Service of Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose–Redux

September 23rd, 2019

Categories: Communications, Holistic, Jargon, Public Relations


Before a significant launch, a client invited the marketing experts who promoted his product to his conference room in the Pacific Northwest. He wanted us to hear and see others’ plans, to tweak ours if necessary, and eventually to coordinate and amplify the marketing effort to ensure we were all singing the same song. I was there for public relations and there was someone from direct marketing, advertising, graphics, customer service and so forth. My client was the puppeteer pulling the strings. It was years ago.

While he didn’t give it a fancy name–nor did he have access to the bells and whistles we now do–some 2019 jargon lovers might call what he did “360 degree marketing.”


Its offspring is 360 degree digital marketing that too-frequently falls off the lips of [trying to be] hip PR folks these days. Here’s how Wheelhouse Advisors explains it: “a 360 degree approach is all about taking a broad and all-encompassing view of your entire customer journey, from discovery to purchase, across multiple devices and touch points.” Sound familiar?

Wheelhouse listed the basics [the words in parentheses are mine]: “SEO [Search Engine Optimization]; PPC [pay per click]; Customer Communications; Website; Content; Social [LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube]; Inbound Lead Nurturing and Outbound Email.”

The longer I’m in business the more I slap my head when I see decades-old strategies dressed up in buzz simply because a few more communications elements have been added. Clients went berserk when the web was in its infancy, tossing all their marketing dollars at their websites, leaving none to promote where to find them. [Customers with no access to the web at that time were briefly kicked to the curb.]


Another popular word that marketers love lately–borrowed from the world of medicine–is “holistic.” An awful like “360 degree” to me, and what primo marketers have been trying to achieve all along. In fact, if some businesses are zeroing in exclusively on 360 degree digital marketing today they are making a gargantuan mistake. You know who you are.

Are there attempts in your industry to dust off the old and give it a fresh coat of paint–I mean words–to make it seem cutting edge simply because some of the tactics have changed? Is it only the insecure, hip-prone marketing world that falls for/sells this gobbledygook based on the premise everything we do must seem new?



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6 Responses to “Service of Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose–Redux”

  1. BC Said:

    In my day, physicians took a long and good history, and completely examined the patient, arriving at a working, good diagnosis.

    Many young doctors today take a brief history, and barely touch one in an exam. They rely on blood tests, MRI’s, etc., not to mention the heavy use of computers(algorithms)to diagnose.

    Example: I was trying to teach an Internist how to care for Cystic Fibrosis teens making the transition to adult docs. The teen complained of severe epigastric pain. The Internist wanted to order blood tests and X-rays. Finally, I said to him, “ she has had the pain for 3 weeks, exactly the length of time since her grandmother died.” With that knowledge, he switched to a mild sedative for her.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Common sense never goes out of style.

    Years ago a former boss of mine was in the hospital and nobody knew what was wrong with him. I called to cheer him up and asked, “Could it be phlebitis?” Answer, “No.”

    Turns out he had phlebitis. How did I get so smart: Had I gone to med school when nobody was looking? No. But he’d had phlebitis when I’d worked for him. Amen.

  3. ASK Said:

    Now you know why I retired when I did…

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’ve said before–you should write comedy!

    However it has always been like this–jargon is a way for some to feel that they are part of a group. I’ve also observed that often those who use more of it know less about a business.

  5. Annette Kahn Said:

    In an effort to increase social media participation (from the older classes or perhaps even the younger ones), my alma mater has offered to post short essays from alums that answer several pre-determined questions during the college’s annual giving day in October. All no doubt to keep enthusiasm high, spike fund-raising efforts and enhance all classes’ social media participation. But I’m wondering, except for fashionistas and hyper media types, who has time for all this? (The last entry on my class page was 2009!)

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    That reminds me of the “great idea” the president of a board I was once on came up with. We were to enter our reports and comments in an online document that, at the time, took forever to access and was a pain. She was sold a bill of goods and a lousy program. We never used it….who remembered? We needed to be prodded, by email, the old fashioned way every month and soon we were back to sending our reports, by email, to the association management group that assembled them and sent them out in a nice, organized way again to the members’ email boxes. Bet some even read them!

    Another example: a fancy computer program that was to allow executives to mentor students quickly and effortlessly. It failed. SURPRISE! Having mentored both graduate and undergraduate students for years I know that the only effective way is face-to-face. There are no shortcuts. A phone call or email in between is fine but not exclusively, at least until the mentor and mentee know and trust each other.

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