We're all clueless. That's the best word I can use to describe the state of the art of marketing.
I'm at the supermarket yesterday. I run into my friend John, not someone I often see at the Food Emporium. John has a list. Standard grocery list, "here honey, please go out and get this..." But John wants to show me something on the list. It says,
1 woman's razor that matches our bathroom.
Wow. Gillette has been making razors for almost a hundred years, and you wonder how many hours and how much money they've spent trying to answer that want... probably .0001% of what they spend on blade technology.
Then, this morning, I head to the bank. Poor guy is arguing with the "customer service manager". The problem? He had $4 in his checking account as he was waiting to close it. The bank charged him a monthly $5 service fee. The fee bounced. Then they charged him $30 for bouncing the fee on an inactive account.
The manager was trying to explain the policy, but the bottom line is that all the real estate, all the ads, all the marble, all the computers... all wasted... because they were enraging the guy. Over $4.
And finally, leaving the bank, I saw the most amazing interaction (yes, this is true.) A woman is first in line. She's withdrawing $1,000 from her account. The teller pushes away from the desk and goes and gets her signature card (this is a neighborhood bank) to match it against the woman's signature on the withdrawal slip.
The customer tells me that:
1. the teller has been working there for twenty years.
2. the customer comes in at least once a week.
3. they always check her signature
and, ready for this...
4. she's been a customer at this bank for seventy years. I am not making this up. She is very proud that she's nearly (nearly!) their longest-serving customer. The account is more than seventy years old. And they check her signature.
Marketing is now officially about wants, not needs. That's what Liars is about and what your entire day should be about. Your church, your company, your restaurant, your blog. Doesn't matter. Give me what I want or I'm out of here.