If This Sells Products, God Help Us All

I got this email invite from a marketing company that will mercifully go unnamed. They encouraged me to download some sort of document discussing six things that purportedly would help me be a better marketer. But let's examine each and see if the guidance is really worth having:

Get inside your customer’s mind. Besides a massive breach of privacy, I am not entirely sure what I am looking for here. The anger at my neighbor for parking on my lawn? The worry about tuition payments? The daydreaming about the SI swimsuit models? The worry that my knee needs surgery again? If God really cares that I only ask for his attention when I am on airplanes? If the anger over Michael Caruso stealing $35,000 worth of services from me will ever subside? Why do I keep fantasizing that calories in the cookies somehow don't count? I hope Mary gets herpes for everything she has done to poor Edith!

Make the customer the center of your universe. I'm not so sure anyone else wants to even be in my universe, much less at its center. If they were, they'd have to deal with why we can't get TJ (the youngest) to communicate about his freshman year at college; why the beach house isn't selling; trying to remember what to get at the grocery store without writing everything down; why I would have so much rather watched “Downton” or “Billions” during the Oscars (thank you, HBO, for running all of your shows which I watched in real time); or, if it's time for me to change my weight-lifting routine at the Y?



Focus on the experience, not your product. Regardless of what you are selling, I am pretty sure that buyers don't want an experience — they just want the product at the best possible price and with free shipping and returns. I especially don't want an experience in my commercials, since I would probably get vertigo from the speed at which I fast-forward them. Also, after years of experience, I have learned that no matter which car or beer I buy, I am not going to get laid any more — and that a meal at a fast-food restaurant or a sip of a soda will not give me an orgasm. Besides, isn't that what The Donald is all about: the experience, not the product?

Let the customer define the journey. Now, I am not entirely which journey they mean (surely not the "Don't Stop Believin" guys?) I think they mean that funnel thing where you are either moving down it — or have stopped breathing. I always wondered why they call it a journey, which sounds like I need a backpack and a tent, or at least some good hostel addresses. And what if I preempt the whole concept by going straight from "awareness" to “purchase”? Does that make me a bad person (welcome to my universe)?

Be hyper-personal without getting ultra-creepy. This seems like the good advice girls give to guys to be more successful in singles bars, or oily managers provide to help the the new guy sell more used cars. But I am not certain I want to have any kind of personal relationship with products or services. You stay on your side of the fence, making cell phones, and I will not ask you to come to dinner. Sound fair? The only time people swoon over inanimate objects or food is in TV commercials. Do it in real life, and you will empty the kitchen of all other living souls (even cats).

Unite the promise-makers and the promise-keepers. This sounds vaguely like football stadiums full of testosterone-engorged evangelicals, or rooms where addicts are introduced to sponsors. It might have something to do with "influencers" or brand managers. It’s hard to say. One thing I will “promise," though, is to add your email to my spam filter.

2 comments about "If This Sells Products, God Help Us All".
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  1. Todd Randolph from in.apropos media, March 4, 2016 at 9:51 p.m.

    *yawn* oft said, and frequently better expressed. applicable to both list maker and commentator. unless one or both is being ironic - the first in restating what most already know, and the second in mocking the pompous jackals who would remind us how long they've been preaching the sermon.

  2. George Simpson from George H. Simpson Communications, March 5, 2016 at 4:33 p.m.

    The art of selling:

    "where fondness for the untried and unexpected is tempered with decades of experience in the tried and true"

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