The self-styled torchbearer of the new world order has said that marketers have failed to understand the modern language of the human species and that as a species we have evolved more in the past 20 years than in the previous 3000.
Entrepreneur, venture capitalist, best-selling author and a two-time Emmy-nominated media visionary Leonard Brody prosecuted his case against marketers at ADMA’s Global Forum in Sydney.
Brody said that if Darwin were here today, he would argue that we have evolved into two people: physical and virtual.
He said that most people spent “two-thirds of their working day in a virtual persona”. He also said that people’s virtual persona was highly contradictory to their physical self. “If you don’t understand the dynamic, it’s like walking into a German restaurant speaking Japanese. You’re speaking the wrong language.”
He then went on to say that “marketing is the worst offender of this. If you look at the CPM rates when I started in this business, the CPM rate for a click-through ad in 1996 was about $28, today you’re lucky if you get .2 of a cent.
“The reason is because we have ignored behaviourally the way people act in their virtual ID versus their physical one . . . Google figured out that when your in your physical self, you’re doing something very different.
“When you’re in your virtual self, most of us have a declared intention. We’re doing something. We’re looking for something. There’s very little meandering in your virtual identity; much less than you would think. It’s much more purposeful,” he said.
“So putting up a banner ad, which is disruptive advertising, which we’re used to in the physical world, but not in our declared intention virtual world resulted in complete and utter ignoring.
“It’s like when you go into a restaurant and there’s that guy walking around with the roses; everybody knows how to zone that dude out. It’s the same issue with the virtual world.”
Brody said that what Google had figured out was that if you’re in the virtual world to do something, then why not put the ads next to the answer for the question that you asked. “Let’s engage behaviourally in what you’re doing.”
Brody describes the place in time humanity finds itself at the moment as the fifth era of humanity.
He said it was distinguishable to our past because for the first time in the history of our species “we own a communications vehicle, with emphasise on the owned part, which is many-to-many, non-broadcast in nature, where millions of people can speak to millions of other people with virtually no additional cost to the their disposable income in any meaningful way.”
He said it was “true pretty much across the globe and it’s becoming truer by the day”.
Importantly, he argued, it was virtually impossible for governments to regulate. To illustrate his point, he pointed to when the Turkish government shut down Twitter in 2014. “During the time that Twitter was said to be shut down, Twitter usage in Turkey went up 188 per cent.”
He said it was the first time in the history of humanity that we have owned our own communication on a global level at mass scale. “That is the reason that the Internet matters. We have not been here before, we have not experienced this kind of connectivity before and we have no idea where this is going to go,” he said.
Brody also pointed to the recently oft-quoted statistics about some of the leading companies in the world to prove how profoundly the world had changed.
“If you don’t believe we live in a rewritten world, then look at these statistics. The largest transportation company in the world doesn’t own a single vehicle [Uber], the largest media company in the world owns no content [Facebook], the largest Telco in the world owns no lines physically [Skype] and the largest hospitality business in the world owns no rooms [Airbnb].”
He also said that the title “largest” for all of these companies, with the exception of Skype, had come about within a decade.
To show how blindsided incumbent companies had been, Brody pointed to the raising of venture capital to fund new economy businesses.
“Some $16 trillion dollars in new market capitalisation on the public markets for new economy companies . . . Not $1 of that was created by an incumbent business. The question is why? Why didn’t Facebook get invented by a media company? Why didn’t Groupon get invented by a directories business? They knew it was happening.”