2019: The Most Human Year Because It Must Be

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By Mark Schaefer

Normally at the beginning of each year I create a post that summarizes what I believe the theme of the upcoming year will be for marketing. I think the theme for this year is “human.”

Now before you roll your eyes about “human marketing” being trite and overused, hear me out. I think there is something radically new that is brewing in the business world, something that is going to overturn many of the familiar marketing concepts of the past. Maybe it will even overturn you.

Marketing is being shaken to its core foundations.

The new marketing mindset

In a few weeks, I’ll launch my new book Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins. It took me two years of research and writing to complete this project and what I learned in the process made me question what it means to be a marketer today. The changes ahead are that significant!

The short explanation of what’s going on is that marketing departments have had their heads down, chunking out their content, ads, and social media posts. But meanwhile, the expectations and desires of consumers have taken a quantum shift away from us. In fact, hyper-empowered consumers are now more in control of the marketing process than we are! Fully two-thirds of our marketing is occurring without us.

Participating in that powerful two-thirds requires a total overhaul of the marketing mindset. This is much more than “having a human voice” or “being human” through your content. If that’s your focus today, you’re already behind.

It’s pretty hard for any company to truly be “human.” So what do we do?

Focus on the constant human truths

To win in this world, you’ll need an entirely new view of marketing. Instead of “selling” to people, we need to find innovative strategies that will help us be invited into the organic customer conversations where the real work is being done. This means shifting our focus to constant human needs instead of AI, blockchain, and marketing automation. It means accepting that:

  • Our customers are the marketing department.
  • Story matters, but WHO tells the story matters more.
  • It’s not about our “why.” It’s about their “why.”
  • Technology should be invisible and only used to help your company be more compassionate, receptive, fascinating, and useful.
  • There is a fourth “P” to the standard marketing portfolio and that is “purpose.” Many people only buy based on their beliefs.
  • Marketing isn’t about about making promises. It’s about keeping promises.
  • The sales funnel is gone.
  • Advertising is dying.
  • Loyalty is a myth.
  • The traditional CMO role is a thing of the past.

Do these statements make you uncomfortable? Don’t worry. They made me squirm, too!

But here is the truth of the matter. We have no choice but to change. The rebellion is knocking at your door. Figure out this new world or fade away.

A Marketing Rebellion

Once we begin to accept these realities and commit to a new mindset, we’ll also need a new playbook. That’s what I’m delivering to you in my new book. I will highlight specifically

  • what has changed and why
  • how to overturn our current social media, content, and other marketing efforts to adjust to this world
  • new ideas and tactics to propel us to success in this unfamiliar environment

I can’t wait to get this book into your hands and kick off this discussion. Literally, there is no more important conversation we can be having at this moment in our marketing careers.

The most human company wins. I’ll show you how.

Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for {grow}, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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Originally published at businessesgrow.com on December 31, 2018.

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