Customer loyalty isn't really a thing anymore, but the few customers who are loyal are your most valuable marketing assets. To stay relevant, companies need to find a way into the two-thirds of marketing that's happening outside their control.
Seismic shifts are occurring in marketing right now, but there have been tremors for more than 100 years. In his latest book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins, strategist, speaker, and best-selling author Mark Schaefer offers research and case studies to help you understand what's happening in our industry. He also offers valuable advice for embracing a new, human-centered approach that will help your brand to survive and thrive this latest consumer rebellion.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
Two-thirds of your marketing is happening without you (04:25): "The things that we're doing, the things that we've done, just don't work anymore. One of the key statistics from the book that a lot of people seem to be really valuing is this idea that two-thirds of our marketing is occurring without us. This is not a new statistic. This was first proposed by McKinsey in 2009. They analyzed all these consumer journeys and found that people are not making decisions based on company marketing, they're basing decisions based on what they see on the Internet.
"They revisited this study...and said the sales funnel is gone, loyalty is over, and the consumers are the marketers. They're the ones who are selling the products. Only one-third of the work we're doing at our companies is really working anymore, and that's going to shrink. Let's look at that two-thirds: that's the future."
Traditional advertising does not work (and soon it won't even exist) (10:06): "This is profound, take-it-to-the-bank research that shows trust in companies and brands and advertising has declined 10 years in a row. People trust each other. They'll trust a real person who's a stranger leaving a review before they'll trust ads, if they even see your ads. We're marching inexorably towards an ad-free world. You and I consumer most of our TV on Netflix or Amazon Prime. We're watching Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. We don't see ads...we listen to audiobooks. No ads! I'll be in the car for hours. No ads.
"One-third of Americans have ad blockers on their mobile devices. They don't even see the digital ads. If you're out there still thinking that you're going to win your marketplace through traditional advertising, it's time to wake up. It's a new day, and we've got to have new ideas and new strategies."
Don't focus so much on the technology stack—go out and talk to customers (15:34): "Why aren't marketers thinking like customers? One of the things I learned while I was doing this research is that is one of the problems: We are in our cubicles. Marketing has become a glorified IT department, and we're not getting out listening to our customers.
"One of the people I interviewed for the book is Martin Lindstrom, the author of Small Data. He gave a talk in front of 5,000 marketers and asked them, 'How many of you have been out to see your customers and had a face-to-face conversation with a customer in the past year?' He said the number was 19. That's the problem. We're not picking up on the signals because we're locked into a strategy. We're incrementally improving things. We're trying to build a martech stack instead of really seeing what customers want, where they are today. It's a sickness."
Host events, create a community, create a space (analog or digital) for your customers to belong (19:59): "Bringing people together changes everything.... When you bring people together, all of a sudden, that forges these amazing connections. It's the difference between listening to music on your iPod and going to see a band in concert. When you go to see a band in concert, that's a profound experience that creates new emotional connections. How do you scale that? There are examples in the book of big companies doing this, like HBO. There are examples of Turner...where they're having festivals for Turner Classic movies. They're having these fun events in big cities for the 'Adult Swim' cartoon channel that they own.
"There are examples where companies are using technology in a good way to bring people together. There's a company I profile in the book that gives Slack memberships to their customers so they can find different areas to collaborate, get feedback. They're getting thousands of ideas through these channels. But if you're just looking or a way to start, have a meet-up. Just get out there!
To learn more, pick up a copy of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins (I love the Audible book, narrated by Mark himself), or visit BusinessesGrow.com and be sure to follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkWSchaefer.
Mark and I talked about so much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
Mark W. Schaefer, brand strategist, educator, and best-selling author of several books including KNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age, and his latest book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins. Follow Mark on Twitter at @markwschaefer and learn more about him and the book at BusinessesGrow.com.