Make marketing real again
Purpose marketing; how to make it work?
Most of us attempt to leave the world a bit better as they found it. When you are working in marketing that probably means that you gave purpose marketing some thought. How to connect your business to messaging that involve ESG goals like equality, sustainability or other important values for society?
While probably well intended, these kind of approaches seem to have limited impact on actual perception. Key reason: people don’t believe or experience your purpose. The result is that terms like sustainability, purpose and ‘authentic’ are on the top end of the marketing BS detector now.
The elephant in the room: marketeers are liars.
Well that is not always my experience. But if Seth Godin said it, it must be true right? Also a recent study shows advertising executives are the least trusted profession behind even politicians. Auch.. There is work to do to make it real.
Don’t look up.
The reality is that trust and truth are in decline across society. This loss of trust and truth is not without potential consequences. As brought to life brilliantly in the Netflix movie ‘Don’t Look Up’. By the same director (Adam McKay) of ‘Succession’. Another great mirror on how trust and truth are on the decline and skepticism and opinions on the rise. Marketing should not be part of the problem here but of the solution.
The experience is the message
So what is the path to take? We need to make marketing real again (MMRA). It is no longer the medium is the message, but the experience is the message. This involves your ads & marketing, yes. But probably even more so: the delivery emails from your operational team, that invoice from your financial team, the responsiveness of your call center but also how you communicate to your own employees. They are the authentic voice translating your corporate message into an authentic real way towards your customers.
There are a couple of directions to consider further:
1. Democratize storytelling: across any stakeholder in your company, made scalable and aligned by marketing.
2. Offer clear value exchanges for engagement, consent and data: customers are smart, they know what you want, they know what they are worth. Let’s respect them. This is not just about privacy, this is about valuing your customers time and intelligence.
3. Take back control of customer data, decentralize intelligence & minimize dependence from the attention merchants: making a real connection is only possible on your terms. Not if another company sits between and tries to determine the terms and form of communication. To take back control you need get better at customer intelligence in a single place, but then also decentralize the intelligence out of that on a need-to-know basis.
If you know how to fix these three things you will get to an experience that actually aligns to your message. And then you can start thinking about how that holds true to the purpose direction your company strives to deliver on.