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Can Marketeers Really Solve What People Want?



Philip Jackson, senior strategy director at 180 Amsterdam explores the power of a fresh perspective to truly dig into consumer’s needs and expectations

Can Marketeers Really Solve What People Want?

People aren’t really clear what they want anymore when it comes to the brands they connect with and the products they buy.

So, marketeers don’t know what to do or say.

In fact, we’ve reached something of an impasse.

People tell us they will make better choices.

And then keep buying the things they love or are highly convenient. Stop to consider your laundry detergent. It’s great that the fishes love it, but if your clothes don’t come out clean, you’d be the first to stop buying it.

So, there’s a lot of pressure on marketeers to help make the world, our environment, our day, goddammit, even the ‘moment’ better.

Then all of the above needs to be delivered for good value, easily found and easily remembered. Don’t get me wrong, if the consumer is paying, then in theory they’re the boss. But giving them everything their own way has made this relationship pretty unreasonable and untenable.

So, what do we do? Isn’t it time for a fresh perspective?

Let’s get honest

Obviously, the answer for us is ‘yes’, otherwise we wouldn’t be writing this, and you wouldn’t be reading.

But here’s the rub. We think it’s time to get much more honest. In a world where you’re told you can ‘have it all’ and everything will just keep improving, we have to recognise when we’re ultimately lying to ourselves.

Of course, healthier foods can be made to be absolutely delicious but they will never be full-on indulgence. We can recycle once, but then we have to talk about what happens after that, and how circularity is actually the real answer.

Whose responsibility is it?

Most people agree that manufacturers have a responsibility to pick up much of the slack, but consumers can’t shirk their part in this contract. Otherwise, why should manufacturers continue to work hard to offer new, better and cleaner solutions?

Things can only be improved so far, before it simply can’t be made any better.

And let’s face it, consumers and marketeers have become strangely stuck in a make-believe world, where we both expect and promise more and more to each other like love-crazed teenagers.

So, what really matters?

Of course, our aim is to make your brand and business fly, but properly understanding those consumer truths, means you need to understand your ambitions and limitations.

It takes an understanding of what consumers really want and need versus promising them the moon on a stick. Then solving that tension means getting your hands dirty with, and alongside, real people.

And finally, getting to that catchy, inspiring and ‘simple’ answer, doesn’t mean that the problems, the input and the work are likewise ‘simple’.

Getting some perspective

So, if we say that the old perspective is that ‘everything is possible and everything is great!’

Then the fresh perspective is that ‘with optimism and application, we can keep working to solve almost anything’.

After all, people want us to understand what really drives them, and work with them to fulfil that need in the most interesting and useful way.

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180 Amsterdam, Wed, 16 Nov 2022 15:11:59 GMT