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Why Marketers Are Finally Realizing It’s Not About Them

February 6th, 2020 Mark Bornstein

Looking back over the past year, I have traveled over a hundred thousand miles to speak at marketing conferences and present at seminars and workshops around the globe. From New York to London to Sydney to Singapore, I have had the pleasure of sharing stories with marketers from every industry, in a variety of roles. And if there is one major take-away from all of the amazing conversations I have had, it’s that marketers are realizing that what we call marketing today needs to change — dramatically.

This post was originally published on Shared with the author’s permission.

The shared frustrations were universal. The Director of Demand Generation in Boston who complained that she felt her job had turned from marketer to professional spammer. The content marketer in Chicago who was tired of creating the same old white papers and infographics that very few people would ever read. Or the VP of Marketing for a financial firm in London, living in a GDPR reality, who couldn’t figure out how to get his audience to opt-in to his marketing. “How do I get people to WANT to experience my marketing”, he exclaimed with resignation. He looked so sad, I wanted to give him a hug…then I remembered I was in London and they don’t go for that California touchy-feely stuff. So, no hug.

I think the answer to this last question however, is actually in the question itself. And the key word is experience. It is clear that audience expectations are changing. How they want to experience content has changed, how they expect to experience our brands has changed and their time and attention is a commodity that they are not going to give away easily. But experiences are exactly what they want. Authentic, human experiences.

This sea change in attitude was never more apparent, then in the webinar marketing workshops that I have been teaching throughout the year. Three years ago, the primary topic that marketers wanted help with was simply generating leads. I was always inundated with questions about driving webinar registration and attendance. Getting the name seemed to matter more than the experience they were delivering to that name. This year, everything changed. In every city, people were much more interested in learning how to deliver a better audience experience, how to engage them more effectively and how to interact with them in a way that would resonate. The focus of the questions finally shifted from the needs of the marketer to the needs of the audience. And it’s this mindset, that I think will save marketing from itself in 2020 and beyond.