Hey, Marketers: Do You Have A Soul?

I love working at the intersection of technology, marketing and media.

This arena makes business interesting, fun, challenging and disruptive -- all at once.  

This intersection is more like a steadily rising sea that is changing how we produce, consume, buy, and interact and identify with ourselves. It’s also transforming our standards of privacy, trust and gratification. It’s powerful and real.

The challenge of this technology-driven intersection, especially in marketing, is that it becomes incredibly easy to get caught up with shiny bells, louder whistles and cheap thrills -- most of them perishable and undifferentiated. Venture capital fuels important innovation, though it also sustains incredible noise.

If you were to listen to the industry herd, you’d think the key to marketing success lies in a mastery of buzzwords and tactics like social CRM, automation, inbound marketing, content marketing and native advertising, among others (and I could go on forever listing them).



Emerging tactics are important and many are real, but we shouldn’t get overly distracted by excessive hype. Audience demographics, behaviors, channels, speed and technologies are changing -- but marketing fundamentals haven’t.

It is noisy times like this that make it especially important to tune into the fundamentals that really matter. And perhaps nothing is more important than your soul.

Are you in touch with your company and brands’ immaterial essence: the attributes that arouse emotion and passion in your employees, customers and even yourself? Can you describe -- simply and with conviction -- your company’s reason to exist?

The excitement over bells and whistles often erodes marketers’ connection to their soul.

Sure, paying attention to what’s new is a prerequisite to adapting to innovative tactics and tools within the forceful intersection of technology, marketing and media. But it's your soul that ultimately will determine your relevance.

7 comments about "Hey, Marketers: Do You Have A Soul?".
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  1. Ted Rubin from The Rubin Organization / Return on Relationship, May 21, 2013 at 11:07 a.m.

    Hear hear! With all the talk about data these days... Don't forget to put your Humanity on Display!

  2. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, May 21, 2013 at 11:17 a.m.

    Facebook is currently advertising day trading to me, with a $5000 bonus if I put enough in my account. I briefly worked with real traders, so I know the risks and would not touch this, but it must be going out to many others who could be sucked in. Those marketers have no souls.

  3. Bruce May from Bizperity, May 21, 2013 at 1:27 p.m.

    Absolutely right... and don'w forget about just talking directly to the customer. Great businesses are founded by people who never stop talking and listening to their customers. Marketers should follow the lead of the business founders if they want to really understand the DNA of their brand and how that is evolving along with the rapid evolution of just about everything else in our lives (driven of course by all our disruptive technology).

  4. Cece Forrester from tbd, May 21, 2013 at 5:10 p.m.

    To me, having a soul means: Do you have respect for your customers as fellow human beings? Many marketers apparently don't.

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, May 21, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.

    Sole sucking is expensive. The more bells and whistles that a company needs to sell their product/service, the more it cost to run the company and the more the costs have to be passed on to the people who you want to buy your product/service who are bombarded with expensive marketing/advertising from every direction. What is a soul anyway ?

  6. Cece Forrester from tbd, May 21, 2013 at 8:28 p.m.

    Oh, Paula, if they run away from the bombardment it just proves that they don't deserve to be treated with any restraint. If we manage to catch a few, we'll really make them pay.

  7. Kenneth Hittel from Ken Hittel, May 22, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.

    The "soul" of New York Life Insurance Company was articulated at least as long ago as the 1890s by Agency head and later President Darwin Kingsley: The four principles were and (largely) still are 1) life insurance, 2) agency sales force to sell life insurance, 3) mutuality as corporate structure (i.e., no shareholders), and 4) financial strength. Even the current CEO, despite all else, has absorbed this. It resides in the DNA of New York Life employees and agents, even if few could articulate it.

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