We meet companies and non-profits who have been marketing to the same
lists for years. Often, these lists and the assumptions about the
people on their lists are more than a decade old. These aged lists may
have been scrubbed, but that is simply for those who have fallen off the
grid, one way or another. This point should be obvious: there are major problems with this scenario.
1. First off, organizations marketing to the same list for years lose
the feel of how their buyers make decisions. Their selling instincts
dull, and then they tend to think of names on the list as objects rather
than subjects with rich, full lives, motivations, and choices. In
essence, they lose their hunting impulse, their sense of courtship, and
reduce a possible valuable customer relationship into a vague,
impersonal slot machine, settling for a single transaction with low
2. Second, people are dynamic, not static. If these organizations put
their prospects into a rigid category instead of knowing them on a
deeper level, they will be marketing to a snapshot that is no longer
valid. Think of yourself or your children 10 years ago to demonstrate
this point. People are one of the most progressive species on the
planet. Fortunes can be made, lost, and regained in a decade’and if your
customer information keeps the same basic inputs, you are out of touch
3. Third, your weakest competitors are marketing to the exact same list.
Incredibly, they are marketing to them with a similar value
proposition, brand promise, feature and benefit set, and price range
(perhaps with a few incremental differences, but nothing really
discernible to them). They, too, are eking out a living on the after
fumes of cobwebbed insights from a decade ago, and cannot think outside
of the confines of a strategy set when the world was a different place.
4. Fourth, the most egregious sin: They don’t have any actionable
insights about the market, the people in the market, the trends and
forces that shape the market, and they do not renew and transform their
innovation and marketing efforts to position as a leader in their
category. This is the classic deadly sin of sloth. If it exists in your
organization, eradicate it or risk extinction.
Face it: this is the post-industrial world, the economic era of
innovation. These innovations are steeped in human-to-human
valves’offering products, services, causes, and messages that add value
to a person’s life. You have to know a person to go this deep. You must
immerse yourself in their world and get out of your conference room to
comprehend where and how you can really add value.
Call it a deep dive, a voice of the customer, an ethnography,
narrative insight based marketing research, field studies, whatever’just
get out of your own head and your rut-like routines and get inside the
homes, routines, rituals, and hearts of your people. Honor those that
buy from you or give to you, as subjects with dynamic lives.
By investing in them, you create a win-win relationship. You offer
something of value to Joe, Betty, John, Veena, and Amir’and they, in
return, return to your offering as part of the natural course of their
lives. This quid pro quo, these repeat sales, will not happen if you
keep playing the old lists game and never spend time with your prospect