I read an outstanding, but frightening post entitle The Future Of Marketing Is Extreme! Eric Wittlake outlines: “We are inundated by marketing today. In a bid to stand out in the sea of marketing competing for our attention, marketing continues to move to the extremes.” He then goes on to outline several areas of Extreme Impact:

  • Extreme Interruption
  • Extreme Technology
  • Extreme Shock
  • Extreme Blend (I originally read this as Extreme Bland—I actually think I’m right)
  • Extreme Value (I initially thought this was good, but it really means free)

It’s not just marketing that is going to extremes, this seems pervasive in our business and society. I’ll limit myself to business, but the implications of this are tragic. The volume of meaningless noise and crap that intrudes on us continues to escalate. People find more “creative” ways to force themselves on us, to try to be heard. Shock–read obnoxiousness, lack of caring, lack of concern, absence of civility–is becoming a common tactic.

One supposes that it is limited only to the manipulators, charlatans, and hucksters. Unfortunately, since we all “share the same space,” to stand out, we see well intended, reputable people and organizations doing the same. To be heard, to stand out they go to extremes.

We are inundated literally thousands of times a day with “messages.” Our senses become dulled–just a survival mechanism to survive the extremes. So to combat that, guess what–we push the envelope more, we go to more extreme.

It’s gratifying to know that Newton’s Laws apply–For every action, there is an equal an opposite reaction. People will shut down, there will be vicious backlashes to those who are the most extreme. Governments will step in–regulating things. In some countries, what, who, and how emails are sent is heavily regulated. In the US, the backlash created Do Not Call Registries, CAN SPAM. While some would say they have failed–in reality, it’s probably people going to a new extreme to get around them.

Regulation and laws aren’t the solution.

Perhaps the solution is to go to Extremes–but another extreme. Perhaps we should be looking to do something else:

  • Extreme Meaning And Relevance. To do this, we really have to understand our customers.
  • Extreme Value Creation (moving to co-creation.) We have to know what they value and be able to create and deliver it.
  • Extreme Respect for the people we are trying to reach. After all, don’t they deserve this?
  • Extreme Engagement. Think of how things will change!
  • Extreme Simplicity, our customers and colleagues are drowning in complexity.
  • Extreme Caring, after all, we are all human beings.

Just a thought.