As a young girl I spent a lot of time in front of the TV. In the midst of my favourite programs I watched commercial after commercial, each with their own catchy jingle and tagline. Some of these ads I can still hear the music and sing along with the words as if it was just yesterday. For a marketeer this would be seen as ‘job well done’.
Back then of course I was unaware that each of these ads had much time spent in the planning and all with the one common goal – to catch the viewer hook, line and sinker…so to speak.
For the marketing industry not much has changed since those days. We could say that there have been many advancements with new technologies and more sophisticated planning and implementation processes, but all in all the goal remains the same - Catch the viewer and ‘nail the sale’. This can be said not only for digital media and marketing, but for all forms of advertising, be it print or face to face.
More recently there has been a lot of talk in marketing circles about the importance of ‘knowing your customer’. But begging your pardon the question needs to be asked…
Where is this coming from? Where is it really coming from?
I used to work for a large supermarket company who always talked about the customer coming first! It wasn’t too long before it became clear that this wasn’t about the customer at all, this was about money. They wanted the customers to think they came first so that they would choose their supermarket over another, but the way the company implemented this was always at the expense of the ‘low level’ employees, and yes, many of us are very aware of this sort of thing going on across multiple industries, large and small.
If a customer was being abusive or argumentative….they were right. If a customer was complaining about the service, they were right. Employees were expected to be ‘nice’ and ‘quiet’. Wh? Because ‘the customer is always right’. When addressing this with management it was very cleverly and discreetly swept under the carpet! It wasn’t too long before I realised that it takes more than one voice to come up against a corrupted system that is founded on greed, not people.
This example here highlights an issue that is as old as time itself. Great words, but no substance to back them. In this case, it was (and still is) never about the customer or people. Nor did it carry with it the integrity needed to support all involved. Bottom line, it was about money.
This is no different from what is now happening in the marketing industry with all the talk about knowing your customer and making them feel valued. Bottom line, the industry is getting cleverer at making people feel they are important in order to use their service.
It must be stated that this is pure manipulation at a highly sophisticated level. Manipulation of people.
Where to from here?
Let’s say we start walking the talk and just be genuine about how we approach our marketing. Genuine is the seed of true success in all areas of life and marketing is no different. So instead of talking about getting to know the customer so that we understand how they need to be sold to (yes, marketers do this), how about we just get to know the customer because…well why not, you never know what can come from that interaction…sale or no sale, and then yes, you have product or service to offer. See if it’s a fit and go from there.
Marketing is simply about informing people on what you have to offer, and never should it be about manipulating to get something.