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Marketing Today is Personal

David Sherry
4 min read

20 years of shouting answers and everyone is finally sick and tired of being told what to do and "how to" do it.

The next decade is for brands that draw you in.

No more "Content Marketing."

No more telling customers and community the answers, giving them the templates, tell them the technique they've missed...

But the thing is, we're just not listening anymore.

We put in the effort to enact a strategy; funnels, social, webinars...

But without truly understanding why this strategy is needed and how to uniquely adapt it to the world we're playing in, we realize this simply won't work in the long run, if at all.

See the thing people are missing is not a method or a hack or a trick.

They're missing the context, the desire, and the genuine understanding of the nuance.

But just HOW do you sell nuance?

You Don't!

Brands today need to be gardens.

You lay the bed, get the conditions right, make sure the soil is perfect for the right type of people to choose to come by and grow with you.

Like the Apple store, which is now becoming a community learning ground and hot spot.

"Need some help? Come to us, we'll talk you through it in person."

"Interested in photography? We've got a whole group of people heading out at 4pm to walk around the city taking photos. "

This is tough because you have to be about it, rather than talking about it.

And so watch for a push towards groups...

Group courses. Group Cohorts. Group learning modules etc...

And this is a step up but...

But it's still missing the point here!

Many will blindly copy.

They don't see that individuals learn by giving information mixed with inspiration and support;  people will come to their own conclusions.

Come to their own conclusions? What a concept!

That's right. I have no hill to die on. I am not intending to convince anyone of something. What I am trying to do is turn on a light and say here is some information that might cast opportunity on a new pathway you didn't think possible.

Here is something you may not have is a place to talk about why you're stuck, not about what the answer is.

Because true changes go to the very core of who we are.

Brands have to go deep. That will be difficult, so watch for many misfires here.

The word of 2019 for brands is Personal.

And by personal I mean HUMAN.

Understanding Humans!

Some that see this "strategy" and copy it rather than understanding it; Many brands will attempt it vulnerability (except they look needy), or feign wise insights and answers into life's greatest problems. This won't work. People are astute and have better BS meters than ever.

We're in a splintered society. People are digging deeper into their own holes. Yet the media, the politicians are still trying to convince people to come back to the other side. That they are up on the hill with all of the wisdom, and if only these people would just understand...

This approach is ridiculous on all fronts. Because no one convinces anyone of anything. They convince themselves, and then they reinforce their decision, with confirmation bias which has been amplified 10x thanks to Facebook's filter bubbles and the choose-your-own-adventure media.

And an obvious question to ask here would be how, in a time with so much information, do people agree less on the facts than ever before?

No person fits perfectly with the monolith.

Which is why answers don't work, but opportunities do...

We've evolved into ever more niches. We all have our own unique narrative of our life, shaped by the culture around us to fit our preferences.

So why does this matter for you?

Well if you're "trying" to do content marketing you've already lost, and if you replicate the next wave of success without understanding it, you will only get small traction and miss the big opportunities.

Does your work speak to people's heart?

Does it invite them to participate? Does it pair people up and let them discuss?

Or are you trying to tell them from the mountain just how they should be operating?

Next, are your actions reflecting your words?

We love Patagonia because they take a stand, we can tell they've got their own compass.

Do you have a compass?

And don't expect people to love everything you do. We find entities to align with because we know that the information they provide a help to our cause, either because it's inspirational, or it helps us work through our own complexities. But that doesn't mean we buy in 100%.

So don't be afraid to offend people and don't be afraid to have flaws.

Quality is a metric, a metric of just how much I need to filter through to get the good stuff.

What's your "hit" rate for quality?

Not for everyone, for someone.

Do you deliver? And how frequently?

And I'll break the wall here. This is what I'm thinking about right now, as I'm writing to you. Can I deliver 9 times out of 10 in what I write?

Can I, in 12 phone calls, cure people's problems so entirely that they are ready to move on? That's right, I straight up tell people If I don't make such a major impact and change for the better in your life, then stop!

My goal is to have you book fewer calls, not more. Because that means we're making PROGRESS!

And if you don't have the hit rate you want now, that's OK. So you put out a stiff album. You put out a book that doesn't evoke deep feelings with even just a small group of people. You're forgiven. It's OK.

Just learn and keep putting out work until you find something that people react to.

You're waiting for even just that one email that says that someone was changed by what you made. Keep making until this happens and then replicate THAT.

Marketing today is replicating impact, at scale while building infrastructure to support your community. You feed it with the necessary sun and rain and let it grow.

Ask, can I set an example here, instead of teaching?

Can I invite discussion instead of giving answers?

Can I provide information which inspires, draws people in and changes the way we think?

And so the latest chatter in my slack groups is that people are left just wondering how to actually engage with people instead of interrupting them more... not only that, the creatives themselves are feeling removed from their fans!

They don't even know their own people!

So the future is more personal, not less.

It's more focused on quality and impact over quantity. It's about making the difference...removing problems, instead of adding more stuff to try and memorize.

If you want to build a community that receives what you create with gratitude...

If you want to build a community that feels honored to be welcome, instead of feeling yelled and ignored...

xx David