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  • Bob Hoffman


Marketers and consumers (and by consumers I mean, ya know, people) are from different worlds. Consumers are basically simple creatures with straightforward needs and easily observed behaviors. Marketers are complicated critters with strange customs and mysterious beliefs.

Marketers are taught not to think simply. In fact, the whole practice of marketing is based on the conviction that there are forces at work in the minds of consumers that only trained specialists (ya know, us) are qualified to interpret. Thinking simply has been beaten out of marketers.

You can't be taken seriously in any marketing or advertising organization if you suggest that the bulk of consumer behavior is perfectly obvious. You can't advance your career by speaking plainly and asserting the indisputable -- that the reason people buy a product is because it's more famous, cheaper, tastier, prettier or simply more readily available. 

That kind of thinking just won't cut it in today's world of professional confusion.

Today you need to be at least a sidewalk sociologist and, even better, a pseudo-psychiatrist to be taken seriously as a marketing professional. In fact, you need to think and speak in ways that no consumer in the history of civilization has ever thought or spoken. How marketers think and how consumers think couldn't be more different.

Here's how marketers think:

     - How can I create engagement between consumers and my brand? 

     - How can I align the personality of my brand with my target audience? 

     - How can I co-create with my target and develop a conversation?

Here's how consumers think:

     - Will there be parking? 

     - Will this fucking thing work? 

     - How badly are they going to screw me on the price? 

     - Will there be anyone there who knows what the fuck he's talking about? 

Consumers want clarity and simplicity. Marketers want to complicate the shit out of everything.

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