Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rehumanize yourself

I took a half day last week and, fully intending to spend it productively on yard work, instead got caught up in a local access channel broadcast of the City Council Meeting...for 90 minutes.

What struck me was the 'sausage making' that is local government. All manner of grievances and individual issues occupied the elected representatives time...weren't there supposed to be big ideas at work in the republic? Well, no, actually. It wasn't pretty, but it seemed to work...largely because everyone took everyone seriously and as a person...not merely a constituent...or an item to be checked off the agenda. They talked to each other, called each other by name and listened respectifully. 

As marketers many of us have spent years sanitizing our conversations with our customers. We've projected nameless faces, bland personality-less messages and presumed big ideas that served our egos at the expense of the customer...we've removed the people from the conversation. In response, they've removed much of the marketing from their conversations. 

It's no wonder the average tenure of a CMO is less than 24 can one deliver business results if one can't bear to know the customer's name, let alone attend to his or her messy, tactical requests and opinions?

If marketers got to know our customers by name...well, that would be a start. And if we actually got to know them well enough to think of them as individuals, rather than age groups, genders, or occupations...and routinely sought out their insights and might actually rehumanize alot of marketing. 

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