In the last ten years, marketing strategy has been completely rewritten.
Most companies (especially those that were winning in the old world of marketing) still don’t appreciate how fundamentally the rules have changed.
Modern technology has:
1. Given consumers the ability to control their entertainment and avoid or skip advertising. Whether it’s NetFlix, AppleTV, good old fashioned torrents or TiVo, consumers can avoid advertising easily. Even in traditional media, consumers have been trained to hit the fridge, iPad, laptop, mobile phone or just “tune out” when ad breaks come on.
2. Given consumers powerful tools to communicate and create content that were previously reserved only for huge companies, allowing consumers to talk to and entertain eachother, without the involvement or permission of other companies.
The result is that consumers are in control. They can avoid your advertising and create content that can completely disrupt your brand’s equity.
So what do you do about it?
Accept it. It’s a pretty freeing feeling. Because as soon as you think in this way, things begin to change:
1. You stop thinking of them as consumers/consumption-bots – and start thinking about them as other smart, intelligent people.
2. Your strategy becomes less about “pushing” persuasive messages and more about helping entertain them and improve their lives.
3. You realize that doing this also helps transform consumer-led media touchpoints (forums, social media and word of mouth), creating powerful, credible and effective support for your brand – much better than any TV.
4. You stop worrying about big marketing campaigns, concept tests and advertising and instead start conversations directly with communities and learn by doing things in market.
And finally – you realize that understanding your consumer, delighting them with a great product and service and interacting with them vs. shouting at them was the foundation of marketing in the first place.
So let go and see what happens.