As humans, we have an inherent desire to be connected. Yes, in several studies, the "rise of the city" amounted to the success and improved quality of life people had when people decided to work and be together. Connectedness and meaningful relationships are wonderful things. Being social improves learning, reading, and the ability to relate and sympathize.
But what if we struggle with it? Or what if our course of life is without much human interaction?
A study that was covered discussed this very topic and suggested that those with limited interactions — those leading lonely or isolated lives — were more likely to see human faces in inanimate objects (dolls and the like) than those in stable, social relationships.
Surprising? Not really. But incredibly relevant.
Today's world, though very connected, can feel incredibly lonely. Being in front of a computer, or on your smartphone texting and chatting with multiple people, is very different than being in the same room, looking eye-to-eye with people. It is just not the same. When we think of touch, striking a few keyboard strokes is quite different than playing with someone's hair, or hugging the shoulders or waist of another person.
Why does this involve marketing and advertising?
Because our industry is still all over the digital world. People thinking that marketing is a "software" business are forgetting that people prefer — overwhelmingly — to do business with people. Mixing in elements like experiential marketing — activities that involve bodies of people interacting with products or services all at the same time — can be more powerful than subjecting them to ads based on behavioral or predictive targeting.
Go out and connect with someone. We're all better for it.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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