Tuesday, December 6, 2011

At Second Glance, It Really is Just About the People

“This LetsBlogOff theme is about taking a deeper second look at what appears to be an everyday common object or occurrence where something happens that makes you look at it in a different light. It could be an object, person or place. Or something entirely different.” – LetsBlogOff Team
Every day, they are there, but we fail to notice. Life thus passes us by like a movie montage, one where the pace of everything around us is moving infinitely fast yet we simply continue to plod along, absent-minded of what we are missing. As we endeavor toward greater productivity, forever chasing the completion of the never ending to do list, we lose sight of what it really is all about. All set to the soundtrack of some hyper-electronic techno beat.... cue the strobe lights.

In marketing, we research consumer purchasing and behavioral patterns, analyze demographical trends, and conduct environmental & stakeholder impact studies. With substantiative evidence, we race to execute our cleverly constructed marketing strategies. Sometimes, we succeed; other times, we miss the mark entirely. About face, and race back toward the drawing board. Clearly, we misinterpreted the DATA. 

WIth this manner of thinking, however, we will continue to fall short with far greater frequency. We may operate in a faceless marketplace characterized by virtual relationships and online engagement, but we mustn't forget that it is still a marketplace composed entirely of people. Very, very real people. They may play the role of salesman, associate, stakeholder, or prospective client, but that is and always will be superseded by their role as a person.

In marketing, in life, this understanding is paramount to success and to happiness. People are not DATA POINTS; they are PEOPLE

KIAPS. Keep it about People, Stupid.

Even when business becomes ruthless, remember that your adversary is just like you. He awakes in the morning to the shrill of an alarm clock. Struggles to tie that perfect knot... with a Wall Street dimple. He stresses over bills, his health, his visiting parents, the weather, his dog doing business on the neighbor's lawn, the next oil change, seeing an ex-girlfriend... and consequently calling her in midnight's hour of desperation. He has dreams but probably possesses more demons. He holds the door for ladies and helps the elderly cross the street, yet on more than one occasion he has let road rage elicit that one universally recognized hand gesture. More than anything, he just wants to be treated like a person. 

The examples, where this concept flourishes, are many, but the one that is so blatantly obvious is imbedded in the success of the coffee industry. From the overwhelming success of Starbucks to the hundreds of thousands of independently successful coffee shops around the country, I venture to say none arrived at their success without putting people first.
"At Starbucks, I've always said, 'we're not in the coffee business serving people; we're in the people business serving coffee'" - Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks Coffee
So, next time you're talking to a potential client, employee, or complete stranger, remember in your heart that he/she is not some means to an end rather a person just like you and I. Remember that whether you're in Marketing or not, the Golden Rule is still the best rule by which to live. 

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