Shelley Lucas, a very astute professional acquaintance, published a sorely needed post the other day: “The Missing Link: What CMOs & CIOs Really Need To Be Doing Together“. As Howard Cosell might have said, it contained a veritable plethora of quotable gems, beginning with this one:

What actually forges the stronger bond between the [CIO and CMO] is the art and science of building relationships with customers.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, we tend to be so enamored of trends, tropes, and pseudo-science that our causa prima — the customer — is lost. Rather, we create and fall in love with surrogates for the customer in the hope that voluminous output (“Marketing automation!”) will result in desirable outcomes (“Data!”).

We end up with more data than we can shake a stick at. Impersonal. Incomplete. Possibly misleading. The bad news is we’re unwittingly engaged in yet another manifestation of the chase for the proverbial wild goose. The good new is the boss is happy. (“Data!”) But as night follows day — and regardless of how happy the boss is — the darkness descends on the reality that, except for that data, we’re not much closer to an actual customer than we were when we started. (“No. I’m telling you, JR. There’s a dude in Sheboygan, about 35, with a wife and 2.3 kids, who’s just DYING for one of these zoogers. There HAS to be!”)

Digital technology and activities may connect us, but we work together as people for people. 

I take comfort in the conviction that everything is cyclical. Our infatuation with technology will lead us to rediscover people. Our infatuation with superficiality will lead us to rediscover meaning. Our infatuation with rap will lead us to rediscover real music. Our infatuation with reality TV will lead us to rediscover reality. Our infatuation with dependence on anything — technology, government, vacuous promises of any sort — will lead us to rediscover self-reliance. And we’ll refuse to settle for shortcuts, even if it means we have to take the long way home.

The moral of the story is this: If you can get numbers to buy your stuff, you’re good. Otherwise, you better find some people.

Image by geralt, courtesy of