Uh oh. That crashing sound you hear is the fast-tracked hysteria of digital marketing hitting the wall.

At least one digital agency wants you to think it’s had an epiphany, that it’s recognized the corner into which it’s painted itself and found a way out: “Digital Marketing is Dead. The Rise of Empathetic Marketing“.

Well … it gets this part right:

Digital Transformation … came at us from all corners, in all shapes and sizes, and in all forms. The Chief Digital Officer is currently the hottest job (after the Chief Dev-Ops Officer) and the role is a mix of data scientist, marketing expert, and customer experience designer … Most firms think of content around sales, campaigns, and demand generation–all tailored around their short term goals.

Digital marketing was entirely about short-term goals — create the personae; develop the content; launch the outbound communication; track and score the opens, click-throughs, and unsubscribes; and automate your success all the way to the bank in no time. No one examined the validity of the goals or their premises. Fueled by Big Data and the Internet of Things, digital marketing became The Next Big Thing. Then it flamed out.

So, what to do? For the folks whose livelihoods depended on selling digital marketing, it was time to change the terminological game. Just as the folks who hawked global warming adopted climate change to cover all of the phenomena for which their modeling didn’t account, the folks who hawked digital marketing contrived empathetic marketing to fill in the cratering of their fad du jour. And how, precisely, will empathetic marketing achieve such a thing? Why, with contexts, of course.

It will realize that customers’ contexts change continually, and help build a marketing program that is always aligned to the current contexts … If we understand the contexts in which our customers operate in, it should give us a lot of food for thought.

Now that’s a confidence-builder if I ever read one. Loosely translated, it means that if we actually pay attention to our customers — you know, talk to ’em and stuff — we should (might?) understand them or their needs a little better … unless we don’t. If we don’t, presumably, we can just go back to digital marketing.

The only thought for which this blather is food is that digital marketing has reached the end of the line.

Image by geralt, courtesy of pixabay.com.