I’ve been thinking about the power of marketing a lot lately.
Not in the way that marketing is a powerful driver of revenue, but in the way that basically everything we do is some sort of marketing.
Back in 1997, Tom Peters wrote up a piece for Fast Company about “The Brand Called You.”
That seemed to open the door to the insight that we are all in the business of marketing.
And, that insight has opened an even worse door, one where if everyone is in marketing that means that everyone has to be attached to more!
As the internet has grown in usage from the early days and more has become an easy choice to make, we have found that several things have happened:
- Personal brands are a true thing, but the people that are talking about their “personal brand” are typically awful!
- As it has become easier to spread your message through all sorts of channels and measures, we have found that the levers of communication are easily manipulated and that nothing is exactly as it seems.
- While it is easier to spread our message further, wider, and, theoretically, more specifically than ever before, people just aren’t paying attention to what we are saying.
- Feeding one through three again.
While I haven’t really been thinking about personal branding as much as marketing in general, I have started to ask myself if this whole ecosystem of marketing and branding isn’t paying attention to the wrong things.
What are the right things?
That’s open to debate but 4 things I think that we should be paying a lot more attention to:
- Since there is more noise in marketing, we need to focus our attention on the relevance of what we are trying to say to our audience even more. It isn’t just that advertising is less effective today, but also that advertising is less effective because so much of it isn’t targeted or focused on any specific demographic or the right person or buyers.
- People have greater choice today than ever before. This means that it is more likely that they will find a better more specific option if they continue to look.
- With so much more information available to people, it is likely that people will just become overwhelmed with the choices and say no.
- As the cost of living becomes more strained for lots of people, choices are going to become bigger decisions. Meaning that when every decision carries a higher emotional cost, it is likely that this will change the buying process.
- When people do make a buying decision, they are just as likely to do it as a way to signal to the world something about themselves such as the kind of car they buy, books they read, or computer they use.
That’s where my mind is.