuring out what to pay attention to can be headache-inducing. Figuring out what actually works, even more so.



Last year, I was chatting with the CEO of an ad agency. Let’s call her “Angela” for the sake of graceful anonymity. Her agency was doing pretty good at this “digital” thing, actually, and they’d won some nice awards to prove it. Even so, she wasn’t feeling optimistic. The great work was being done by a handful of people who “got it.” Angela needed everyone to “get it.” But they were busy enough just getting projects out the door and keeping clients happy. It was easy enough to see the need for change. Doing something about it was another story.

But keeping up with change doesn’t have to be hard. As I’ve spent the last few years working with brands and agencies around this very topic, I’ve seen folks transform at all levels (from excited young newbies all the way up to CMOs, CEOs, CCOs and other intimidating titles).

The people, brands and agencies out there doing digital right aren’t really good at digital. They’re really good at learning, exploring, collaborating, experimenting and generally being curious.

People often think they need someone to teach them information. But in today’s world, information will be outdated in a matter of weeks. They don’t need a list of Facebook best practices and handful of HTML tags. They need to unlock their curiosity. They need to shift their thinking. They need to learn from others, outside of their own company. They need to explore new models of collaboration and strategy, and discover what works best for themselves and their teams.

It’s time to seek out  learning experiences that are designed to create these conditions. But even if you can’t make it to a program like this just yet, developing a healthy curiosity will go a long way.


1 comment about "Saying "Stuff Is Dead" Is Dead".
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  1. Stewart Wills from, October 17, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.

    And let's not forget the granddaddy of them all . . . "The Web is dead" (Wired Magazine, 17 April 2010).

    Great post. Spot on.

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