When Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks and Digital Media Director Tom Brodbeck spent time speaking with special guest Mark Schaefer, in Episode 304 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast, it was interesting to hear that the marketing rebellion has actually been underway for more than 100 years, but most marketers have simply ignored it, to their own peril. And just to be clear, it is the consumer who is rebelling against marketing.
Mark Schaefer: His Background and Experience
Mark Schaefer is a globally-recognized author, speaker, blogger, podcaster, and business consultant. He was inspired to get into marketing back in college when he read his first marketing book, Principles of Marketing by Dr. Phillip Kotler. In it, Kotler said, “Marketing is a combination of psychology, sociology and anthropology. Marketing is all things human.” How could anyone not be attracted to a career described like that? But how many marketers really think about it that way today? They think about automating and making it easy and spamming and buying a million names for $9.99. Marketers simply lost their way, and yet all those customers are crying out for human connection. That’s what Mark’s latest book is all about.
What is the Marketing Rebellion?
Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins is Mark’s seventh book, and arguable his best to date. An author never knows how the world is going to react to a book, and Mark has been especially surprised with this one. He describes it as a very provocative book. It challenges a lot of strongly-held views about marketing and compares those to real-world research being conducted by big companies like McKinsey and Deloitte and Accenture and Pew. The clear message is that marketing is broken and misaligned. It starts out with some real shock-and-awe moments that are bound to frighten many marketers, but the ultimate message of the book is one of hope and shows marketers how they can survive and thrive. It has hard truths in it, but many marketers are realizing it’s what they needed to hear.
There is a belonging crisis in the world. People are more isolated and more depressed and more alone than in any other time in history and it’s an opportunity for companies to use this technology and to use their resources in a way that lifts people up and helps make them belong and that’s really what the book is about. It’s a transition of really listening to what the customers want. The reason Mark calls it the Marketing Rebellion is because of a little history lesson in the beginning of the book to show how people have been rebelling against marketing for 100 years, but the marketers just haven’t paid attention.
Consumers are winning the rebellion. Ultimately, they’ll always win. They’re winning now because they’re using ad blockers. They’re finding ways to get rid of the stuff that they don’t want. Instead of being on a march toward obsolescence, marketers must listen to what the customers really want, what they really need. One of the key ideas in the book is that two-thirds of marketing is occurring without marketers, so they don’t have a choice. Marketers have to find ways to be invited into those conversations because that’s where the magic is happening today. Only one-third of marketing is under the control of marketers.
The customers are the marketers today. How can marketers help them do that job? It requires an entirely new mindset about what it means to be a marketer today.
The Role of Technology and Automation in the Rebellion
Not everything marketers do is bad, but a lot of it is, and much of it is enabled by technology, like robocalls, pop-up ads and so forth. Mark doesn’t tell marketers to stop what they’re doing, unless what they’re doing are things people hate. There are ways to use technology to make yourself more approachable, more accessible, more responsive, more friendly, more human.
If you’re using technology to take down barriers instead of erecting barriers between you and your customers, that’s what marketers need to do. What’s needed is a more human-centered approach to marketing. The book is filled with hundreds of ideas about how to make that happen. There’s no cookie-cutter answer that suits everybody. The book is like a map and you can kind of choose where you want to go based on what might fit for your business.
Connect with Mark Schaefer
Twitter: @markwschaefer (https://twitter.com/markwschaefer)
Latest book: Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins
The Marketing Companion podcast: https://businessesgrow.com/podcast-the-marketing-companion-2
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