Saturday, February 14, 2009

Marketing and Passion

Yesterday a co-worker asked me how I became so passionate about marketing. The answer to the "How" question was rather boring: 4 years in undergrad, 2 masters programs, 5 years in corporate marketing with brands like Home Depot, Rubbermaid and Georgia-Pacific...

But the interesting answer is to the question he didn't ask: "Why am I so passionate about marketing?" Here is my answer to the unasked question:

- Because I love the psychology of buying; answering "Why do we purchase the things we do?" and "What makes this non-necessity item more desirable than another?"

- Because the symbols of the products and services we buy become more important than the Prod/Svcs themselves.

- Because "Consuming" is today's Socio-political Religion. Like the Ancient Greek, who identified a fellow worshipper of Athena by the image of an owl or an olive branch, today's Versace-wearer or Porsche-driver can quickly identify others of similar lifestyle and belief system.

- Because we are living in the era of the shift from Professional Advertising to Authentic Promoting. This excites me to no end. I have blogged before that consumers are no longer waiting around for Madison Avenue to identify the next must-have product, as they did four decades ago. Today, we each turn to our peers, to other people that we know and like--that we identify with--to gather opinions on the products that we choose to purchase.

Seth Godin said yesterday: "It's quite possible that the era of the professional reviewer is over. No longer can a single individual (except maybe Oprah) make a movie, a restaurant or a book into a hit or a dud. Not only can an influential blogger sell thousands of books, she can spread an idea that reaches others, influencing not just the reader, but the people who read that person's blog or tweets."

No Bastilles are being stormed and no shots will be fired, but there is a revolution occuring in the way and reason that we purchase and consume. Rather we are informed or not, rather we are proactive or not, we will all be a part of this. That is exciting. For me, that is something I can get passionate about.


TOPolk said...

I like this post, but I want to pose a question to you...

Are you passionate about marketing or just passionate about the marketing of things you're interested in. From your post I would assume the former, but you can never be too sure.

Shawn Butler said...

T.O.- that is a great question for this reason... I worked in sales for 2 years before moving into formal Corporate Marketing and I hated it!

I know that it is completely the psychological side of marketing that I get excited about, not the act of buying or selling things. I don't love the products. I love the creation of the idea and the way that it spreads.

Let me know if that makes sense to you and if idea marketing is something you're interested in, I can offer some direction that even involves a little experiment I'm working on.

TOPolk said...

You're a better man than I am. I gave sales a whirl and it just didn't vibe with me. I had a hard time convincing people into buying things that didn't necessarily have a need for.

It's completely understandable to get excited about the psychological side of marketing. That part is fun -- the corporate side, if its for a product you're not gung-ho about, can be lacking.

In regards to your idea, what are you thinking? I'm open to everything, partly because I dig new things, partly because I've got tooooons of free time on my hands.

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