The Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins was an absolute ligh bulb moment for me. Given all the conversations I've had with B2B marketers these last few quarters, there was this underlying theme and direction all marketers were leaning into and in their own way. But I couldn't put my finger on what it was... then I read this book and it defined where the Marketing industry is going and how we need to get on board or get left behind.
This isn't the first time
In fact, this is the third marketing rebellion according to Mark's research. Everytime companies and marketers try and abuse customers, customers fight back and they win. The first rebellion was about the lies marketing told which brought on the FDC and FDA. The second one was with the internet and how consumers became researchers and brands could no longer hide and hold secrets. The third rebellion is about control and how marketers want to control the customer journey. The customer is the marketer. It's not about telling people who we are and what we are. It's about earning our way into the customer conversation.
What makes a human company
During the pandemic, so many brands came out and said "I'm with you." There was a video cut together of all the commercials which shows how these brands used the same music, script, and imagery.
Great marketing isn't about being in a community - which these commercials demonstrated - it's about being OF a community. Being of a community means you show up.
For Mark, he pivoted during the pandemic to figure out how he could help his community right now. He wrote a series of blog posts then turned them into an ebook called Fight to the Otherside. He reached out to his virtual community to see if anyone needed someone to talk to and gave away his consulting time.
Mark tells a story about a company in Texas that opened it's store to help people in the middle of winter freeze and it ended up on the front of New York Times. He tells another about a tech company who sent all employees a "Lock-in Kit" filled with games and an Amazon gift card amoung other things to give people a little fun during a tough time. As brands we can be human by creating human connection.
All examples of comopanies who didn't just say, "I'm with you", but showed up and become part of the community whether locally or virtually.
Community, connection, and belonging
As advertising slips away and people avoid it and block it... what do we do?
Mark shares an example of someone who joined a tech group and they said the group saved them because it gave them a community to belong to. The community was created by a brand.
You have to be brave in creating a community because, again going back to control, you have to let go and let it happen.
This also doesn't mean everyone should create a community. Mark gives other examples in the book of how we can create a sense of belonging as brands, but that needs to be part of our strategy. And in a few episodes later this season, there are a few marketers who give great examples of how they created belonging whether through community like MKGT WMN or bringing like minded voices of people who never met to facilitate a discussion, like Tal Valler.
Taking a stand isn't a marketing issue. It's a corporate strategy one. What does our company stand for? If topics like Black Lives Matter, Global Warming, etc. it doesn't mean your marketing strategy needs to completely pivot to incorporate these hot topics because they're hot. What matters is that your corporate are taking the necessary steps to back up why it's your purpose.
Allow your employees and team to share the great internal work you're doing. They'll do it naturally in conversation. We don't need to reorchestrate our marketing. Our people are our best story tellers and if they feel passionate about the work the corporation is doing, they'll naturally tell people
We have to connect human to human. If we truely believe in the brands we're supporting as markters, then we need to build relationships and lastiing connections to bring people along. We have to share our "secret sauce" and pull bback the curtain to give costumers the opportunity to do their own research and make their own decisions. By doing both of these things side by side, making connections and pulling bback the curtain, then people will come to our bbrands when they're ready. They know best of when they're ready to buy. We just need to be there when they are.
This was a high-level summary of my conversation with Mark, that only scratches the surface. Be sure to listen to the full episode!
Mark has advanced degrees in marketing and organizational development and holds seven patents. He is a faculty member of the graduate studies program at Rutgers University and is the author of seven best-selling books - Social Media Explained, Return On Influence, Born to Blog, The Content Code, The Tao of Twitter (four editions), KNOWN - The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age, and Marketing Rebellion - The Most Human Company WIns. His books have been translated into 12 languages and can be found in more than 700 libraries worldwide.