There’s an old, but relevant video from BringBackTheLove, about the failing, dysfunctional relation between two people –actually two institutions, Advertisers and Consumers.
More telling than this story –a messy ‘breakup’– is the sequel where the advertiser, talks to his agency to try to repair the relationship.
At one point, the advertiser takes him to a flip chart and violently circles a messy diagram saying they could “blitzkrieg the soft tissue of all our consumers!” Funny? Sure. But it’s also a sad statement of how marketers see consumers –as some thin layer of tissue.
Truth is, the consumer ain’t ‘soft’ (insert other 4- and 5-letter words like ‘dumb,’ ‘easy,’ ‘loyal’ etc ) as people think. She makes hard choices, whether wanting to pay $1.75 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, or $1.07 for a refill (by taking in her own coffee mug) at Einstein Brothers. Empathy, not advertising, intimacy not infiltration will get through the soft tissue.
As the recession deepens, marketers will have to learn how to reconnect with their customers in more intimate ways, minus the lame, expensive blitzkrieg type tactics.