Marketing and technology have a spirited relationship, but which is more popular? Does a consensus lean either way?
Recently, I turned to Google Trends and charted the frequency of searches containing the words “marketing” and “technology” over the past five years. As you can see, they are evenly matched — and both are on a mysterious downward slope:
Now, what is causing the decline?
One possibility is that the rise of savvier marketers and complex technologies complicate Google searches. So rather than umbrella terms like “marketing,” searchers use focused queries like “algorithmic attribution paradigms for programmatic optimization” — or, at least, “paid search.”
Another suspect is popular culture. Is it possible the hyperconnected world is turning us into a horde of pleasure-bots less interested in mastering abstract concepts like “technology” than in chasing memes and celebutantes?
To scope this idea, I charted the search popularity of a consummate digital-era player – a self-made entertainer and entrepreneur who has sold more than fifty million records, co-founded a clothing empire and sports agency, is worth at least $475 million and is married to Beyonce.
It turns out that Jay Z is a threat to our plummeting heroes:
If current trends hold, Jay Z could overcome both marketing and technology in Google search frequency by 2018. Coincidence? Perhaps. Rather than bemoan their falling stature, marketers would do well to watch and learn. Jay Z has done at least two things right:
- Used digital channels in original ways – To promote his memoir, Decoded, he invited fans to “reconstruct” the entire book using a search engine and pages scattered around the country.
- Embraced smart partnerships – Rather than hitting the obvious suspects, Jay Z strikes better deals with hungrier second-placers like Bing and Samsung, which released his Magna Carta Holy Grail album as a free download on new phones.
To round out this ad hoc (and whimsical) analysis, I put Jay Z on notice. There’s another, younger player in the search popularity game, a fresh-faced, open-source, Java-based software framework that supports distributed processing of large amount of data and can run applications on thousands of nodes at a transfer rate Jay Z could never approach.
I refer, of course, to Hadoop. Combined with its master, Big Data, it’s been on a steady climb since January 2011. At current rates, it will eclipse Jay Z within a decade. He has been warned.