Start treating your consumers as insiders

Treat consumers like insiders

I’m not a big enough deal in the marketing world (yet?) to get sent to things like #INBOUND or #CMWorld, although I definitely enjoy tweeting using the hashtag from afar. (I enjoy fun little games.) INBOUND — which is put on by Hubspot — seemed interesting this year, and here’s a good review of the conference from Forrester. This gem stands out:

Thursday morning, Chris Brogan took Halligan’s thought a step further, stating that he considers himself a marketing sales professional. Marketers are learning to sell and salespeople are learning to market. Why? Consumers are moved by stories, real elements that speak to their challenges, not simply discounts or superfluous information. Chris says at the end of the day consumers want to be treated well, like insiders. Companies forget this and for the most part we don’t have standard KPIs that measure the impact of this to the business.

If you dig a little deeper on that, you come to this post by Chris Brogan (you may have to give your e-mail addy to see the full post), including this video:

Here’s maybe the best part:

The movement is this: we all want to be treated well. We ALL want to be treated like insiders.

Now, think about your marketing spreadsheets. There’s no box for that. There’s no immediate key performance indicator for birthday party impact on future spending.

But revenue knows. Very visible. Pure and simple.

If you are not putting money into the business, you are at risk. And money comes from serving the needs and desires of people. That’s important. Think about that statement.

Money comes from serving the needs and desires of people.

That’s key metric number one.

Let me kind of break this down into smaller chunks:

  • The Movement: We all do want to be treated well. If I’m not mistaken, that’s “The Golden Rule.” The problem is, most companies have no idea how to value consumers. They do it according to 1950s-1970s metrics, when things are very different today. That’s bad. And even companies that have some idea how to value consumers — think of a casino, for example — then have no idea how to value employees, so they lose good employees and need to come up with a new system to value customers all over again. It’s a brutal cycle. But the movement is real: people want to be treated well. They want to be made to feel like insiders. This is the human condition, writ large. We’re social animals, baby.
  • How Marketing Thinks: The actual bottom-line ROI of marketing is sometimes hard to prove. If you go buy a box of widgets, was it the marketing of those widgets that made you buy it, or something else entirely? You can’t 100 percent be sure. So oftentimes “marketing executives” — in an effort to chase/showcase their value back up the chain — want to assign everything to a series of metrics (often “The Shrine of Big Numbers”) and/or process. This is terrible, because at base marketing is about creativity, telling stories, vulnerability, and a whole host of other things. Media impressions ain’t one of ’em. (Well, it is, but in reality that’s more PR.) In the process of all this happening, we killed ‘branding’ as a concept by burying it in process. We killed real growth by thinking only in terms of big numbers. It’s not ideal. We run around screeching about deliverables and bandwidth and headcount and margins and KPIs, and we don’t actually stop and think about what we’re doing and if it’s actually stuff that matters.
  • Revenue is the final judge: You can have amazing purpose and vision and product. You know what? If you ain’t moving units and driving revenue, you’ll be in a different job eventually. So revenue is everything. But how do you get to revenue aside from focusing tirelessly on revenue?
  • Here’s your answer: relationships. You chase relationships with people before revenue. It’s that simple. Depending on what you do, there are probably millions of people out there who might buy your end product. Millions. Potentially even billions for some product. So how are you reaching them? By throwing KPIs on a spreadsheet/Word doc? By adjusting where you put your logo and the pixel sizing of it on a PDF? Nope. You’re going to do it by making your consumers feel like insiders. 
  • It’s pretty much that simple. Thoughts?


Ted Bauer

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