My question about whether you learned anything at SES or not didn’t get much reaction. I suspect the answers were polarized, with half the people thinking “not really, I go there for other reasons” and the other half thinking “of course I did”.
Answers to that question might have been helpful, but…
What I’m really questioning is this: How do people in the web space learn what they learn? Associated questions are:
1. Has quantity eclipsed quality as a yardstick for the success?
2. Implications for Teachers / Course Developers of the answer to #1
There are also some serious implications for “Web Marketing” adoption (in all forms) by the broader Marketing community buried in the above. To me, this is not unlike the “CRM Problem”, where for years (and still) people confused the Technology solution with the Marketing potential, which set CRM back a decade.
In particular, what interests me the most is what seems like a glacially slow learning curve among practitioners of Online Marketing.
Example: Given all the technology we have, given the immediacy of knowledge distribution and the number of voices, and given the absolute boatload of mistakes and learning that have taken place since the early 90’s, why are we (in the case of SES) still talking about landing pages and title tags like they are some kind of secret sauce?
These two topics have to be the most covered topics on the web, info on them is everywhere. So why would senior people talk about them at the leading conference on Search Marketing? Why wouldn’t these topics be confined to sessions for newbies?
I can only think of two macro reasons:
1. Something must be broken about the Learning approach we’re using. Perhaps involving Trust of the content or Authority of the Teachers, which causes people to simply not embrace the material.
2. Something must be unique about the Learners themselves. Perhaps they don’t accept any Learning as “solidified” or have a constant need for confirmation that what they know is “correct”.
Perhaps the “Wisdom of Crowds” has a natural downside. The Consensus has to constantly be questioned and evaluated, over and over, because the Consensus lacks Trust and Authority.
Or, perhaps the Consensus Crowd can be fickle, and like a school of fish, suddenly turn and veer off in another direction. So there’s a fear of missing these turns, creating a need for constant confirmation.
The above analysis is from an Education perspective, but I’m not sure it addresses Root Cause; these could be the symptoms of a larger problem, which is a confusion of Tactics and Strategy. In other words, the Tactical tail wagging the Strategic dog.
Instead of the other way ’round.
Perhaps slow learning is just a symptom of what is portrayed as (but is not really, from a Marketing perspective) an endless learning curve for various reasons that probably have to do with the technology heritage of the space. In particular, the use of a FUD approach when pushing new technology ideas which is wholly inappropriate when pushing new Marketing ideas.
Technology is Tactical, Marketing is Strategic. You can use FUD to sell new Tactical approaches based on new technology, but when you use FUD to push Strategic ideas like Marketing, what you’re doing is proving your idea is not worth spending any time on.
Example: the concept of “Message Continuity” or “Scent” can be embraced as a core philosopy of Marketing Communications, regardless of how it is expressed – Landing Page, Title Tag, Subject Line, whatever. Just because the technology changes doesn’t mean the core idea of “Scent” changes – unless it is faulty to being with. To say a new techology “changes everything” and requires new Learning only feeds the fire of doubt and provides reasons for “mainstream” Marketing people to doubt an idea is even worth considering.
FUD works against you, not for you, in the the world of Marketing Strategy, which is where the big dollars are locked up.
Am I wrong, am I misdirected, is there something I don’t understand?
Questions like these are very important to get a grip on for those of us in the “Education Space”, so comments are most welcome. And (I think) there are broader implications buried in here for the “speed of adoption” issue many online marketing spaces are facing.
Thoughts on any of the above?