The marketing industry is currently in the midst of a mass delusion of epic proportions

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Consumers are basically simple creatures with straightforward needs and easily observed behaviors[/inlinetweet]. Marketers are complicated critters with strange customs and mysterious beliefs.[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] Marketers are taught not to think simply.[/inlinetweet] In fact, the whole practice of marketing is based on the conviction that there are forces at work in the minds of consumers that only trained specialists (ya know, us) are qualified to interpret. Thinking simply has been beaten out of marketers. You can’t be taken seriously in any marketing or advertising organization if you suggest that the bulk of consumer behavior is perfectly obvious.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]How marketers think and how consumers think couldn’t be more different.[/inlinetweet] Consumers want clarity and simplicity. Marketers want to complicate the shit out of everything.  “We need to stop looking at people as consumers and start looking at what they are, which is people.”

Consumer

First television was dead. Then advertising was dead. Now marketing is dead. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] Ad hacks are no longer responsible for selling stuff, instead we are social workers whose job is to “engage in a community” and “co-create with people.”[/inlinetweet]

The Hype of Crises

By turning events, or the latest research, into “crises” the media draws attention to itself, and earns a nice little profit from the increased viewership/listenership/readership.

Since about 2000, the marketing establishment has been engaged in creating phony crises based on flimsy evidence, questionable assertions, and exaggerated claims:

  • The death of traditional advertising
  • The death of television
  • The death of the “interruption model”
  • The end of mass market
  • The enthusiasm of consumers for “interacting” with advertising the miracle of social media

There has been the crisis of:

  • Social media marketing
  • Decline in TV viewership
  • Big data
  • Analytics

And while marketers feel they need to be on top of all these trends their customers are buying private label brands which Nielsen just said that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]private label outperformed national brands in the mass merchandising segment[/inlinetweet], which includes such retailers as Walmart, Target, warehouse clubs and dollar store chains.   [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Overall, private-label sales were roughly $118 billion, excluding revenues from such private-label powerhouses as Costco, Aldi and Trader Joe’s. [/inlinetweet]Their revenues would add an estimated $35 billion and push total store-brand sales to more than $150 billion, according to Nielsen.

Consumers are not in love with most brands

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]For the most part, consumers are not in love with brands[/inlinetweet].  No, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]consumers do not want to have a conversation with your brand, or an “authentic relationship” with it, or co-create with it, or engage with it,[/inlinetweet] or dance with it, or take a shower with it. They want it to work well, taste good, be reasonably priced, and look pretty. End of story.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Most of what we call “brand loyalty” is simply habit, convenience, mild satisfaction or easy availability.[/inlinetweet]

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Then there are the idiots who believe that brands have to be transparent.[/inlinetweet] They tell us that consumers are now so enchanted by their love of brands that they are studying brands to see which ones are most transparent. T[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]his makes it a little difficult to explain the world’s most successful company — Apple — which, with the possible exception of North Korea, is the most secretive enterprise in the history of mankind.[/inlinetweet]

Modern marketing is operating under the delusion that consumers want to interact with brands, and have relationships with brands, and have brand experiences, and engage with them, and co-create with them. Sorry, amigo. Not in this lifetime.

The point is this: our brands are very important to us marketers and very unimportant to most consumers.