I have been reading four books that when taken together lay out an interesting case for the future of marketing. The Books:
- Generations- The History of America's Future
- Bowling Alone - The Collapse and Revival of American Community
- Blink- The Power of Thinking without Thinking
- Blog-Understanding the Information Revolution That's Changing Your World
Generations, chronicles every generation of American's from 1584-2069 and is one of the most powerful marketing resources that I have come across. In the book, the authors predict a society that is increasingly concerned with the "disintegrating foundations of their social, outer world.... people came to share a disquieting sense of fragmenting community, of eroding public purpose, of institutions that no longer function, of mounting financial and environmental liabilities that must someday fall due" Amazingly , the book published in 1991, discusses the probable mood of the US should a terrorist unleash a nuclear weapon in New York City in the first decade of the new millennium.
Bowling Alone tracks the changing behavior of Americans and shows how "we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and how social structures-whether they are the PTA, church or political parties have disintegrated.
Blog Chronicles the history of information distribution and the new technology that enables communications to bypass traditional media infrastructure that has become increasingly less credible.
Blink - talks about the power of the human brain to unconsciously filter and absorb information.
So, we live in a world where the average American is exposed to 3,000 ad messages every day. After a decade of ENRON's - corporate scandals, NYSE scandals, investment fund scandals, media scandals, political scandals- Americans don't much trust the institutions that were built in past generations to address the challenges of today's generation.
The fabric of the traditional community has ebbed to a relative low- witness the decline in membership in bowling leagues, ski clubs, social clubs and church participation over the past 40 years.
Generations, Bowling Alone and Blog all seem to indicate that the pendulum is swinging in a new direction and the effects will revolutionize media, politics and government and corporate culture and will revitalize communities, congregations and social networks.
The beginnings of this shift are now becoming apparent.