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One blustery Saturday morning last month our entire neighbourhood woke to a marketing blitz. Every single home in every street had been targeted. The instructions to the leaflet dropper had been clear. Don’t post the flyer in the letterbox (where people won’t be looking for mail at the weekend). Place each one on the doorstep or somewhere obvious right outside the door, so when the occupant wakes up hungry at the weekend our breakfast pizzas are top of mind.
The result was a flurry of pink (because pink will stand out) marketing spam, literally flying around the neighbourhood. Hours of resources—time, money, energy and trees wasted in an attempt to reach everyone.
We’d never dream of engaging someone in conversation without trying to understand their worldview. That’s why small talk exists, not to fill awkward silences, but so we can find common ground. And so it goes for marketing. It’s a two-way exchange, an alignment of value and values, of needs, understood and met—or at least at its best it should be.
Image by Kerry Lannert.