ESTIMATED READING TIME: 5 MINUTES
The word is out, limes are scarce and Cinco de Mayo could be the worst we've ever experienced. What is a cerveza with no lime? How does guacamole become more than avocados mashed up when there is no lime for zing? What do margaritas taste like when they are void of their signature ingredient? We don't want to know.
When we consider the loss of lime and how it will impact our consumer behaviour on a day to which it is integral, I am left pondering the marketing industry and when everybody stopped caring. Is this the sad fate of the lime? Eventually the replacement of something lesser will be universally accepted as what we are supposed to consume?
The ME mentality
The reality of the marketing industry is fueled by a very me mentality on the part of the person for whom we are paid to market. "I want it to do this," "I want people to see this," "I want you to earn us money with this." That is a lot about what the person with the product or service wants and very little, in fact nothing, about what the consumer wants. When did we stop caring about the end user? When did quality not matter? When did marketers stop identifying integrity as a core element to their operation? Why did they turn off their instinct to please the consumer and in stead focus exclusively on pleasing the client?
That word right there, that is the one reason why it all changed. The expectations of the marketer became to do exactly as the client wished no matter the result. Instant results were favoured over sustainable results. Sell 50,000 marker sets became more important than provide a superior product, demonstrate value and change the conversation about markers. They were just markers now. They were no longer the tool by which young people would channel their creative energy. They lost the identity of being the channel through which a creative young mind imagine the world or build a new world. They were just markers. We lost the whimsy, we ceased to care about the beautiful narratives that make a product relatable, integral, interesting and more than just markers.
When we resigned ourselves to the sad reality of being the workhorse that chugged out semi-creative ideas with palatable taglines and nice colour schemes we failed. The marketer chose to no longer be the opportunity maker, the sales channel definer and the narrator of big and interesting brands. In stead the marketer became a worker bee. Until recently this was exactly what the industry looked like and titan thought leaders screamed through books and blogs and podcasts that it wasn't the right way and then... and then suddenly the marketers, we started to listen.
Where Listening Lead
The marketers that care redefined their practices and became something better, something more. They cast aside the notion that unidentifiable slogging of products for companies was no longer their trade. "We are ideas people dammit" and the rebirth of an industry began. The consumer though, what happened to the consumer? They no longer care about the ads, they don't want you interrupt their day, they are happy living without you and so what do you do? You start to offer them something. Their attention is their currency and yours is the creativity that you offer and the valuable information that you deliver amidst those bursts of awesome energy that are being found through search and social.
An Inbound State of Mind
The truth here is that it all changed so quickly that the consumer may not have realized that they changed. They found the convenience of being able to know it all, or at least have access to it all. They became educated and they cared more about quality. The value proposition became everything and the marketer of the past is left standing at the sideline wondering why the business just won't grow. Why are their clients leaving? Why does nobody care about their unparalleled capability to design the best goddam flyer you've ever seen for $150 per design hour? Well they don't care because it doesn't work. It can't work on its own and it never will again. The world of marketing is more now. It is content, it is offering wonderful pieces of value to each person that happens upon you. It is being available when they need you. It is being more for your client as the marketer just as your client is suddenly more to their consumer.
And the result is an industry that has grown. And agencies that have adopted the methodology that are growing. And progressive clients that are hiring those agencies that are growing too. It is a fundamental shift in the way we think about telling people what our products and services are. In fact, it is a commitment to telling them everything from the little black dress all the way down to the white jeans that are two sizes too small. Bare it all, demonstrate authenticity and transparency and do it without a hidden agenda. Be open about it, you are there to provide the consumer education and information because the more they know, the better positioned you are in the market. Inbound is not for the company that has something to hide, it is for the company that is invested in doing right by their consumer.
And so, we are proud inbounders and we write this post because there are people that just don't get what we do. They don't understand why a shift from the past is there and because we love the lime, almost as much as we love marketing. If we don't care enough to maintain the marketing world with integrity and thoughtfulness and honesty it will be the artificial sweetener of business, and nobody prefers diet pop. Nobody.