With a caveat here and a caveat there, another over here for good measure, and one more for the road, we’re on the record: We don’t have to like inbound marketing and marketing-automation tools, but they’re here to stay.

And all that inbound-marketing, marketing-automation technology, of course, is going to make life simpler for all of us, which is why it took McKinsey & Company just 2,913 words to explain how and why in “The dawn of marketing’s new golden age“.

It’s as if marketing is setting itself up as a latter-day Wizard of Oz: It wants to be perceived as blithely working miracles … as long as we pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, the one who’s feverishly working his valves and levers in an ultimately vain attempt to maintain the appearance of making the complex simple.

In fact, according to McKinsey, if we effectively manipulate its five elements for marketing success — science, substance, story, speed, and simplicity (the last included with no sense of irony) …

… the story just seems to get better as creative minds express themselves through digital means, and it then echoes and expands through social media and user-generated content … and even transcend[s] the marketing organization itself.

It doesn’t take a forensic linguist to figure out the most important word in that sentence is seems. If you’re not sure, ask yourself this question: What is a company marketing if it chooses to employ the word, heuristics?

Are we working off yesterday’s facts, assertions, and heuristics?

The answer is self-evident: The company’s marketing the notion that simple marketing is so complex we can’t possibly do it ourselves. (“Oh, my God! I don’t even know what heuristics are, but I’ve been using YESTERDAY’S!”) But if we let an expert handle it, the story just seems to get better as creative minds … well, you know the rest.

The follow-up question is this: Are we buying that notion?

We do marketing — and the businesses marketing should be serving simply, effectively, and trustworthily — no favors by making it appear so complex and mysterious as to border on arcane wizardry. And if we haven’t already gone wrong, we’re certainly on the verge of going wrong when companies — indeed, entire industries — exist to teach us how to serve our tools.

Man has mounted science, and is now run away with. (Henry Brooks Adams, 1838-1918)

Image by Ps1979 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons.