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February 14, 2007

Marketing Turned Upside Down

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Philosophy

A classical approach to marketing has always been find out who the market is and what they want, and then create a product or service to meet that need. The rhetoric: Why create a product or service if no one wants to buy it?

Another approach has been to find out who the market is, and then cajole a demand for a particular need that can only be met by the product or service you create. The rhetoric: The higher the appetite for our product or service--regardless if anybody needs it or not--the more money we make.

The next wave of marketing we're seeing is that organizations must first find out who they are and what they're passionate about, and then figure out who the market is.

The first two approaches appear to be a little safer. Our left brains have taught us that research should be a part of every decision, especially decisions that require significant investments of time, treasure and talent. Why invest so much in creating something that nobody will buy? And if nobody wants to buy it, let's guide their conscience to think they need it by repeated messaging (a lie told enough times can be perceived as truth).

The rules are changing.

Organizations (non-profits and for-profits alike) that first discover who they are and what they're passionate about will be better positioned to offer a product or service that gets results. The next generation of consumers are demanding that the brands they interact with are transparent, spiritual and cause-orientated.

Organizations must go inward if they're going to be built to last. For some, it means going back to their roots and re-learning why the organization started in the first place. For others, it means re-visiting values and understanding the deep movements of the heart for why you're doing what you do.

Today's approach may not be as safe, but it's certainly more rewarding. When plans are built out of passion and teams are motivated by meaning, products and services get that much better. And the potential market gets that much clearer because now you know you have something remarkable.

And it started with you.

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