Believe This

Try forcing a stranger to believe something they have never heard of before, or to abandon a belief they have held for years. Odds are you will fail at both. “Belief” is understanding without knowledge, facts or proof. Yet humans have many complex belief systems firmly rooted in air. This is not inherently bad. Beliefs guide actions, and if beliefs are noble, then good things occur. But beliefs are also firmly rooted in the mind – trying to uproot beliefs (at least in the short term) is like trying to pull a redwood tree out of the ground with your bare hands. Belief systems are important to humans and to marketers. For humans, belief systems are shortcuts to understanding life, the universe and everything. The belief doesn’t even have to be correct as long as it provides a person with a grasp on their perception of reality. This is one … Continue reading

Perception is Reality

“Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.” — Jules de Gaultier Marketers deal in perception. Great marketers meld perception and reality. The fact is that people perceive what they want to believe. This explains much about politics, religion and brand loyalty. People perceive value in things – concepts, communities, tribes, brands – and either admire or despise them accordingly. A lot of money has been made by creating a brand and charging people for the brand as opposed to the product. You can spend $3,500 for a Saint Laurent handbag which has a manufacturing cost of maybe $10, holds no more than a Walmart handbag, and arguably is a sterile design devoid of individualism. And many people do. One of marketing’s jobs is to decide on the perception the public should have of a product or a brand. This is driven largely by the target audiences and … Continue reading

Liars Leverage

If your prospects think a problem is not easily solved, you may find it difficult to convince them you can easily solve it . One of the few must read marketing books is Seth Godin’s All Marketers are Liars, the central thesis of which is that all people tell themselves lies and a good marketer merely agrees with whatever lies are being told. This is well and good when the customers’ lies are sympatico with the product’s value, but causes friction when they are not. This came to light recently when a CMO conclave to which I belong started discussing “big data”, the current marketing and IT hype monster. The consensus among CMOs – right or wrong – is that integrated digital marketing intelligence and analysis is difficult – so durn difficult that only the biggest, bravest and wealthiest of marketing organization are attempting it or doing it well. CMOs … Continue reading