MARKETING WITH MEANING

I just ran across a new blog called Marketing With Meaning. The very fact that the URL was available in 2008 tells us a little bit about the importance of creating marketing that benefits the consumer, that adds beneficence to the world and that creates existential authenticity to our commercial lives. Here’s the blog’s elevator pitch. Is it any surprise I love it? I feel that I should have written it. (Well, I actually did. An entire chapter in Experience the Message.) But I digress…..

People don’t like advertising. For decades we have annoyed them with more than 3,000 ad interruptions per day. We have offended them with ads for erectile dysfunction drugs during the Sunday afternoon football game. And we continue to “monetize their eyeballs” with ads on airline trays and gas pumps. Everything works well when people are forced to absorb our messages.

But our model of interruption and annoyance is ending, especially due to digital technology. Digital increasingly gives people the freedom to ignore our messages. At a time when media options are exploding, time with ad-supported media is actually down 6.3 percent in the past five years. People are watching DVDs instead of broadcast TV, listening to iPods instead of radios, and playing Madden NFL 08 instead of watching Monday Night Football. New, emboldened consumers are going further by using the Internet to flame advertisers, and they are petitioning governments to limit advertisers’ reach.

The result: Our jobs are in jeopardy. The average CMO tenure is less than two years, and the average agency tenure is less than four years. We also are losing the best and brightest minds that businesses need to win in the marketplace. Advertisers continue to fall somewhere down near politicians and car salesmen in terms of professional respect. We must do better.

But there is good news. From this crucible of pressure, a new model is starting to form. In a world where consumers can choose to avoid our interruptions, in order to survive and thrive, we must create marketing they actually choose to engage with. We call it Marketing with Meaning.

Converging trends, sharp minds, and experimenting brands all are aligning around this new model. Industry leaders such as Jim Stengel are calling for a “shift from ‘telling and selling’ to building relationships.” Brands such as Nike, Dove, Burger King, and even The Partnership for a Drug-Free America all have discovered how a shift to meaningful marketing can boost profits, while making the world a better place.

No one has yet pulled together a complete theory and model of meaningful marketing—until now. In the months ahead we will share insights and examples of meaningful marketing. We are going to give away our secrets and teach you how to create meaningful marketing for yourself and for your clients. We want to change the entire world, not just our little corner of it. This is our own way of creating meaningful marketing that we believe will help us attract a few clients and new hires along the journey. Thanks for joining us!

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