Marketing Strategy

Marketers want to eat your babies

Don’t believe the hogwash you read about kindly, fluffy marketers wanting to make your world a better place.

It’s lies. Damned lies. We just want to eat your babies.

Marketers exist for one reason, and one reason only (and I say this as a devotee of, and being employed within, the magical world of marketing).

To sell more stuff to more people more often.

That’s it. There is no other reason for our existence.

We’re employed to make you buy stuff. Either put your hand in your pocket and purchase something, or buy into an idea and spend in a different way.

If we get you to buy once, we’ll do our damnedest to make you buy again using ever more subtle refining tools and targeting methods. We employ devious advertising tactics (often including cats) to grab your attention for a moment and make you buy.

Data makes our world go around.

And consumers provide lots of it. Even if you don’t give it to us directly, we’ll buy it from the people you did give it to. We’ll happily pay for the data and remix it into a product we own – getting our money back when you eventually buy our wares (because we know that you will. It’s just that you don’t know it yourself yet)

It’s lazy marketing. It’s crude marketing. And it feels like there’s no escape.

However, I’m here to tell you that there is.

There are marketers out there who don’t want to eat your babies. Who believe that community and responsibility are the way forward. Who believe in respecting their audience and offering them genuinely useful stuff based on two-way dialogue is the new business model.

There are marketers who want to form a relationship with you deeper than how many coins you throw into our outstretched begging hats.

tbkCreative over in London, Ontario, is one of these. I strive to be another. The guys at the Small Change Fund in Toronto push community over the begging hat.

There are more. But my sense, as someone living and breathing the industry, is that there aren’t enough. There are still too many people wanting to eat my hypothetical babies.

As a consumer, you have the power to reward or cripple marketers. If you are happy with push, then fine. Be pushed, buy and be happy.

But if you want something more, then engage with those companies and their marketers who offer you more.

Who give you the chance to have your voice heard, your impact felt (and not just by uploading a video into their campaign space).

Who treat you with the reverence you deserve.

Who understand that while paid and owned data is all very well and good, it’s not a patch on earned for the value that it’s got to ourselves and the communities that we’re trying to reach.

Remember this – you (the consumer) pay our wages. You might need us from time to time, but we sure as hell need you more. We’re actually here to service your demands and requirements, not the other way around.

Let this be a rallying call not only for us all to be more careful with the data we provide as consumers, but to the new wave of marketers who understand the new ways of doing things, who know that relationships and communities are the ways forward.

We have the power, whichever side of the fence we’re on. And the market will soon demand this new way of doing business.

The change is upon us as marketers already, even if we don’t realise it. It’s now time to adapt, evolve or die.

Edit: Within an hour of writing this post, Ruth Mortimer at Marketing Week released this great piece “Forget Advertising, Marketing is now all about the service” which I think that you should read as well. Great minds, and all that.


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