Marketing Is For Misfits, Rebels, And Outliers

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In The Death of the Amateur Mathematician, David Wees points out the following:

‘’Knowledge has always been advanced in human culture based on the ideas of others. Our entire knowledge structure today is based on what we, as a species, learned in the past. Each generation learns what the previous generation already knew, and then expands upon this base of knowledge for the next generation.

A problem with this system is that the amount of knowledge one must know before one can make an original contribution to the existing knowledge base increases with each generation. In other words, each generation spends more time than the previous generation learning about existing knowledge before adding their knowledge to the pool.

One way we have already begun to combat this problem is with increasing specialization. Instead of trying to learn everything from the previous generation, each individual learns only what is necessary in order to be able to advance the knowledge base…’’

One of the reasons I enjoy working on mathematics is because you start from axioms (things you can’t prove but assume) and then continue reasoning. 

Every next step is like a link in your logical chain.

You build on things that are true (define true as logically consistent).

The steps in the argument that pi is an irrational number (not expressable as a fraction like p/q where p is an element of the integers and q of the natural numbers) will be no less true 2000 years from now than they are today.

The ability to build a foundation and keep building on that is something that gives me satisfaction. It feels like you’re actually making progress day by day.

What I want to emphasize today is that this is in stark contrast to marketing, or pragmatic, behavioral psychology as we Younglings call it.

You can read Advertisers Are Clueless About Advertising… for more on this.

Why are there no books being published on Newtonian physics? It’s because it’s done. 

Our frameworks to describe things like two-dimensional motion, angular momentum, and work are well defined and well understood.

And yet, we’re still discussing the absolute fundamentals of marketing. You can easily find two experts who’ll disagree on the core foundation.

The fact that we have these discussions is a sign that in some sense we have no idea what we’re talking about.

This is part of the reason why Youngling & Feynman created the idea of pragmatic, behavioral psychology. It allows us to (like mathematics) have an indisputable foundation that we can reason off of. 

The other part is that marketing has gotten such a negative connotation with things like SEO, Email Marketing, Growth Hacking and just generally a spamming mindset that it’s become unproductive to try and rebrand it. 

The reason for the inability for a formula to exist is examined in Network Effects, Neutral Network Effects, and Anti-Network Effects.

This isn’t a knock on marketing. In The Art Of Business, Where Science And Business Depart., we discuss the dynamic nature of marketing.

It’s almost like playing chess where, after every move, the entire chessboard and the pieces get rearranged. Moreover, the effectiveness of a certain move declines as the adoption increases.

The things that stay the same are the things that can be explained by evolutionary psychology, behavioral psychology and behavioral economics.

Those need to form the guiding principles we can base our reasoning off of.

Those principles are simply tools we should use to develop testable hypotheses. We should not become dogmatic about them.

Even for concepts preached by every marketer like: Scarcity, Reciprocity, and Social Proof, we can find exceptions. 

Bookings.com is an example where they use scarcity to such a degree that it actually turns people off and they become skeptical and some people like myself don’t use the site at all because it feels so scammy and insincere.

In How Booking.com manipulates you, Roman Cheplyaka examines the dark patterns ( manipulative interfaces designed to trick the user into taking actions that they might not have done freely) of booking.com

The point of today’s essay is that marketing doesn’t function like mathematics does.

We examine the disconnect between effectiveness and efficiency in Marketing Is Sex, Not Manufacturing.

Part of it is science. There are things that will pretty much always work. But a lot of it is art.

So don’t treat it like mathematics. Being stupid is an advantage because you’ll examine things and try things you’re not supposed to simply out of ignorance.

Read the ‘’But Where Is The Value?’’ series for more on this.

Today’s TLDR expressed in a single sentence is: ‘’Try seemingly stupid things as long as the business risk is non-lethal.’’

References

Wees, D. (2019). The Death of the Amateur Mathematician — The Reflective Educator. Retrieved 2 September 2019, from https://davidwees.com/content/death-amateur-mathematician/

Cheplyaka, R. (2019). How Booking.com manipulates you. Retrieved 2 September 2019, from https://ro-che.info/articles/2017-09-17-booking-com-manipulation

RJ Youngling