December 04, 2014

Marketers Are From Mars. Consumers Are From New Jersey.

Marketers and consumers (and by "consumers" I mean, ya know, people) are from different worlds.

Consumers are basically simple creatures with straightforward needs and easily observed behaviors.

Marketers are complicated critters with strange customs and mysterious beliefs.

Marketers are taught not to think simply. In fact, the whole practice of marketing is based on the conviction that there are forces at work in the minds of consumers that trained specialists (us) are best qualified to interpret.

Thinking simply has been beaten out of marketers.

You can't be taken seriously in any marketing or advertising organization if you suggest that the bulk of consumer behavior is perfectly obvious. You can't advance your career by speaking plainly and asserting the indisputable -- that the reason people buy most products is because they are cheaper, tastier, prettier or work better.

That kind of thinking just won't cut it in today's world of professional chaos and confusion.

Today you need to be at least a sidewalk sociologist and, even better, a pseudo-psychologist to be taken seriously as a marketing professional.

In fact, you need to think and speak in ways that no consumer in the history of civilization has ever thought or spoken.

Although they are all also consumers, marketers have forgotten how to think like a consumer. They believe all kinds of woolly nonsense about consumer behavior and can't even recognize their own motivations for doing what they do.

How marketers think and how consumers think couldn't be more different.

How marketers think:
  • How can I engage consumers with my brand? 
  • How do I connect the personality of my brand with my target audience? 
  • How can I co-create with my target and develop a conversation?
How consumers think:
  • Is there parking? 
  • Will this fucking thing work? 
  • How badly are they going to screw me on the price? 
  • Will there be anyone there who knows what the fuck he's talking about? 
Consumers want clarity and simplicity. Marketers want to complicate the shit out of everything.


Bob Crescendo said...

This is how I've felt for years. I've tried to work out why it has come to this pretty pass. My feeling is that people's jobs, livelihoods, mortgage payments and kids expensive education depends on the process being complex. If anyone found out how simple it is to do some decent advertising they'd soon realise that three quarters of their marketing department are redundant. They create problems in order that they can solve them. Maybe it's best if we leave well alone.
My technique is to find simple solutions then couch them in terms of huge complexity. Make it sound as if the process of arriving at the solution has been labarynthine beyond measure and has involved working at the weekend (this is a killer, marketing people love that one) when in reality I pulled it out of my arse over a coffee in Pret a Manger.

Jim said...

If I may add to that, when marketers go home they take of their bullshit hat and start to behave and talk normally again. Because when they are not doing their jobs they are consumers / normal people. They actually manage to discount their own personal behaviour a lot of the time whilst at work.

When you ask them about how they personally engage with brands on-line or which brands they are loyal to and would they ever switch from there preferred brand if a similar one was doing a 2 4 1 deal on shower gel, they do the whole, "umm, errr, well I am not typical". Yes you fucking are.

Cecil B. DeMille said...

Telling it like it is is dead, Bob. Did no one tell you?

I just heard myself. And he was so young.

steakandcheese said...

I hope you put that coffee on expenses Bob.

DanielHonigman said...

Agree, but at the end of the day, if you have a good product, and you provide your customers a good experience, that's a hell of a way to get started as a marketer. (Of course, there's a lot more to it than that.)

Marketers and consumers (God - I hate that term) mostly have competing interests. Consumers are looking for the best deal, or the best product. Marketers are trying to sell THEIR product. Rarely will the two parties see eye to eye.

Jonathan Rodgers said...

Maybe some of you have seen, but this says it all:

Bechdaalo said...

I am not agree with your point and

nate dawg said...

Yeah man, totally agree. the ad contrarian is the BOSS!
Some fucking fresh air in da house!
Bob crescendo, agree about needless complexity maintaining jobs.

Jim Schaffer said...

Thanks for this. The video is inspired, just as is Bob's hilarious posts. It helps me keep it all in perspective. It's no different in the charity world. We stay sane only if we can keep laughing at the absurdity of it all.

George Parker said...

Bob... Bob... How many times do I have to explain? We marketers artisanaly curate holistic conversations based on resonated deep data mining. Then, like Mr. Crescendo, we pull it out of our arse. Potato vodka time.
Cheers/George "AdScam" Parker.
Bob... Where's that fucking book?

Adrian Langford said...

Here it is straight from the CEO's mouth - the old content myth, compounded by the tired assertion that consumers are anxious to engage with brands

Tim Letscher said...

I'm re-reading "Nudge" right now. Pretty much nailed the first 75 pages in a simple blog post.