As someone who has worked in various marketing roles for over 10 years now, I increasingly find myself asking; does anyone outside of marketing really care about what I do? Over this time, I’ve attended every kind of marketing event conceived and they all promise new and creative ways to retain and drive new business. Another defining characteristic is that they are all packed with enthusiastic professionals from a similar background and so called ‘industry experts’ bouncing off the walls with excitement about their field of work and the unwavering conviction that their role is vital.
But honestly, is any of it important? Does anyone outside of that world really care about what they’re doing or have to say?
You may (or may not) be surprised to hear that, as a consumer myself, I’m not sure that I do care. Like many of you reading this, I often can’t stand being marketed to, at least not unless it’s with a bit of thought. If I’m walking down a street and I can see someone outside a restaurant, waiting to grab my attention in order to beg me to go in and eat there, I’ll probably consider crossing the road to avoid them. I’ll also wait rather impatiently for the ‘skip ad’ button to appear each time I want to watch a video on YouTube. And yes, I will regularly pause live TV on my Skybox before a show starts and fast-forward through the ad break, just so I can buy myself a few extra sweet minutes of uninterrupted TV.
Oh, and God help anyone who knocks on my door during social hours just to try and convince me that I need a new driveway, or that I really need to consider their latest breakthrough in double glazing with a huge discount only available if I sign up today!
We’re bombarded almost every single minute of our active day with advertising messages. According to various online sources, the average person now comes into contact with between 4,000 – 10,000 ads per day. Even I find that astonishing and, frankly, a hell of a lot of noise. Is it no wonder then that we’re so completely turned off by anyone trying to sell us something?
Sure, I understand that businesses need to grow, and (putting to one side the current economic climate and global health crisis) we all need jobs to pay the bills and maybe take a holiday somewhere sunny, when we’re eventually allowed to again! But, doesn’t this serve to remind us that we’re only really driven by a handful of basic needs – such as to eat, sleep, be social and to care for one another? From the moment we’re born, we look to those who care and protect us in order to help us understand more about the world we live in. So, it can’t really come as a surprise then that we’ll always put more value on the opinions and recommendations of those we really trust; our friends and (sometimes) relatives. They certainly carry more weight for me over anything a digital billboard on the M32 has to say.
Anything that isn’t attempting to address our basic needs is, more often than not, merely a distraction, that deserves to be disregarded. I realise the irony of this coming from me, a Marketing and Communications Manager, but unfortunately for many people living and breathing marketing right now, perhaps working their socks off to justify the cost of that glamorous and ridiculously expensive advertising campaign, I’m afraid the truth is it will probably never be as important to the rest of us as they’d like to think it is.
Only by looking at what’s important to people and those basic human needs, can we ever hope to make a meaningful connection that drives forward growth and success in business. This is especially true in an increasingly mad world where every Tom, Dick and Harry cries out constantly for your attention without knowing what it is you want.
For these reasons, I’m both glad and fortunate that I get to work with other like minded people in a truly unique environment.
You see, the team I work with pride themselves on what’s important – building authentic and long-lasting relationships with financial advisers and business owners, that are founded on trust. It’s not just luck that we have a network of clients and introducers who feel comfortable to recommend us to their own clients, colleagues and friends who, in turn, trust them.
We much prefer spending our time getting to know people so we can understand how we can really help them. We’d rather not be yet another voice regularly screaming down their ear or invading their screen space for their attention. And, if we can do this over a brew and a biscuit, then all the better.
It’s how we like to do business and it’s an approach that’s served us very well so far. And because word of mouth will never go out of fashion, I’m confident it always will.