I was thinking about how marketing has got to be more than just a shouting match to see who gets our attention, when I walked into the Whole Foods Market.
Steps in, I heard what I figured had to either be a crying child or a rogue elephant stuck in a shopping cart. I had never heard anything quite like it. And there was no escaping it. So I went to investigate. I caught up with a probably two-year-old boy in a cart sobbing and screaming into his mother’s face, “I want it! I want it!”
The mom was trying to talk to him softly and reasonably. Whatever the ‘it’ was he wanted, he wasn’t getting it. But no problem, he wasn't giving up. He just turned it up.
At the check-out, the kid and his mom pulled into the line behind me. The little boy yelled "I want it, I want it!" and sobbed with such insane intensity I had to hold myself back from not laughing at him. Maybe I saw myself in him. Younger and not so younger. He was losing the sale, his last chance before exit. If only this kid was old enough to understand he had another option. For starts, what if he had some magic in those pipes.
A well-meaning woman tried cooing into his face “What is it, sweetie? Are you unhappy?” The kid lunged at her like a pit bull and she jumped back a good two feet. The mother matter-of-fact explained to me, "he's very strong willed. We just have to let him cry it out. What else can we do?”
I’m not saying those of us who market to others are cry-babies hoping customers will just wait for us to cry it out and then buy. I’m thinking underneath we’re all customers with basic needs and wants we want handled. Feed me, take care of me, love me, make me look good, and make it all easy.
But it's not so easy.
I read a report on brain health that said each of us is carrying around 2500 times more the amount of information, requests, and suggestions in our brains than our grandparents did.
All the easy spaces have been taken. There’s no room left in our brains for anything more than magic to get in. Not hocus pocus, but real human invisible qualities like humility, empathy for the people we want to serve, getting to the heart of what we truly stand for and then a promise to deliver it. Even over-deliver. To not just tell your story but understand yours doesn't matter if we don't also tell their story. And genuinely care about it. That's the disconnect where so many miss the mark.
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And thank you for reading.