Most Marketing Professionals Will Never Get This

I’m lucky.

Here’s where I live …

This place is called Chania, a gorgeous town on Crete island, Greece. I ditched a meaningless 9-to-5 job and moved here, to regain my wellbeing.

[Believe me, if you want to step aside (a bit) from the world’s fast pace, there’s not better heaven than Crete.]

One of the things I love most about Chania is to go out, meet my friends, and discover new places.

Whether it’s a lake, a gorge, a traditional tavern, or a hipster pub, I’m always happy to explore.

This was my mood a few nights ago, when I met a friend of mine in the old town (better said, old harbour).

THE TOURIST TRAP

We walked for one hour, then decided to find a place where we could drink something.

We agreed to go to the Synagogue.

No, I’m not talking about the Jewish house of worship.

I’m referring to an old Jewish house of worship, transformed into a fancy bar.

We walked a bit until we found the place …

Yet, BUMMER!

It was closed.

We were already tired, thirsty, and eager to find (RIGHT NOW) a place to sit.

Luckily (unfortunately!), next to the Synagogue, we bumped into a really nice, open air tavern. They had live music and cute little candles on each table.

Without giving it a second thought, we decided to stay.

The waiter came immediately with two heavy menus in his hands.

He greeted us and left the menus on the table.

The variety of food was impressive, yet the prices were exaggerated.

Seeing that, we had an “a-ha” moment.

This tavern was the typical tourist trap: “traditional” plates, “traditional” music, and inexplicably inflated prices.

We noticed another waiter wandering around and gave him a signal. When he came closer, we asked him if we could have a few drinks only.

He said, “No, this place is for dinner only,” and went away to attend to another customer.
“What should we do?” I asked.
“I’m not hungry, I just want to have a drink,” my friend said.

GUILTY TO LEAVE

I checked the menu once again, when suddenly the first waiter appeared from nowhere with one plate of “traditional” goodies.

It had a few olives, some tomatoes, and rusks with olive oil.

He quickly left the plate on the table and went away without letting us say a word.

You can’t imagine the sudden guilt I felt.

My thoughts?

He brought us the goodies (we didn’t even order anything!). This means we have to stay … What asshole would leave after such a welcome gesture …

It felt … unfair, as if we were tricked.

It took me guts to get up and leave the place, telling the waiter that we changed our mind.

I was cringing inside.

Yet, I was mad.

“What was wrong?” you might be thinking. The poor waiter just wanted to please us with a plate of goodies.

Yes, this is how it may look; however, his action was part of a small “trickery” some taverns use.

Once you sat, it doesn’t matter if you like or dislike the menu (& the prices). You’ll HAVE to stay, because you’ll feel GUILTY to leave.

“The waiter served you free goodies … You can’t “change your mind” and just leave!”

Usually, honest tavern owners will never recur to this trick. The waiters will wait until you’ll order something, then offer you a free snack.

This is how things should work, not the guilt “trip” I experienced.

This incident made me think about us … marketers, and how extremely disconnected we are from our audiences.

HEARTLESS MARKETING

We stopped caring about people.

We are obsessed with the QUICK & EASY win (aka the opt-in). We’d rather build traps for our leads, than trust.

We transformed everyone into numbers and KPIs. There’s no soul in our marketing actions.

We demand the audience’s attention; we give away a few “goodies,” making big promises, yet finally end up disappointing by delivering ZERO value.

Instead of interacting with REAL people (potential leads and customers / clients), and discovering their needs, language patterns, and worries, we prefer to waste our time on binge reading articles (most of them poorly written) on how to TRICK the audience and increase our opt-in or conversion rate.

Don’t get me wrong.

I don’t have anything against marketing strategies or practices. Most of them are legit and worth trying.

However, we stopped digging deeper.

Instead of studying the human behaviour and the psychological profile of our buyer personas, we are more interested in learning the mechanisms of building a Facebook ad.

It’s so much easier to set up a sponsored post on social media, including all the “necessary” tricks (urgency, opening with a question, etc.) than decoding the (sometimes) irrational motivations of our target groups.

The lack of knowledge about our potential leads prevents us from creating REAL value. The lack of value makes our marketing strategy empty and disappointing.

And after all this, we wonder why our community of leads and followers is weak and non-reactive.

The point is that we fool ourselves thinking that we are using “killer” marketing “strategies” and “tips,” forgetting about the ESSENTIAL part …

THE MARKETING THAT ADDS VALUE

Marketing is not about ensuring an easy opt-in or making a quick sale.

True marketing is about building TRUST, generating CONNECTIONS and building RELATIONSHIPS.

What do we do instead?

Take a few hours to happily draft some “buyer persona” profiles, following a “cute” template we found on the internet.

Marketing is about being authentic and actually TALKING to (potential) leads AS IF they are REAL people.

Do you think I’m wrong? Then let me ask you a few questions:

  1. When was the last time you talked to a potential lead?
  2. When was the last time you wrote an honest Facebook ad, using HUMANE language, forgetting about the “urgency” and the “compulsory briefness” of the message?
  3. When was the last time you inserted a call to action that actually met the expectations of your leads?

We are obsessed with nudging and persuading, without taking the time and putting the effort in building the ground for trust.

We’d rather shout out loud to make ourselves noticed and deliver shit than actually earn people’s attention by producing massive value.

Yet, we can’t allow ourselves to become frauds. People can spot BS from miles. They may indulge a bit and give us some attention, but this won’t last.

We can’t ignore or disappoint our audiences anymore.

Let’s stop building traps for our leads.

It’s time to connect and use marketing to create REAL value for our (potential) leads, clients, and followers.

Call to action

“You don’t have anything to offer? No link to a sales landing page? No free eBook to download? What type of marketer are you?” I hear you saying.

Yes, maybe I’m a shitty marketer.

However, instead of sending you away from this page, to check my “latest offer” or download my “killer” cheat sheet, I’d prefer to have you here and ask you to share your thoughts (the comments are open for everyone, haters & trolls included).