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The End of Traditional Marketing and the Beginning of What’s Next

Congratulations to Carlos Gil on the release of his new book, “The End of Marketing: Humanizing your brand in the age of social media.” Carlos is a long-time friend and I was genuinely appreciative when he asked me to write the foreword for his first book. All I asked was that I could share the foreword with you upon the book’s release.

I hope it helps you!

This is the end of what was and the beginning of what’s next

I’ve known Carlos for several years now. After years of building an online friendship, we finally met in person, ironically, during a dig­ital event on the first floor of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco. We immediately struck up a real-world friendship, one I enjoy to this day. I’d always respected Carlos’s drive and ‘real talk’ approach to digital engagement. But more so, I grew to admire who he is as a person. The Carlos that I got to know over the years is genuine, thoughtful and caring – the kinds of qualities you want to see in everyone, everywhere, but are often rare. This is why we cherish these special qualities when we actually see them in others.

I guess that’s what this is all about.

No matter what we do in life, whether personally or profession­ally, humanity counts for everything.

It’s that authentic sincerity and consideration that forms the foundation for the most meaningful and mutually beneficial rela­tionships. You know it when you feel it. Whether it’s online or in the real world, this foundation defines the nature of our engage­ment and connection. But with digital comes an opportunity to strengthen these foundations to scale exponentially.

We’re incredibly fortunate to live in a time when we have access to new genres of relationships and connections. When you think about it, we were given gifts to connect with people we wouldn’t normally have seen or heard from otherwise. You too, were be­stowed with gifts to reach others who would most likely never know your name or what it is that makes you… uniquely you. But more so, we were presented with incredible, rich new sources for fresh perspectives and ideas and unconventional ways of commu­nicating, thinking and learning.

These gifts changed everything.

Media was socialized. Information, relationships and influence were broadly democratized. The world became much smaller and more accessible. Suddenly, everyone was given a voice, unforeseen promise and empowerment, and a chance to change the future. It’s now possible for everyone to broadcast and consume media and interact with one another on demand… all day… all night… every day. And, we do. Maybe, too much.

Not everyone realizes the value of these gifts however.

For some, these precious gifts introduced dynamic means and capabilities to do the same old things as before, but in new places. They broadcast messages, talk rather than listen, promote instead of learn, and build audiences over communities.

The promise of these gifts is still largely untapped. The opportu­nity is there however, for anyone who can see possibilities in a new light, without the shackles of legacy perspectives or biases of past measures of success.

We now live in a time where people are becoming brands and brands are trying to become people. Yet somewhere along the way, we have all been guilty of exaggerating the ‘me’ in social media rather than perpetuate the humanity of what it means to truly be social.

As social and all forms of media become increasingly intelligent, the time is now to break free from mass conventions and our over-emphasis on shiny objects and finite trends. The gifts are still abun­dant to do so.

With the right perspective and intent, and with a little empathy added for good measure, emerging intelligent platforms can shine the spotlight on the people and the insights that matter most to us. With artificial intelligence (AI) though, ironically, we’re offered a chance to become more human. But AI also carries with it the dan­gers of reinforcing dated biases to only make media ever more anti-social.

Everything changes with you.

That’s the power you have and the potential you already possess.

The gifts before you and those on the horizon are not bound to any previous outlooks, practices or protocols. They’re only limited by imagination, purpose and conviction.

You have a choice in what you do differently.

If there’s any assurance I can offer, it’s that most people will choose to follow what they already know. In doing so, they won’t truly break new ground. They won’t truly create new value. They won’t sow more meaningful relationships.

Yet here you are faced with a future that is largely unwritten. What you do from this moment on will set you apart from the ordinary. Your path will offer new hope and lead to surprising and rewarding experiences. Your path will blaze a trail for others to follow.

Up to this point, I’ve made no mention of the word marketing. Herein lies the magic of the journey on which you’re about to embark.

Historically, marketing hasn’t been synonymous with relation­ships. This is after all about people, not just technology. Yes, it should have always been that way. So, it’s up to you to change course. It’s up to you to bring to life a bright and promising human-centered future.

Because of your vision and your work, we can put the social back in social media. As a result, people and relationships will ben­efit from the artful and personal coalescence between innovative technologies, empathy and mutual value.

That’s the thing about endings… they always make way for new beginnings. And, this is yours. You are needed more than you may realize.

Let’s go…

Brian Solis

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