Death and Social Media

This is a morbid way to discuss an idea, but let’s talk about death.  And while we’re at it, let’s talk about social media. I was (briefly, fleetingly) thinking about what would happen after I die, and the kinds of things people would remember about me.  (And more exactly, the kinds of things I hope people will remember about me.)

In my life, (and I’m not quite done yet,) I have created volumes of content in the social media world:  blog posts, and blog comments, Facebook statuses and comments and likes and picture uploads and all those Tweets, reTweets and direct messages on Twitter!  I’ve yelled about firing the head coach of my beloved Buffalo Bills on the fan forums on, and helped people solve technical problems on support forums for Apple computers and some software platforms.  I’ve written record and book reviews on iTunes and Amazon.  I’ve even commented on videos posted on YouTube!  (Eeek.  What a geek.)

So I wondered, will this become part of what people remember about me?  Will there be people at my funeral saying, “yeah, nice guy…oh! And did you see his Tweets from the IAB mobile conference back in 2010?  So insightful.” Instead of a collage of photos, will there be a screen somewhere with a streaming feed of my life’s digital output?

On one had, I seriously doubt that these bits and bytes of my recommendations, forwards, hashtag snips and extemporanea will have any bearing on what people think about me. But on the other, there’s no getting around the fact that social media content is now a contributing editor to my legacy.  I also submit that I think it would be an interesting, revealing and even fairly intimate way to chronologically peek into the ebbs and flows of my (mostly) professional life.  Which makes me think:  are we (am I?) Tweeting accordingly?  Is the overall tone of my social commentary admirable/useful/honorable?  Will my children be proud of what they read?  Does it really matter how many check-ins I have, or if I’m the bloody mayor of some local bar?  Jeez…maybe we better start looking at all of this in context.

In older days, we might have discovered a diary under a bed, or a journal tucked away in a closet somewhere, long after the departure of a loved one.  But now, we have a digitized database of someone’s every thought and comment for years and years.  And since most people in the world will never author a book, or write a professional article in a real journal, or be interviewed for television or radio, is the chronicling of social media verbiage a new means to endure? [Uh oh, I think I smell a new business model being hatched.]

Relax. With marketing, price is NOT the issue.

If you’re looking for an advertising agency or a marketing communications firm or a web developer or a direct marketing partner, there’s good news.  You won’t be shopping on price.

This is kind of weird for most market consumers – virtually everything we buy has a price attached to it, and generally, the choice we make on any given purchase tends to include price as a determining factor.

But with marketing, it’s different.  With marketing services, YOU set the price.  You say “I want this and this and that and that, and I’m willing to spend $X.”  Pretty cool position to be in, eh?  Imagine if you could walk into your favorite restaurant, and say “I want the Sea Scallops appetizer and the John Dory Entrée and I think I’ll have the Green Tea Ice Cream dessert… and I want to only pay $42 for everything.  Oh, and throw in a glass of Riesling with the entrée!”

That’s pretty much how it goes with marketing.  Let’s say you’re about to embark on an advertising campaign.  You would never solicit five proposals and then select the most inexpensive agency.  [For one thing, you couldn’t really solicit a proposal without stipulating a budget.]  And secondly, these kinds of services aren’t shopped on price.  You’re searching for ingenuity.  Or practicality.  Or intense creativity.  Or humor.  Or whatever you think might move the needle.

Buying marketing services is NOT like buying tires, where you go from shop to shop, looking for the best deal.

Unfortunately, many would-be marketers like to play the “I’m not telling you my budget” game.  They think that by withholding that parameter, they’ll get more affordable services.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  Every ad agency, every web development company, every marketing consultant thinks they have a feasible answer to your quandary.  But we all think you should be spending a minimum of $10 million.

Here’s another rub.  The supplier (agency, developer, or restaurant owner) can simply say “no.”  [Sadly, not many of them do.  But it’s really necessary sometimes.]  Some suppliers can’t do what you’re asking for $42.  Or WON’T do what you’re asking for $42.  And those answers will help you make important decisions later on.

So, next time you’re shopping for marketing/advertising/web services, do yourself and the professional on the other side of the table a favor:  set a budget.  It’s the best way to get a straight answer, the only way to compare apples to apples when you’re reviewing your proposals, and probably one of the very few times in your professional life when YOU get to determine what something will cost.