Marketing Book Worth a Look: Marketing Rebellion

March 26, 2020

Editor's Note: In this period where many of us are sheltering in place, here's a vintage LinkedIn Marketing Blog post recommending a valuable book that can provideinsight into marketing fundamentals that will endure past this crisis.

According to author Mark W. Schaefer, the next marketing rebellion is right around the corner. Not convinced? Consider the following bold assertions:

  • The sales funnel is gone
  • Advertising is missing the mark
  • Loyalty is a myth
  • Engagement doesn’t matter

These alarming revelations were the impetus for Mark’s new book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins. In this acclaimed new book, Mark builds his case for the next rebellion, uncovers why current marketing tactics are missing the mark, and outlines what businesses need to do to reconnect with customers. It’s an engaging read filled with eye-opening insight. 

Take a Look: Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins, by Mark W. Schaefer

While the book is chock full of ideas, statistics, and stories to inspire action, we wanted to highlight three key concepts especially relevant to the modern B2B marketer. 

#1: The Transforming Stakes of Customer Loyalty

“Today, brand loyalty is the business equivalent of going steady, and the breakup seems inevitable,” Mark writes.

Now that there’s an endless supply of product alternatives, customers are inclined to cut ties if there is no emotional attachment. The stark truth is that 87% percent shop around, and customers have all the control—including the power of influence. 

In the book, Mark references a McKinsey study that found two-thirds of marketing touchpoints fall outside of brand communications via social media, word of mouth, and customer-driven content. On top of that, 80% of consumers distrust all company advertising.

“Brands of the past were built on advertising impressions. Brands of the future build on human impressions,” Mark notes. 

But this is no time for marketers to double-down on automated nurturing efforts (it won’t work). Instead, Mark said that we need to be more human, use technology to improve the path to purchase, and build the relationships that matter. 

“Take exceptional care of the 13 percent of your customers who are true loyalists,” Mark advises. “Give them the tools to be a referral engine for your brand … lovingly reward your best customers. Do you know them by name?” 

#2: Pitfalls of Interruption Marketing and the Rise of “Consensual Marketing” 

“Technology has become the enemy of great marketing,” Mark argues before explaining his reasoning: It’s not that technology is ineffective but rather that it’s so powerful. “It’s so efficient and easy that we tend to assign every marketing problem to a tech solution … even when we shouldn’t.”

So how does the marketing status quo fail us? Mark categorized the pitfalls into four main groups.

  1. The cycle of annoyance. When marketers finally manage to secure precious contact information, they are often overeager. Instead of slowly building a relationship founded on trust, companies bombard the customer with phone calls, a flurry of emails, invites to events, newsletters, and more. The impersonal nature of the process makes it easy for customers to rebel against companies that they’ve come to view as faceless, automated, evil empires. 
  2. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should. Technology has made it easy and inexpensive to cast a wide net and hope for the best. Mark calls out popup ads as an obvious offender. Consumers hate popup ads, but marketers persist in using them because they work. What’s the sense in that?  You might get a click but it’s highly unlikely to turn into a meaningful long-term relationship. On the other end of the spectrum, technology offers the ability to target down to the household, bringing about what Mark dubs, the “new wave of creepiness.”
  3. Technology is not an easy button. Nothing replaces face-to-face communication with customers. Enough said.
  4. The uninvited guests. Technology has allowed brands to be a constant presence in people’s lives, but the sad truth is that people do everything they can to avoid a conversation. They zip through commercials. They install ad blockers. They mark promotional emails as spam. And, if you somehow manage to break through, customers are rarely—if ever—delighted to receive your “limited time offer.”

Instead of forcing our way into the buyer’s headspace, we need to get them to invite us in. We need to gain their consent and provide them a fair exchange for their information and attention. Evolving to intent-based marketing is one way to deliver value to customers through targeted brand messaging based on audience insight.

But note: Just because someone downloads one ebook, that doesn’t mean they are forever in your debt. Each phase of the customer journey should be a partnership between the customer and the brand. At every stop, they should receive value commensurate to that of their information.

For Mark, this means making the sales process as transparent and compassionate as possible. And, instead of using technology to create more touchpoints, leverage technology to build trust—streamline the buyer’s journey, personalize, proactively support customers, and provide delight. 

Mark challenges marketers to consider, “What do our customers love? Now use your technology to do exactly that.”

#3: The Vital Importance of Human-centered Marketing in B2B Strategies

By now we’re all likely aware that customer experience is the new frontier in business success. But as companies shift focus, the customer ask has been elevated. Superb customer experience may no longer be sufficient to stay competitive. 

When making purchasing decisions, 50% of people are making choices based on their beliefs. That’s why Mark said that in addition to the “Four Ps” of marketing—Product, Promotion, Price, and Place—there’s another P that must be considered: Purpose.

To frame his thinking on how to be more human in interacting with customers, Mark created the following Manifesto for Human-Centered Marketing, which was designed by Paris Woodhull.

Adopting the tenants of this manifesto will not necessarily be an easy task. However, to stay relevant, businesses need to change how they operate. Marketing must now help people belong and believe in a higher purpose. That’s what the marketing rebellion is all about. 

“Meaning is the new money. Meaning is the new marketing,” Mark said. 

To learn more about the third rebellion and how to make your marketing more human-centered, grab a copy of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins

And for more tips on marketing trends and great reads, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Blog.