I have a dear colleague whose favorite exclamation, usually in response to a great idea, is “Holy Crap!” For sure, a counterintuitive expression, but he’s a pretty intuitive guy so no worries on my end.

The ding on B2B marketing for the longest time is that it has been more crap than “holy crap.” As a B2B creative from day one of my career, this has pissed me off to no end. It sometimes has seemed as if many agencies and B2B brands consigned themselves to a Dante’s Inferno of clichés, conservatism and dullness.

But I’ve been equally – actually more – pissed off because B2B creativity has gotten better and better and better without sufficient recognition. IBM’s “Smarter Planet”? Brilliant. GE’s “Ideas Are Scary”? Scary brilliant. Mailchimp’s “Did You Mean Mailchimp?” Off-the-wall brilliant.

As good as anything in the consumer world. Better than anything in the consumer world, because this wonderful, smart, fun and funny work is about things of complexity and substance. Things that ultimately matter a lot.

With that happy realization, here’s some good news for my wife, kids, dogs and cats: I am no longer pissed. Rather, I am thrilled. I am excited. I am inspired. And here’s why.

(Courtesy of MailChimp)

Since the earliest days, marketers of all flavors have sought the Holy Grail of “wow”: ideas that inspire, excite and challenge the imagination – ideas that literally make you say “wow” out loud. But, like the grail, “wow” has been wickedly hard to come by. Even in the dilly dilly world of consumer advertising, how many :30s have actually caused you to utter even a muted “wow”? Not many? A couple? 1984?

Today, though, we are at (trumpet fanfare #1) the dawn of Post-Modern Marketing. The fusion of Pre-Modern Marketing’s emotionally rooted and iconic creative approach with Modern Marketing’s digital-social-mobile-measurable interactions. And then recombined once more with rapidly emerging technologies like AI, VR and AR.

And with Post-Modern Marketing, we are entering (trumpet fanfare #2) the first age of “Wow”. And wow after wow: B2B’s leading the way!

How so, you say?

Lockheed Martin’s “Field Trip to Mars” won 19 Cannes Lions in 2016. State Street Global Advisors’ “Fearless Girl” won 18 in 2017. It does not get much more B2B than aerospace or global asset management. Click those links, experience marketing at this rarified level, and if you don’t say “wow” (or “holy crap”), you’d best adjust your meds.

My good mate and Stein IAS’ fearless, fulsome creative leader Reuben Webb says, “The root-and-branch transformation we call Post-Modern Marketing is more than a mere rebalancing of modern digital marketing with pre-modern creativity. It’s a sea change in business emerging from all the ways technology and society are co-evolving in the post-modern world.”

Reuben’s one eloquent dude. (He’s English, so I don’t know if I can actually call him a dude. Reuben, can I?)

Less eloquently, I say “holy crap.”

Chapter 3 of my book-in-progress, Paradox: Feeling Machines ans the Rise of Post-Modern Marketing, introduces Post-Modern Marketing and "the age of wow". Give it a read it here.

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Paradox: Feeling machines and the rise of post-modern marketing,

Covers Modern Marketing’s foundational role as we enter the Post-Modern era. Have a read here and tell me your view!

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