Hey Marketers, This Is Not About You, It’s About Them

The year was 2005. The Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises each had a sequel or prequel, depending how you view the whole Star Wars saga, playing in theaters. On the radio (the what?) Mariah Carey was telling everyone We Belong Together while Gwen Stefani exclaimed she was no Hollaback Girl.

I was working at a small ad agency right outside Philly. We were in a meeting with a client (small, local company) reviewing feedback from a focus group. You do remember focus groups, don’t you? You gather a group of people in a room, ply them with coffee, juice and donuts and ask them their thoughts on a given product or service.

As we were reviewing the findings the client interrupted us and proclaimed loudly that he didn’t care WHAT the findings showed; he knew that HIS customers wanted more than they did. Those of us from the agency, naturally, were taken aback by this and we adeptly and respectfully reminded him that these findings were right from HIS customers’ mouths.

Didn’t matter. “I know what they want! What do they know?”

You can probably guess how the story unfolded from here. The company was out of business within the year.

Not Isolated By Any Means

Lord knows there are countless stories just like this out on the streets and many who’ve worked in the agency world can surely relate and commiserate to dealing with clients who just “don’t get it.”

But there is a world of difference between a small, local client not getting it and 700 senior marketers around the globe, who were surveyed by Kantar Media on their views of preferred channels. However, Kantar also surveyed 4,000 consumers from around the globe, too and what’ya know, there is a discrepancy between what marketers prefer vs. what consumers prefer when it comes to channel.

Here’s excerpts from two different sites re: the findings.

Via marketingdive.com:

  • Marketers worldwide tend to prefer advertising on established digital platforms such as YouTube, contrasting with consumer sentiment that’s generally more positive about advertising they see on newer platforms like TikTok, Kantar found in a study shared with Marketing Dive. Social video app TikTok was No. 1 globally in Kantar’s ranking of consumer preferences for digital ad platforms, followed by Instagram, Snapchat, Google and Twitter.
  • Consumers preferred channels for advertising are, in order: cinema ads, sponsored events, magazine ads, digital out-of-home and newspapers. Within the marketing industry, the favored ad channels are online video, TV, social media news feeds, streaming TV and social media stories.

Via thedrum.com:

  • The study unearthed a discrepancy between consumers – who favour advertising on fresher platforms such as TikTok – and marketers – who favour more established brands such as YouTube.
  • This divide extends to preferred channels, with consumers prioritising cinema ads, sponsored events, magazine ads, digital out-of-home and newspapers (in that order). In stark contrast, the marketing industry prioritises online video, TV, social media news feeds, streaming TV and social media stories.
  • All this suggests marketers have become over-reliant on digital channels, falling out of step with consumers who still perceive offline mediums as being better quality, more trustworthy, less intrusive and un-targeted.

What It ALL Means

Honestly, by now, you should know precisely what this all means. Between the findings and the title of this piece, you SHOULD know. But in case you don’t know by now, it means far too marketers — senior marketers mind you — either don’t care what consumers prefer or are too inept to read the writing on the wall that is starting them right in the face.

Way back in 2014 I wrote a piece in my Forbes column entitled 65% Of Marketers Are Not Giving Consumers What They Want. In this piece I touched on survey findings, this time dealing with the fact that 89% of consumers said it was important for retailers to let them shop for products in the way that is convenient for them, no matter which sales channel they choose while only 35% of marketers planned to invest in creating a seamless shopping experience across all channels — hence the 65% not giving the people what they want.

Fast-forward 5 years and once again, writing for Forbes, I penned Why Don’t Marketers Give Consumers What They Want? This piece was all about the desire for consumers to have a personalized omni-channel experience AKA seamless experience yet, despite having the ability to do so, a mere 1 in 5 marketers considered delivering this kind of experience a priority.

Stop the Insanity!

Look, I am a very keep-it-simple kind of person. I happen to think we humans overcomplicate pretty much everything in our lives. But the marketers of the world, of which I consider myself to be part of, take this whole over-complication thing to a whole new level.

Put the most blunt way possible: Why would you not give the people what they want? And yes, I know all about U.S, marketers possible reticence to use TikTok because of the president’s pending action to ban it but this is just ONE example of a preferred consumer channel.

Here is the absolute bottom line in ALL this: No one knows YOUR customers or prospects better than you. At least they better not. So in turn you should know which channels they prefer, yes? Stands to reason, no?

Just give the people what they want and stop overthinking everything and for God’s sake stop thinking your opinion matters dear marketers. Cause it doesn’t.

This is not about you. This is about them.

Image source: Be Leaderly

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