|OME • MANAGE SUBSCRIPTIONS • MEDIA KIT|
|The Holy Grail of Marketing– And Why We Must Let That One Go|
|by Bob DeSena, 13 minutes ago|
Great marketing is honest communication, but it also involves sleight of hand.
The Gretskys of marketing, the Great Ones, always know the goal and always achieve the sale, no matter the medium. But they never “sell.” The sleight of hand occurs because they understand their audience and their brand so well, that prospects are convinced to buy. They want to buy. It’s their choice to buy.
That’s the ultimate expression of creativity. I’m in control of your choice to do what I set out to achieve. Like effective personal communication, it involves the message, the environment, and the timing. In many ways, achieving that level of enlightenment is akin to discovering the Holy Grail of Marketing. It’s about being in control without appearing to be. It’s always been about control.
But as Indiana Jones once said, today we need to choose our Grail wisely. The audience for our goods and services has changed. We changed them. We gave them the tools, everything from the remote control to PC point and click, from mobile media to Facebook. And the ultimate form of control, the touchscreen.
Why has the iPhone become the icon? It’s elegant, mobile, it has great apps. It has sex appeal.
But its greatest attribute is that it makes me a digital deity, a god. When I lay my hand upon the screen, things appear, or disappear. They get larger or smaller. Steve Jobs has granted me power, and control.
As a consumer, that’s quite awe-inspiring, as Apple’s sales and stock price will attest. As a brand marketer, it requires an understanding of the implications for effective communication that, once granted this type of power, the consumer is not giving it back.
For example, we spend a lot of time talking about the techniques of targeting — but with the consumer in control of the (potential) conversation, who’s targeting who? With the power to negate all the (expensive) work of a professionally executed communications campaign with a well-executed tweet, who’s in charge of the message?
It feels tough today to be a marketer, because we’ve come to view marketing mostly through the single element of crafting the message. And it seems that with a new channel appearing almost daily, we congratulate ourselves for keeping up.
Well maybe the consumer has done us a favor. Since they decide whether and when and where to talk to us, maybe we should, as the ballplayers say, let that game come to us. Maybe instead of intensifying the game of communications we should focus on what we actually do still control: the products and services we offer. Let’s do better research to get to know them better, let’s build better products, so that their tweets and likes are the brand’s best promotions. Let’s end the congratulations when we achieve the ultimate, automated, menu driven, lower cost customer service line that keeps the customer answering a machine for six minutes (“I didn’t understand. Can you say say it again?”) only to be transferred to a CSR who restarts the process.
If the consumer is in charge of what ‘s being said about our products, let’s give them great products. We might be surprised and delighted to learn that, therein lies the new Holy Grail.