Modern marketing

I’m having a problem with my blogsite platform at the moment. Run by WordPress it’s hardly ever given me any issues since I started writing Pasta Paulie in 2007. Now, and over 1000 posts later, it’s suddenly started playing up and it’s driving me mad.

When you write a posting it’s produced on an editor facility which allows you to compose, amend, add attachments and imagery etc. Finally once you’re happy with your post, you press a button to publish, and it becomes public.  Even I can work with that. Now for more than 10 years the editor function remained unchanged until Worpress introduced a new block editor which I just didn’t like and can’t get my head around. Fortunately WordPress continued to offer a choice of the old facility under the title Classic Editor. Ha! V American. Until a few days ago when it suddenly disappeared from my platform alongside all the little headings I’d been using to locate the old editor. No notice nor explanation. I sent a message into WP requesting some help and have so far just received an acknowledgement with a promise to get back to me with a solution from one of their ‘Happiness Engineers’ (another annoying Amercanism). Anyway I found some old short cuts buried in a WP Help section and managed to get the Classic Ed re-instated. Hurrah.

I was pleased because I’ve got several decent postings planned in my mind and I like to get them written and produced before I lose the moment with them. I know I can get into a non-writing fug if I let too many ideas go stale. So I started composing my first piece about some lovely walks we’ve found in and around Stratford. All was going well until I tried to upload the first of many images I’d ear-marked to complement the posting. However the editor function wouldn’t let me upload these new images from my mobile – the error message said I needed to try reducing the size of the imagery. So it was a capacity issue. So I reduced the imagery size and it still don’t work. I then scaled back the number of images in the editor’s in-built library and tried again. Still the same error message. Grrr. I then took several images from the library which I’ve already used on the blogsite without any problem and these wouldn’t upload either. I had now reached the end of my thinking ability to solve the problem. This bloody platform’s so fucking trimly I thought. So I sent off another help-me-please message to the Happiness Engineers at WP, got my acknowledgement that they’re right on the case and will reach out to me v soon with a wonderful solution. Days later I’ve heard nothing.  Is it just me or can modern life be very very frustrating at times?

Sigh. So dear readers I cannot do one of my planned postings until I get this image upload problem resolved, so this one is going to have to be copy only. And we’re already 500 bloody words in so I’d better get on with it. As you can see from the title it’s about marketing. Now I spent 20 years doing it, never stopped learning and by the time I’d finished and went off to pick olives in Italy, I think I was pretty damn good at large elements of it. Excuse my immodesty. Before I left the marketing scene the big new area of activity was social media. It was pretty much Facebook and LinkedIn that dominated in those days and of course they were largely platforms for personal interaction.  It would be a few years before corporates tapped into the opportunity and when they did the pioneering individuals took off to new SM platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, Messenger and Pinterest. The corporates jumped on again once these had become mega popular so the kids migrated to Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, What’s App  and Tik Tok. And I’m sure that there are dozens more out there being used/developed as I write – and I’ve not even touched on all the dating sites and gaming platforms etc. It makes you wonder how old media survives.

I’ve managed to keep abreast of some of it to enable me to do some engaging social media marketing for some of my business clients but from a personal viewpoint I don’t do much of it at all these days – a bit of Fb and that’s about it (and watching my grandson’s images from his US footie matches on Instagram). The point is I happily confess I am nowhere near being an expert at this form of marketing. It leaves me a bit cold to be honest because there is huge scope for people to get scammed, vilified, trolled or worse on social media. And I also think it takes huge skill and application for a business/corporate to do some clever,  engaging things things and to look cool on SM and not look like they are doing the equivalent of dad dancing.

But the thing that has most surprised me has been the massive influx of ‘influencers’. I’m amazed at the sheer number of kids doing their own thing from their bedrooms and turning themselves into money machines like mini versions of the Kardashians. I’m partly in awe and mostly dumbstruck that a 13 year old girl can give cheesy make-up advice and monetise it so successfully. It makes you wonder about the ‘screening’ ability of young people who are queuing up to ‘like’ and subscribe to their advice. With that thought in mind I do question the celebrity form of influencer marketing which looks totally cynical to me. I’ll be honest and admit we used celebrity endorsement to promote telecoms services in the old days but it was watchable in front of the whole family. Now just about every reality tv show Z lister is undertaking some kind of product endorsement aimed at possibly uncynical and susceptible kids directly onto their personal devices into their bedrooms with no parental nor other safeguarding filters. As a father/grandfather I worry about this sort of stuff.

In fact once these celebs have established some profile it’s almost too easy to make money it seems. I was reading this week about Georgia Toffolo formerly of Made in Chelsea and winner of IACGMOOH. Now she seems an intelligent and likeable enough young woman, often referred to as ‘Boris in a bikini’ because of her Tory-leaning viewpoints. No problem with that of course. But this week she secured a half page of coverage in my paper by giving an interview with the headline that her friend and the PM’s partner Carrie Symonds is a victim of media sexism. It’s a cute sound bite which allows her to talk about her bestie friend in No 10, under attack from the misogynistic press, poor darling. At the same time it allows her to promote her new novel; a second work of romantic fiction entitled Meet Me In Hawaii, under a publishing deal with Mills & Boon. Quickly ditching all the political chat she announces that she is challenging all the misconceptions about Mills & Boon by writing about foxy women just like herself. Ahh.

Oh and before she goes she lets it be known that as an influencer with 1.8m followers (and frighteningly that’s about 95% of the female population aged 15-19 who I’m guessing are her target audience), her fan base ought to check out her latest postings for some exciting clothing items. Just to reassure the public, she says she only works with brands that she believes in. Of course. And presumably those are the ones that meet her charge of £5,200 for an endorsed post. To finish off she lets us know that she sees her role as ‘monetising social media. I think it’s a virtual shop window. It’s very transactional, of course.’ By which I think probably means she also gets paid a percentage for every sale.

So not bad eh. She’ll get a fee for the interview, get free publicity for her new novel and her instagram-sponsored clothing range. It really is a different marketing world to the one I worked in. Indeed I think I should become a vlogger and talk to camera about the hair conditioning products I love to use.

Hopefully some image-led posts coming up next if I haven’t switched to video marketing.



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