It’s time to step up, stand up, speak up and call out reality.

Put simply, the pursuit of, and responses to disruption, change, digital and social media are, in most instances, deficient, inconsistent, under-resourced and not transparent.

Let’s call a spade a spade…  

                        The Emperor’s got no clothes.  

Immense amounts of money, time, skills and resources are being invested with little-or no quantifiable and verifiable returns. Responses are typically mute. No one wants to admit to poor decisions or sub-optimal performances.

Everyone is doing it. Going with the flow has a touch of Group Think about it. Performances, good and bad, tend not to be standouts. Disturbingly, some things in commerce are simply not spoken about. The facilitators, designers and consultants are not being brought to account. Measurement seems to be difficult, if not impossible.


The early signs of fracturing of newly conceived, designed and implemented business models are appearing.

Structures, numbers and budgets are being refined and refocused. The rapid migration to all things digital and on-line is experiencing a wash-back.

Value ratings of the mass-media – print, television, radio and outdoor – are being reassessed. As a result, better balances are being achieved.

Omnichannel and multi-channels are being subjected to makeovers in which integration between the parts is being prioritised as a primary goal.

Noticeably widespread, there is a lack of urgency. A lack of consensus in boardrooms and management suites exists. The score and scale of under-performance are not being quantified, monitored or discussed in open forums.

Based on readily available anecdotal evidence, it is reasonable to contend that over 80%, and possibly up to and including 90% of digital, social, on-line and disruptive strategies are not achieving significant and sustainable increments in demand, sales, revenues profits and customer satisfaction.

In many instances, difficulties are encountered in measuring outcomes and establishing cause-/effect relationships.

Many conclusions and decisions are being based on intuition – “feelings”. Questions abound. Answers are rare, and wanting.

The lack of definitive, concrete evidence obscures recognition of the need for immediate affirmative actions, with appropriate follow-up and follow-through.

Few, if any, entities, brands, products, services, apps, sectors and regions seem to be immune.


The “green-shoots” of revision-and review are becoming more conspicuous.

Major, mass-volume project home builders are now distributing letterbox drops. Imagine return to junk mail in the modern digital era.

The same entities were, and remain, at the forefront of the transition to social media marketing campaigns.

A general economy downturn, tightening of bank lending policies and competitive head-winds do not explain in full declines of 10, 20 and 25% in sales.

Creative licence is being applied to offers on renovations, property sub-divisions and joint-venture initiatives.

Interestingly, these do not appear to address consumer demands, but rather, seek to stimulate interest and intent through the supply of alternative thoughts. It’s back to the future, with greater use of traditional established mass-media.

Issues of risk, security, stability, fear and income-flows are not readily addressed or highlighted: Those alone temper positive responses.


The marketing of consumer household products is being subjected to the same rigorous review.

 There is a widening, pronounced emphasis on point-of-purchasing, promotional and merchandising endeavours. Old established and proven practices are new… again.

Sadly, price-discounting is common, suppressing the resultant benefits of increased volumes, with squeezed margins and thus, profits.

The importance and potential power of brand is being recognised. It is one attribute that has been compromised with a reliance on, and preference of on-line marketing and supply. In such circumstances, recognition and recurring transactions have tended to be assigned to, and enjoyed by the platforms.

“I buy on Amazon”, “we visit eBay” and “my preference is Gumtree” are typical refrains.


In an over-communicated world and marketplace, information-overload prevails. Target audience segments turn-off. Selective perception filters and blocks the transmission of what may be considered compelling, attractive and relevant offers by the transmitters (manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers).

Impressive access to huge mass audiences count for little, when recipients are not positively receptive.

Impressive statistics on “hits” can be meaningless, particularly when recipients delete the missives. A better, more meaningful classification would be “hit and miss”.


In fashion, as in life and commerce, the cut of the cloth is important. So too is the fibre, but many social media, digital and on-line communication strategies are now threadbare.

Indeed, in some cases, notwithstanding rationalisations and justifications…  

            The Emperor has no clothes.

A full wardrobe, with considerations for various external factors, is now being reconstituted.

(Robes, tiaras and crowns may be a little premature...)


History is repeating itself. Calls to get back to basics are misplaced. Lessons from the past highlight the need to never leave or forget the basics.

Digital disruption, change, innovation, social media and on-line business are not the total answer. They are part of the drive, focus and solution.

At present the potential is not being fulfilled. In a figurative and literal sense, execution is the issue.

Barry Urquhart

Business Strategist

Marketing Focus

M:  041 983 5555


L:  (08) 9257 1777