Atomized pipeline paradigm

Atomized pipeline paradigm

What is the atomized pipeline paradigm (APP)?

Marketplaces are increasingly systems-of-systems – complex dynamic environments. The current paradigm for marketing in this situation is to attempt to dominate the complexity, with more complexity. As a result, the martech stack continues to grow. The buyer journey is sliced into ever thinner slices as various intent tools and methodologies promise more precise buyer signals.

The atomized pipeline paradigm promise

In brief, the atomized pipeline paradigm (APP) is this – turning the buyer persona/journey into discrete data points defines and reveals the buyer’s state-of-mind, aka intent, needs, pipeline/qualification stage etc… In turn, the pipeline team of marketing and sales leverages the data to pinpoint pipeline actions and plays, optimizing efficiency and results.

In short, the APP is a mapping exercise.

It promises to lay a predetermined grid on marketplace terrain and buyer psychology to dominate both. Some describe the mapping in softer terms: guidance, intent, alerts, signs, and signals. Regardless of the terminology used, buyer mapping means making buyers legible.

Legibility: Characteristics, Math, and Power

Quick reminder, despite the increasing digital buzz of life people are natural. Consider what would happen if you attempt to map your favorite nature spot using the atomized pipeline paradigm. You immediately lose…something. That something is perspective, really several perspectives.

The atomized pipeline paradigm promises to deliver the Truth via data-derived knowledge, aka instrumental rationality (i.e. if it countable, it is True). However, this data-derived insight comes at a cost.

The atomized pipeline paradigm narrows perspective. It inflates its worth over other forms of insight and knowledge which are essential to complex ecosystem marketing. Of course, APP tools have a “marketing” agenda. Afterall, they exist to serve their organizational, shareholder, and identity interests. They seek to bend the marketplace of ideas towards digitally-derived data insights.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, APP companies seek to diminish, replace, and subjugate other options for marketplace and buyer insight and perspective – of which there are several. Despite claims to the contrary, human forms of knowledge remain more powerful, and are growing more useful, not less, as complex ecosystems become more prevalent and complex.

In short, complex ecosystem marketing doesn’t require adding more complexity in the form of multiple layers of “mapping” and data tools. Complex ecosystem marketing first and foremost requires understanding forms of knowledge providing clear perspectives and actionable insights.

A holistic perspective. Mapping a natural environment nature to make it legible means reducing the characteristics you map. There are simply too many. Almost exclusively, digital tools map digital data artifacts. They miss for forest for the trees.

A multi-temporal perspective. The ground, plants, animals, weather all move at different speeds and are interconnected. APP tools typically adopt a single “speed” for example, the “buyer stage”. It is as if you’d map a natural place only by one characteristic, like hourly ground moisture, as a reliable indicator of weather. Not factoring in plant sap, animal urine, water freezing and thawing, random stream and underground seeps, etc. In an effort to make the buyer journey legible based on data, a singular type of time is used. You might ask yourself, has everything in your life during the past several months the pandemic all “felt” like it moved at the same speed? Unlikely. That is because despite the seeming dominance of measurable “clock-time” our personal, social, and professional lives all have their own unique flows of time.

A broad foresight perspective. Many atomized pipeline paradigm tools claim their data provides leading indicators, not lagging indicators. The claim predictive powers based on data. They claim the large amount of data points gathered act as leading indicators which will logically result in “what comes next” i.e. lagging indicators (for example, a prospect is ending the research stage and is now entering the shortlisting stage). Even the “narrow foresight” power claimed assumes constant and reliable data flows as one would find in a rigorously defined and locked down laboratory setting – not the Wild West that is the Internet. On the one hand, if the APP tool claims they provide this laboratory rigor they’re either severely limiting the data or the methods to analyze it. On the other hand, if they claim they’re taking all the data and they’re subjecting themselves to Black Swan events, unknown unknowns i.e. a world of all possible data configurations, well they’re selling you the Brooklyn Bridge (a dream). They can’t have it both ways and either case, you’re missing out on the broad foresight perspective which uses data and importantly a host of other perspectives.

A random events perspective. APP tools lay out buyer intentions in a “reasonable” manner. They don’t, and know they can’t claim, a perfect process. Randomness…happens. However, for the most part, they must provide a linear progression, for example of buyer stages, A to B to C to D (perhaps A to C to B then D… but rarely R, and heaven knows never “7?8|” – whatever that is). When buyers don’t follow the map most tools lose them, or commonly “fit” buyers to the map because the path the buyer takes must be wrong if it doesn’t fit the map. the buyer path over-reliance on

A cunning intelligence perspective.

An aspirational-rationality perspective. People constantly take action. Sure, some of it is rational, linear, and calculable (based on math). It is based on cause-and-effect thinking. However, most actions are not of this nature. People rationalize their actions after they’ve taken them. Many actions are effectual. They simply do (or effect) things without knowing what exactly will happen next. They play an influencing game, every day with mental nudges, social gestures, actions, and ideas influencing their way forward toward something, which itself is often barely understood let alone defined. In professional settings, people have a “feel for the game” a subtle form of human knowledge. They take actions to position themselves, in effect, where they believe the action will be based on deeply held but mostly unconscious predispositions based on their accumulated experiences. These barely visible dispositional aspects of identity both determine and propel people toward their aspirations via flashes of insight, and actions and decisions that “just happen.” Find that hard to believe? You might ask yourself, when was the last time that a tool was able to calculate your aspirations or to accurately pinpoint the actions you took to reach them via a predetermined map?

A value-rationality perspective.

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