The biggest myth marketers believe, “I’ve money, which means that I am in charge. I’ve control over the conversation, over the airwaves, over your attention and over retailers”.
You, the marketer, are not in charge.
You are not in charge of attention or the conversations or even the stories you tell. Until marketers of all stripes realize this, marketing will never come near it’s potential to change things.
There are more and more competitors blocking you from getting your voice heard, allowing you to increase your share of consumer attention. And there are more and more media alternatives keeping you from telling your story to the masses.
As a result, people pick and choose. Everyone will not listen to everything.
Some people will hear part of your message and make an assumption about what your product does. Other people will ignore that part and instead focus on the way your logo makes them feel. And a third group will ignore all that and just look at the price.
Even if we could be sure of the magic phrase that would turn a prospect into a customer, we can’t use it because we don’t know which customer is going to listen to which message. It’s not crisp. It’s fuzzy.
Most marketing fails. Here, I want to show you what marketing is like when it works, the steps that people go through when they encounter successful marketing.
Step 1: Their worldview and frames got there before you did: A consumer’s worldview affects the way he notices things and understands them. If a story is framed in terms of that worldview, he’s more likely to believe it.
Step 2: People only notice the new and then make a guess: Consumers notice something only when it changes.
Step 3: First impressions start the story: A first impression causes the consumer to make a very quick, permanent judgement about what he was just exposed to.
Step 4: Great marketers tell stories we believe: The marketer tells a story about what the consumer notices. The story changes the way the consumer experiences the product or service and he tells himself a lie. Consumer makes a prediction about what will happen next, and rationalize anything that doesn’t match that prediction.
Step 5: Marketers with authenticity thrive: The authenticity of the story determines whether It will survive scrutiny long enough for the consumer to tell the story to other people. Sometimes marketing is so powerful it can actually change the worldview of someone who experiences it, but no marketing succeeds if it can’t find an audience that already wants to believe the story being told.
The reason marketing seems irrational and inconsistent and faddy is that it is. Because unlike most business functions, the actions of our competitors (and our actions as well) change what’s going to work in the future. That doesn’t make it safe, but it seems to keep it interesting, and this is the way your marketing works.