Beyond being a father and writing this blog, I have a professional interest in marketing. It is within the marketing umbrella I have built my career. I have witnessed the social media revolution, destruction of time-tested sales models, the rise of crowdsourcing, the biggest giant’s failures (cough cough Microsoft), and the smallest people “go viral”.
It’s amazing to see, daily, the aggregation of the hundreds of thousands who work in advertising, PR, marketing and entertainment producing mountains of material in an all out effort to get you to pay attention.
Some of these attempts are bad. OK, most of them are bad. And we tolerate them everyday. Pop up ads, video pre-roll you can’t wait to skip, the Marden’s Woman and the F-ing “tarp guy”. Cheap attempts to intrude and distract you and take what little money you have by forcing something you don’t need down your throat. Just yesterday I was shouted at by a gas pump explaining the latest sales. I just want to get gas without having the shit scared out of me by the voice of god telling me to come in and get a Pepsi.
This is how it has always been – so we tolerate it. We tolerate it because we don’t think that we deserve better. Well you know what? My son deserves better. He deserves to live in a world where companies care about helping everyone, everywhere, everyday.
After spending a week in Boston at the Hubspot Inbound conference where the focus was how to delight customers, I think he might have a better chance.
For four days, 5,300 marketers descended on the Hynes Center in Boston hungry to learn about Inbound marketing. They took advice from Hubspot and a line up of very smart people.
It wasn’t tips and tricks to have a killer 4th quarter and how to have the loudest air horn on the ipad. The message was to be human, care about people and do what is right.
Hubspot, the host and arguably the company with the most to gain spent hours of time not talking about themselves. They gave up the stage to a company called Charity Water who is doing amazing things, raising money to bring clean drinking water to India. (side note: watch this video)
This all sat just fine with me, and I breathed a sigh of relief when it was all said and done. Not because I now had a brand new weapon to unleash on and interrupt the lives of thousands of unsuspecting people, no. I was happy because for once in my life I truly felt like what we do as marketers matters, and that we can change the world.
People are getting tired of being pushed around and told what they have to buy. People are sick of mattress sellers and today’s special. People want to trust who is selling them something. They want to be sold something that can actually help make their lives better. They want those selling them things to make the world better, not because they have to but because they can and want to.
I left the conference buzzing with ideas. Ideas about how to make events I produce better, ways to make those using our products enjoy them more, ways to make our products more helpful, and I wasn’t the only one.
Here are a few great points from the week:
“People aren’t customers, or leads, or prospects, they are people.” @bhalligan
“Delight in delighting people.” @mvolpe
“The goal [of inbound] is not customer satisfaction. It’s customer delightion.” @dharmesh
“You don’t just stop at the close, you continue with the delight.” @pistsachio
“Truth is the best form of marketing” @motoceo
“People want to own what it means, not what it is” @tiffanysauder
With hope, my son too will be able to see through all the ridiculous ad campaigns and marketing ploys that will be pushed on him. With hope so will most people and with hope, those companies that drive us all nuts will either change or go away.