Has anyone noticed that the culture of marketing is gradually being feminized? All those aggressive, militaristic terms are being replaced by friendlier concepts. The old language, strategy, tactics, target, and campaign sound like they’d feel right at home in the situation room.
But the newer concepts are much softer and gentler. Engagement? It sounds so nice and polite. A great word to use whilst sipping tea. Social media. Let’s chat about that one a bit, shall we? Nothing social in the situation room where they are too busy talking about conquest sales and competitive intel.
Perhaps there are more deep-seeded reasons for this shift than mere language. A lot of it has to do indirectly with technology. One-way mass communication leads to very aggressive and impersonal ‘push’ tactics. But the internet has now become a social web of people connections, and that means pull marketing is usurping traditional push strategies, and with it ushering in a new culture more about relationships than transactions. Advantage females.
Inbound marketing is in, outbound is out.
Inbound marketing that relies on tactics like SEO, means that being found by consumers is getting to be more important than brands finding consumers and reaching out to them. Classic pull versus push. It’s the guy in the bar hitting on one woman after another versus the pretty woman sitting nonchalantly at the bar.
And social marketing fits right into the new ethos. It’s about having a third party say you are good versus saying it yourself….that’s nothing more than getting properly introduced. TV ads can be the uninvited guests, but permission marketing always has an engraved invitation, and rarely overstays its welcome.
Even the distinction between acquisition and retention is changing. Brands are discovering that retention taken to the Nth extreme actually becomes acquisition. Joseph Jaffe’s book Flip The Funnel explains beautifully how intense loyalty generates positive buzz at scale in social media, leading to the recruitment of new customers, hence the purchase funnel turns upside down. Farming becomes hunting. Another blow to our male – dominated marketing culture.
So please forget everything you were taught about marketing. It’s time to learn to sell like a woman.