From TSB’s IT meltdown to Dixons Carphone admitting 10 million customer records were exposed by hackers, no scandal came close to the revelations that 87 million Facebook profiles were harvested by data company Cambridge Analytica for the purpose of creating targeted political campaigns.

Today's seasoned marketeers now need to have a view on all kinds of company wide risk and for some it's creating burn out at best, along with unrealistic expectations from the board around what can/can't be done by historical silo based thinking, and management.

Just like the coal miners who carried 'Canaries' into the deep dark recesses of those coal mines in order that the early signs of danger could be spotted it seems that marketers are in need of their own digital canaries.

"Marketing ain't what is was" is the new mantra.  

Pre pandemic marketing's role morphed into the company bullhorn department and today's ad tech, programmatic digital landscape has in some respects made a marketeers job slightly easier in relation to 'getting the brand message out'. 

But with it has also seen the rise of an omni-present stress ridden risk mindset. 

The bigger company (brand) danger constantly lurks around every corner with ad fraud, brand safety and data breaches presenting increasing threats, managing financial risk is now a key also a responsibility of marketing.

I read that 1 in 4 post on FB and Insta are now Ads. I also read that in order to maintain demand (and revenues) that Insta is now ramping up even more of those intrusive ads and if you're one of those people who've clicked on an ad before, then hold onto to your digital Insta pants because your feed will no doubt get flooded with even more adverts. 

Facebook’s own documentation also makes clear that ads are served based on a user’s engagement across its platforms — not just your engagement on Instagram alone:

Ads are shown to you based on your activity across Facebook companies and products, such as:

  • Pages you and your friends like.
  • Information from your Facebook and Instagram profile.
  • Places you check in using Facebook.

You have to ask yourself the obvious question which is 'WTF' is all this doing to the user and brand experience at the expense of short term revenues?

Even if you, the marketer, doesn't buy the existence of ad fraud or think that it is under control already, consider the portion of your dollar that goes to what is known as the "adtech tax.

" Multiple studies over the years from different organizations have shown that 40, 50, 60, 70 percent of your dollar gets extracted from the supply chain by adtech companies (for their own profit); that means only a small portion of your dollar goes towards "working media" - i.e. placing the ads on the publishers' sites. 

Content Discovery via Social Media is one of the ways you can open up new conversations, find groups of 'real' people who are genuinely interested in you, your brand, your employees, and your company.

To do this requires a radical rethink about how you utilise social media, and this rethink requires you to reduce your 'advertise and promote' thinking, and start to think about being social, which is really about listening, joining in, and creating conversations. And if done right, the people who really can add value to you will find you.

It will also save you from paying that 'Bad Tech Tax'.