Success, like alcohol, can intoxicate our minds and habits and leave us limited in our capacity to react to the circumstances happening around us. Marketing has changed, but few organizations have reconsidered their approach and are forced to get comfortable “managing decline” instead of seeing explosive growth.

Instead, marketing should be about helping people do things they've never done before. It should be more about connecting the dots and filling in the gaps rather than manipulation and fear. While old school marketing still has its merits, it's not the only path brands, businesses, and causes have available to take.

Marketing has three fundamental dimensions:

  • Communication. What’s your message?

  • Outcome. What do you want someone else to do?

  • Channel. How will they find and interact with you?

Old school marketing is about a transaction. Can I get you to buy my product, sign up for my event, or take some measurable action that completes a transaction? Basically, it’s all about me and how you can help me get what I want.

There is nothing inherently wrong with that strategy. In fact, many brands, businesses, and causes have accomplished a lot with that type of posture and approach. But as Sam Cooke sang so many years ago, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” And, in fact, it already has.

Marketing isn’t about you.

The new world of marketing is about discovering ways to disrupt, engage, and empower people to do, create, and achieve more than they ever thought possible. It’s about understanding their dreams, passions, desires, hopes, and ambitions, and building a bridge that helps them do just that. It’s not about a one-time transaction focused on the brand, business, or cause but a relationship with a human being.

If your goal is to make money, old school marketing will yield your greatest return ... at least in the short-term future. It’s a “get in, get out” mentality that may make you look good on a spreadsheet but will erode any level of trust you might have with a client, buyer, or donor. Further, it will never spark a long-term relationship or a revolution.

Intoxicate or Empower?

If, however, your goal is to equip others to exercise choices, options, and preferences that reflect their style, approach, and the way they see the world around them, you’ll transcend the transaction and end up in a collaborative conversation that co-creates something new, different, unique, dynamic, and perhaps even compelling. You'll build a tribe of raving fans.

Stop trying to intoxicate people with how great you, your product, your organization, and your cause is. Start empowering people with a wealth of options and tools that help them shape a world of their dreams into their reality.

Free others from their perceived limitations, and you'll never be limited in your reach, impact, or capacity to create change.

Intoxication comes and goes. Empowerment changes the trajectory for people, causes, and organizations forever.

What is your desired approach to marketing? In other words, do you want transactions, or do you want to engage people?

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