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Marketing in the Selfish Economy


The future of marketing is incredibly selfish. It has to be. We’re becoming a generation of accidental narcissists who want things our way, when and how we want it. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s just an inevitable effect of technology’s impact on our lives. It’s how marketing responds that counts. The key though is accept that to reach and engage a generation of narcissistic customers, the future of marketing has little to do with marketing at all¾at least in the traditional sense. The future is instead personal at scale and that starts with getting to know people and appreciating them for their differences and similarities.

Technology has never been more human. The digital breadcrumbs that are left behind from devices, connections and engagement tell us more about people then ever before. The question is, are we paying attention?

Welcome to the #EGOSYSTEM. With every new device, app and network, technology is placing us at the center of our own universe. Everyone and everything orbits our avatars in each social network and app. Everything we share invites engagement in the moment. Whenever we need something, there’s an app for that. We multitask and thrive in an era of information overload. We balance FOMO (fear of missing out) with JOMO (joy of missing out).

With everything and everyone crashing and competing together, we have created a beautiful and largely misunderstood chaos that is now our attention span. Oh and congrats, we now rival the attention span of a goldfish.

There’s something more going on besides the rapid evolution of tech and its impact on accidental narcissism. There’s an incredible sense of customer empowerment that’s forcing the need for marketers to evolve from talking at people and listening to and learning from them to be contextually and culturally relevant across devices, networks and apps.

Written in the voice of your customer…

We the people formerly known as consumers, eyeballs, views, Likes, shares, sentiment, “voice of the customer” etc., hereby resign as your audience. We do not subscribe to any form of viral or mass-marketing, mass-personalization, responsive design, et al. We readily embrace ad blocking technology because you brought it on yourself. And, whatever Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube and the like are doing to their algorithms so we can optimize our streams with relevant and engaging content, carry on! We have no qualms with opening the kimono a bit to exchange slivers of privacy for convenience, relevance and value. But give us value for doing so otherwise we feel slighted or under valued.

Welcome to the #egosystem, a new realm of consumerism where expressions influence impressions, selfies are advertising, online activities and connections are bastions of real world personalization. It’s up to marketing to accept these gifts to in turn return gifts of value and engagement to customers through all forms of creative, advertising, touchpoints, loyalty, etc. And that starts with looking before your leap, learning before you speak and designing for context before designing for creativity or schedules. It’s psychographics over demographics, intent over assumptions, empathy over sympathy, engagement over attention, relevance over mediumism, and value over views.

Everything begins with you and the shift in perspective that reminds you that you are and aren’t the person you want to reach. To change requires a more personal view and approach to reaching the people formerly known as your audience.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
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Experience is everything…read my new book, X!

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Marketing in the Selfish Economy”

  1. Amy Thiessen says:

    “Formerly known as your audience”. Great perspective Brian, we demand personalized service for ourselves, but often overlook it at the business level!

  2. JC Giraldo says:

    How we can change that ?

  3. Erica Muse says:

    Very relevant article to the younger generations. Growing up with technology at their fingertips and a skeptical eye towards advertising, they expect more for what they give. If you’re going to take their email, they expect 60% off or a free trip to Mexico. They’re playing the hard to get game and are only taking offers from the highest bidders. They know how to play us and are often very okay with seeing our efforts, as long as they get something in return, and they definitely know they have the power to “resign as your audience”.

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