Very good question. Before I get into it, my name is Quincy Bingham, space enthusiast since the first time I looked up at the sky as a young lad in the small city of Jackson, MS. But more about me later.
With the rise of “NewSpace,” we have seen some companies on the rise with a vision of how they see themselves in this new age space race. Engineers are scientists flushed with start-up capital are launching programs and initiatives in what seems to be a daily basis. Companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have lofty the goals when it comes to getting humans in space. Sadly, they’ve seemed to miss a crucial element of space exploration that ultimately doomed NASA.
The problem is pretty straightforward. As long as there are issues such as healthcare, taxes, unemployment, education and poverty space isn’t top of mind for 95% of people. You and your friends my love space, but the public is lukewarm at best when it comes to traveling the stars. Most people couldn’t name all eight planets or what is the Sun made out of a lesser-known dream of traveling the heavens. That’s a harsh reality for those of us who see space as a real place, a real destination. Sorry guys.
For now, space seems like a thinking man’s dream, forever stored away atop Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I often wondered why. How could they not understand the thrill of worlds beyond ours? Why are the stars a taboo subject, only to be discussed amongst scientists and academics? Isn’t space just another place for humankind to visit and explore? First, let’s take a look at where we are today.
Where’s the PR?
Let’s for a second leave the safe places in our heads for a second, use empathy and imagine we never received that spark that made us love space. In other words, here’s a crash-course into marketing…
We tend to think of space as a cold, distant and lonely place. Far from our everyday lives. Watch the movies. Science Fiction movies in general trend towards ominous, political agendas that damn humankind into a bleak and unworthy existence. People in these movies or television shows tend to be militant, distant or intellectual, a far cry from your BFF next door. Then there is “space music.” Google it. Most space music is spacey, orchestric, and reminds you of something far out and distant. Who thinks about going to space?
Pop culture has taught us that space is deadly, dull and in some instances a front to God himself. Space travel is perceived as a smart man’s game. Think of any sci-fi movie you’ve seen. They all involve brilliant scientists, mathematicians and just plain ole nerds whose level of expertise is presented with a majestic type eloquence. That perception is powerful because it subconsciously teaches us that space exploration isn’t for US, it’s for THEM.
Astronomy-related Facebook pages, while informative, reinforce these perceptions about space. Their content consists of “important news” and “breakthroughs” from scientists who are doing nothing more than theorizing about cosmological cause and effect on massive scales about things that are not only removed from our worldview but also removed from the human experience. Some people can imagine what it means for “Jupiter to be 11 bigger than Earth” using balls that they can hold in there hand…if they find the time. But very few people can fathom a gaseous planet made of helium and hydrogen that is so light it could float on water. Our minds (human minds, not yours super-human) can’t imagine the vast size of stars such as VY Canis Majoris or vast distances even in our Solar System. There is simply no context.
I believe the Big Bang Theory because is the closest thing we got to matching our present observations…NOT because I BELIEVE the Big Bang Theory. I feel gravity every day, and I don’t need science to believe it exists. I know the difference between metal and water. I don’t need science to appreciate the difference. Science is required to understand space. Science is also necessary to comprehend how our heart beats, but science isn’t unattainable to enjoy what our heartbeat gives us. Likewise, science isn’t needed to enjoy our home, the space beyond our atmosphere, starting with our Solar System.
Our Majestic Universe?
But what do I mean by appreciation? Does this mean you should be in awe of our grand and beautiful universe? Most lovers of stars and planets believe so. There are problems with this approach. For starters, it frames the universe as a far away, unattainable, inaccessible place. It’s similar to the woman on the cover of a Glamour magazine whose primary purpose is to look unattainable.
Most of us don’t know or don’t care how “majestic” the universe is because it makes us feel small and insignificant. I’d rather take a selfy, get 200 likes and feel like I am the universe. Or maybe I am one of the guys giving my Facebook friend one of her hundreds of likes as opposed to looking at some random woman on a magazine cover. At least with the Facebook girl, we got a chance, we can slide in the DM, they are accessible. Social media has made our world smaller an accessible. Yet, space remains foreign, hard to do, and inaccessible.
Another problem with this approach is that you can make those claims and I’m at least halfway interested. What’s next? Those claims have to be backed up. People like to feel, touch, see and hear things. Well, what’s the best way to see the majesty of the universe? That’s through a telescope. How many people own a telescope? How many people plan to own a telescope? How many people have to money, desire or patience to put one together. I’d rather spend that hard earned cash on a lady friend at the bar.
Unless you’re a hardcore astronomy enthusiast, chances are, a telescope isn’t on your shopping list. I believe this barrier of entry is unnecessary. A person shouldn’t have to go to the rigorous of vetting and purchasing a telescope to see a few stars. Do you need to make a huge purchase to know the beauty of Machu Picchu, Bora Bora of French Polynesia, the Temples of Bagan in Myanmar or Clent Hills of Worcestershire? The point is that space needs marketers now, more than ever. Marketers can communicate the message “Space is a Place”. Moreover, space is an inclusive place open to more than valedictorians, millionaires, scientists, and engineers. Scientists have been the loyal custodians of space for centuries. It’s time to pass the baton, we promise to take good care of her.
About Quincy Lee Stephen Bingham
With over eight years in the digital marketing industry, my zeal for the industry did not exactly start with digital marketing. It started with my passion to create, build and innovate organizations. This has allowed me to understand, first hand, what it takes to craft a strategy, get things done, map progress, move forward and grow. But more importantly in our day and age, you have to anticipate the unexpected and capitalize on short-lived opportunities if you expect to be successful. I get it, I understand, I’m here for you.
My experience encompasses the full suite of Paid Media Advertising, SEO, Email Marketing, Digital Analytics, Eccomerce, and Marketing Automation. While this list is quite extensive and covers a broad range of products and services, I’ve become something of an expert of the past five years using Facebook Ads to generate leads for my clients in the healthcare industry. Using Facebook Ads and other paid media platforms such as Adwords and Yahoo Gemini.
I have helped new and investigational medications push thru the long and tedious clinical trial study phase by finding participants online instead of traditional methods. Digital marketing is a new and exciting channel for the healthcare industry as a whole.
Contact me for questions about digital marketing, paid media advertising or potential speaking opportunities. I’m always open to sharing the excitement of what I do! You can reach me via any of the links above or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.