Marketing-as-we-know-it, What's the Alternative?

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by: Sigurd Rinde

I was enjoying Kathy Sierra’s post yesterday, and Evelyn’s, and Hugh’s, and… but something gnaws on my bones: We all agree that marketing as we know it sucks, it is is not right, and we all rack our brains to suggest alternative paths. And they’re all good, great sometimes, instilling enthusiasm, but…

Something seems to be common (suggesting humbly of course), it’s mostly about tweaks, forking away from where we are, using the status quo with a twist.

But that is not perfect, what about looking for a new base upon which one can build a new way?

I like what Kathy is pointing to – learning experience, passion driven. If I may expand – is that not about connecting to the product, to the service? Learn about the product, understand it’s use, make more of the product, connect to it.

Shoes. Buying my first pair of Alden shoes from a small shop on Madison Avenue in NY (big experience for me, being a foreigner and all) the sales person had been selling Alden shoes and nothing but all his life (after a bout as professional boxer according to his pictures on the wall). He gave me the whole story about the why’s, the what’s and everything how men shoes are built and meant to be used. I ended up spending all morning there, leaving with more pairs, shoe-trees, waxes and brushes.

Since then my shoes have to rest at least two days after each use. I wax, brush and polish, I use shoe-trees – and it feels good when putting them on in the morning, lacing then up carefully. All in all I’m passionate about my shoes. And it does not cost me more, it merely gives me pleasure. It makes my day.

Being male, I do have toys – cars, snowboards, bikes, yes a whole garage full of bikes. And what’s common for all the stuff that gives me pleasure? I know a lot about them. Materials, thinking behind the design, everything. Ditto for my computers. My shirts. My bags.

What I hate is the slick ad pushing life style, look, brand. I need-to-know. I need to learn more. Full stop. Stop pushing me. I want to pull, not to be pushed. All my fibers urges me to learn, all the time, no diff from what I put on in the morning to what I do during the day. Learning is programmed in my human brain.

Now to learning: If you push it’s called teaching. Preaching even. If the supplier of knowledge prepares the environment, then I can learn. I should be good at learning. Being quarrelsome I’m very bad at the receiving end of teaching, preaching and marketing-as-we-know-it. And I should be.

Adding it together I cannot see any other alternative than the marketing-alternative to be "prepare the environment" so the potential user of my product can learn, learn and learn about the product. If I’m good at it it may make his day, every morning. And we’ll be friends.

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