On paper we should all be great marketers. But somehow we get lost in translation. We have the background to do so. We are social animals, we like living surrounded by others and we permanently seek for approval and respect. All our lives consist in building relationships. And guess what? Marketing is also about building relationships. It’s all about looking for the right partner, about dating, filtering and finding The One. And then it’s about keeping the flame burning. With the exception that when it comes to marketing not only that it’s ok to have multiple partners, but it’s actually essential.
We all have some experience with relationships. And we know how hard building a relationship is. Especially one that it’s meant to last for a long time, if not forever. It involves research, planning, patience and some luck. The more relationships you build over time, the more experienced you get and the better you understand how they work.
And how does that work? The more experienced we get, the more we realise that research, planning and being patient are the most important things. We learn no to throw ourselves into relationships without knowing exactly who the target is. We tend to do more research and we like to be prepared. Some people even “stalk” their targets for months before they make their move. And by making their move I mean making them self noticeable by the target. That’s exactly what product placement is in marketing.
We are all entering relationships with the purpose of being satisfied on different levels. Our personal needs and desires are the starting point of any relationship. As long as those are met and covered, the relationship is strong. But we are all different and our needs and desires are different. That means that when looking for the right partener/s we need to observe their needs too. Pretty much like in marketing, right?
As we evolve through life, our needs and desires are also changing. And so do our goals when it comes to relationships. When we are young we live for the thrill, the fast paced heartbeat is what we seek. As we get more experienced, we understand how important security is! Of course, there are other goals involved, but for the sake of our discussion let us focus on security. I mean think about it, isn’t that the biggest benefit of a relationship? You find someone who keeps you satisfied and you’re safe! Easy peasy! Same thing happens in the brand-consumer relationship. Satisfaction leads to security and security leads to loyalty.
On the other hand, insecurity is the biggest enemy of any relationship. And we also learn how to avoid that. Insecurity in marketing translates into oscillating consumers. Their indecision will always cause infidelity and a constant loss of resources for the marketer. We should know better to steer away from those clients, they are nothing but trouble! Indecision is ok if you’re looking for a one night stand. It brings you satisfaction for the moment, and that’s ok, but it rarely evolves in a healthy relationship. Because people looking for one night stands have different goals. A one night stand in marketing is like a promotion. It helps you reach certain goals fast but on the long run it doesn’t build equity for the brand.
Ok, so we become good at research and planning and we tend to be more patient over time. But are also getting better at keeping the relationship going? After all this is the most important thing. And I dear to say that we are getting the hang of that too. We know that satisfaction is what matters in the end. And since we have researched needs and desires so well and we have a good understanding of those, then we can assume that we know what to do. However, we must not forget that in order for a relationship to last, satisfaction has to work both ways. In marketing that means that we sometimes have to forget about that shitty principle which says that the “customer is always right”. Because sometimes he/she isn’t. We just have to make him/her think he/she is. You know what they say about having an argument in a relationship: do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? 🙂
And let’s not forget about communication. Remember when everybody told you that many relationships fail due to lack of communication? Well, that’s not necessarily because the people involved in that relationship don’t talk. It’s either because they talk too much or mostly because they don’t listen. Over time we learn what and when to say something, and also when and how much we need to listen. And still somehow we make others feel like they’re interested. The same happens with successful brands. They don’t have to talk all the time and they also don’t need to listen all the time. It’s all about filtering, remember? It’s the relevant information that matters.
So you see, if we fulfil all the conditions to become better marketers over time, why don’t we? And there is no hidden irony in what I’m saying. It’s just the simple truth. Because fulfilling the conditions is one thing and actually being a great marketer is another. Maybe it’s because we find ourselves in toxic relationships at all ages and we sometimes don’t see obvious red flags when they are as big as a stadium. So, is it safe to say that just like when it comes to our personal relationships sometimes we get lost at marketing too?
PS. If you’re looking to hire a marketer or work with a consultant, remember to pay attention at how he/she talks about relationships of any kind. And you should not be afraid to hire some young marketers. They may not have great experience at building relationships but they often come with great qualities. They are dreamers, idealistic and stubborn. And those are great qualities for a marketer too. After all someone has to make mistakes and take the blame too! 🙂 Just kidding.