Marketers risk talking too much to ourselves. As demonstrated at Cannes, SXSW, and every other festival where marketers congregate, there’s a well-insulated marketing echo chamber.
Nowhere is this more prevalent today than in content marketing. The sheer glut of new content created every day is deafening, and much of this content is created on the topic of the content marketing industry itself.
What often gets ignored in the marketing echo chamber is the actual customer. We can get so enamored by the hype of the industry we work in that we can forget why we’re in this industry to begin with. If we’re not careful, we start to breathe our own exhaust.
In one of my first marketing jobs, our CMO told the marketing team bluntly that we had to get out of the marketing ivory tower. I was marketing yogurt, and was constantly neck-deep in Nielsen data, PowerPoint slides, and agency pitches. Our CMO asked me the last time I’d simply stood in the yogurt aisle of the supermarket and watched how people shop. I realized how much my vision had been clouded by marketing myopia. Our CMO urged us to to take time every week to step out of the echo chamber.
Years later, I interviewed for a marketing job at Apple, and the VP who interviewed me told me that he worked a 2-hour shift at his local Apple store every week so that he could talk to customers directly, without the marketing filter. The customers he waited on never knew he worked in marketing.
I think it would benefit all marketers to find the equivalent of standing in the yogurt aisle once a week. It takes a concerted effort to mute the sounds of the marketing echo chamber.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.