Archivo del October, 2013

Are you ready to judge your clients?

For his book Social Marketing, Gerard Hastings chose the evocative subtitle “Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” This phrase illustrates the feeling, shared by many marketers, of trying to have a positive impact on society through their work. Why should effective marketing only be applied to sell products that hinder sustainable development, whether by burning fossil fuels, generating childhood obesity or perpetuating social differences in Bangladesh?

The surprising thing is that marketing, and the professionals who work in this field, are able to evolve from the ‘dark side of the Force’. Research shows that working is marketing is almost viewed as something you wouldn’t want the other parents at your children’s school to know about. Let’s look at the data: 65% of citizens have a negative attitude towards marketing; marketing is seen as a villain for its role in stimulating unsustainable levels of demand; marketing makes us buy things we don’t want; marketers cause our society to engage in unsustainable levels of consumption simply because companies give us economic resources to do so, because the competition is doing the same thing… and because we know how to do it. Like Jessica Rabbit said, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”

Marketers have an intimate justification: we respond to the preferences of consumers, who are free and sovereign individuals. Caveat emptor: the responsibility lies with the buyer.

But the future does exist. As Varey once said, “Marketing surely has a future – what will we have it be?” Working for the forces of good – putting forth our best music – will require, as Kotler suggested, that we break one of our most sacred rules: Don’t judge what the customer wants. Are we really ready to judge our customers, instead offering them proposals that – as we will explain to them – are for the good of the future?

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Marketing Catalonia calling

Since 1952, when Wiebe first asked whether we could sell brotherhood like we sell soap, the application of social marketing has grown to infinity and beyond. But the marketing process requires that we modify certain attributes of our cause to make it more valuable to stakeholders.

Using the strongest social movement in Europe at the moment (with 30,000 volunteers and 150,000 likes on Facebook) and public demonstrations as a best practice, let’s innovate to create value in the international media: let’s market Catalan pride.

In this marketing effort, our cause is up against fierce competition – they harp on the concept of the “silent majority”; they insinuate a “shock-and-awe” ideological terror campaign about the effects of independence, while standing behind a leader who only mentions “openness to dialogue”; a member of the Spanish Constitutional Court declares that “any political event in Catalonia involves acts of onanism”; and the CNI  – the Spanish spy agency – have a plan to be ready when the shit hits the fan.

The Catalan Way is a best practice in social marketing. Let’s use the Baltic Way project as a benchmark: a physical human chain spanning Catalonia. Let’s add extra value by drawing on a historical concept like ancient Rome’s Via Augusta – the road to follow. Let’s use visible, easily identifiable colours and combine them with surprisingly integrated Sikh and Samoan citizens. Let’s adopt the principle, espoused by the Catalan National Assembly, that “whoever comes will be counted as an independence supporter; if you don’t want to be counted, stay at home” – a classic nugget of public demonstration management. And let’s embellish it with modern tools – we’ll measure it using digital traces such as Twitter to obtain an innovative digital effect of the 400,000 people it took to span 400 kilometres. And we’ll track references to Spanish prisoners in the New York Times to give meaning to the human chain – the latest and most dramatic expression ever seen of a powerful social movement marketing itself to international stakeholders.

Any recommendations for the next public demonstration in 2014?


Case Studies, Further readings, Public Sector | , , Leave a comment Permalink