We don’t need marketing – we need customer anthropology

I wasn’t able to make it to LaunchCamp Boston today, but was still able to virtually participate via the live video and Twitter streams. During a discussion on Twitter with two great marketing folks, Bobbie Carlton and Rachel Levy, I made several remarks:

  1. Seasoned marketing pros should realize that “marketing” is becoming a dirty word (right behind PR) and evolve.
  2. Marketing pros should stop fighting the fact that branding, PR, communications, content creation, “websites”, etc. are no longer being recognized as part of the marketing silo.
  3. Businesses don’t need marketing teams, they need customer listeners/conversationalists who are deeply involved in customer anthropology.

Why is this my opinion?

  1. Much has changed over the last decade with how customers interact with brands. A deeper transparency and conversation are now required to engage customers.
  2. 2. The marketing silo is gone. Branding, listening, and communicating activities have transformed into something that engages the entire company – customer development. Customers define your branding, help you with content and product development, and provide your company with the publicity.
  3. The marketing model of broadcast, analyze, and broadcast again is on its way out. Customers no longer tolerate being talked at – they demand that you listen to them. This new model is a constant loop of indentifying early adopters, developing products with the continuous feedback of the early customers, engaging mainstream customers with the help of those early adopters, and empowering mainstream customers to promote the brand. Rinse and repeat!
  4. CUSTOMER ANTHROPOLOGY is the future. Strategies have changed and it’s no longer effective to have a traditional marketing model of yelling/broadcasting through the biggest proverbial bullhorn a company can afford (expensive launch events, advertising, PR, etc.). It is all about getting into your customers’ psyche, anticipating their reactions, and truly satisfying customers’ real needs. School-taught squeezing of customers into demographics, verticals, etc. is no longer adequate.

That all said, I may get a lot of flack for this article from my old-school marketing friends. Sorry, but a bit of constructive criticism is always good.  Please chime in the comments or send me an email. I want this to be start of the conversation, not just a one-sided article.

Photo credit: Carol Browne

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