“I thought about what you said and it’s making me see my marketing in an entirely different light,” he said. The man talking to me shook my hand, thanked me and than melted into the crowd in the café adjoining the conference halls.
I was at the WAQ19 when this happened. Just half an hour earlier, with four hours sleep and my brain still living in a different timezone that’d told it the time was 8.00pm and it had to start winding down, I’d stood in front of a packed audience and spoke about “The End of Marketing.”
Now, marketing isn’t really going to end any more than SEO will, but it is changing and it is the changes and approach that I was highlighting, using material drawn directly from The Sniper Mind to highlight the need for us to do what is really hard for us to do. Namely, go against our natural tendency to find the path of least resistance, the one that will give us the most obvious, immediate benefits for the least effort and think differently.
Thinking differently is hard for obvious reasons. It takes us out of our comfort zone. It requires us to upgrade our skillset. And when the hard work is done it then requires us to act in a different way than we would normally be prepared to. This is why the remark of the person in the audience who’d heard me speak stayed with me.
Admitting to yourself that you need to do this takes personal insight and a hell of a lot of inner strength. Since finishing writing The Sniper Mind I’ve been in conferences where I have talked about all this. What is remarkable is that in all of them, from Sofia to Milan and now, Quebec, the conversation around me, the talks, the discussions the information sharing, paint a picture that closely mirrors what I am saying but from many different starting points and perspectives.
This is hugely encouraging. The world we want to change is actually changing. Not, somehow, magically, or in one sudden go. That is unrealistic and, should it ever happen, probably catastrophic. But the inexorable accumulation of data that shows us that past practices and approaches in marketing and communication, selling and consumer relationship-building, no longer works, we are moving towards things that are more real, more human, more sustainable.
True, our tech is changing fast. Our connectivity is changing even faster. Data density is everywhere. This makes the ability to connect, even through digital interfaces, in a real way that acknowledges the person behind the action and understands their intent, is critical to success.
Insights like this are priceless. Quebec has become a focal point of change in business practices and approaches in Canada through conferences like WAQ19.
Personal moments for me was meeting up with Marc-André who generously gave me some of his time (and knowledge of local spots) on what was, for him, a really busy day and catching up with Aleyda Solis who rocked a technical presentation in front of a non-technical audience got them all engaged. Gratitude to Jean-Francois Verville for being one of the people behind the scenes making all this happen. The event is annual, if you are living in Canada and get the chance to go to the next one I can recommend it in terms of value without any hesitation.