A boy found a girl – the girl liked the boy. They flirted for a while, and very soon, things got serious. What happens next?

Depending upon when you were born, most likely you would have an obvious next step in your mind – Our parents would say, “Obviously, they got married, had kids, and lived (happily) ever after“.

Our Generation most likely opines “Obviously, they would date for a while, maybe live together for a few years, and then decide if they want to get married, if they still were together“.

Millennials / GenZ as they are called might have a different take, “Obviously, they would realize how silly they are, by getting serious. Either they break up or agree on being polyamorous!

As a marketer, this is, fortunately, or unfortunately, what’s happening to the Marketing world as well – Marketing, like most parents of GenZ, is going through a mid-life crisis. And what better way than to personify this crisis, and let both of them articulate their concerns.

Incidentally, a few years back, 14 years precisely, I had talked about the crisis-conversation between the advertiser and the marketer, when they broke up – From deciding to break up, looks like they got married. However, almost a decade later, they are now deciding to separate are now with the marriage counselor, trying to ‘talk it out’ (small technical difference – the advertiser got promoted to a marketer now, and they swapped gender with the consumer!).

A counseling session, brilliantly scripted by Mark Ritson and supported by excellent work done by the 3 characters (Video), dramatizes the argument between a husband and wife, where each of them rants from their worldviews. If you, like me, have ever been part of an end-of-series argument with your partner, either as a participant or a fireman, you would be able to relate to this conversation perfectly! While the screenplay was published almost 8 months back, the final improved version just came out a few weeks back.

Instead of lamenting about the new world order of Marketing, this 5-minute shot makes you reflect on the real issues we might be ignoring, just like the undertones in our nuptial relationship. “Marketer believes she knows everything about me and so she does not feel the need to genuinely understand me.” – relatable?

What if you were told that the most talked about issues during a marriage counseling session are also the two biggest concerns between the Marketer and consumer – Performance and Loyalty?

For someone who enjoys amorous innuendoes, there is a piece on the “Performance” homonyms with the Digital Effectiveness, that you would enjoy – on the “Performance” Issues of the Marketer, where they both fight about how one is focused on Short-term gratification and little emotion, while the other one is insecure about her performance. While they keep alluding to things that they learn online to try and using toys as well to keep each other happy, one thing that was there in the script, which got more subtle is I don’t want six different positions. Just the one traditional position.

I could never imagine that Kamasutra and Digital Marketing ever had any connection. Now they do!

“You could be loyal to a lot of different people” – Then there is a concern on Loyalty – a great articulation by the consumer on how he is a hyper-distracted polygamous person, but which, as is the consensus in the room, is ‘perfectly normal. If you have read How Brands Grow, you would notice that Byron Sharp alludes to this as Loyal Switchers in the new world view.

A brilliant piece for anyone who believes she is doing very well in marketing and is confused as to why the conversions aren’t just happening! 🙂 Probably,  the only consumers who are smiling are those inside the offices in California or Seattle!

For them, in fact, more specifically, the ending is most appropriate – and a much more pronounced critique on the so-called “new world” marketers! “Stop reading my emails

So what do Marketers do with this mid-life crisis, which is ironically caused not by the middle-aged people but the young people? According to Ritson, “They are far more susceptible to nonsensical thinking than older, more experienced marketers” which he nomenclates as ‘tactification’ and ‘communification’  – leading to the “circle of hell” –  the preoccupation of companies “in the grip of middle-aged marketing myopia” with digital communications at the expense of other media.

Solution – Small Brands. Big Picture – Marketers believe that brands are actually important. They’re not! The only way to understand brands properly is to realize that they play a tiny little role in consumers’ lives. The marketers who escape a midlife crisis will be those who keep an eye on the big picture because that new “cool” thing today won’t stay cool for long.

To summarize, what I have learnt is that there are basically two types of marketers – depending upon how you react to the question posed by both the consumer and marketer in unison, “Who the f*ck is Byron Sharp” – you are either “ya, seriously!” types or “thankfully I know!” types!

What type are you? 😉

Credits: PHD, Mark Ritson Other videos around this 1, 2

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