Summary: Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer
Summary: Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer

Summary: Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer

The rise of the marketing rebellion

Modern marketing consistently sees the trend in consumer resistance against the marketers. Take for example. People are developing algorithms (such as Adblock and pop-up blockers) to stop marketing messages from getting through. This in turn encourages the marketers to come up with even more sophisticated methods to deliver their messages across. The result is a war that never ends and no common ground in the end.


Meet the Human-Centered Marketing (HCM)

Human-centered marketing requires empathy because it puts customers experience at the center of all marketing and sales efforts. It begins with understanding customers perspective, desires, and motivations so the marketers are relating to them as humans and not objects they’re trying convert.

Under human-centered marketing, every marketing endeavor must touch at least one of the five innate human needs:

  1. Belong 
  2. Be Respected
  3. Be Loved
  4. Protect their self-interest
  5. Find meaning in their lives

A community is a byproduct of brands paying attention to people.


People want to find meaning in their lives.

If your brand shows integrity and consistency in standing up for what it believes in, your customers will not only stay loyal to you, they will also bring you more people with the same set of beliefs. 

Take Nike for example. In 2018, Nike ran a campaign featuring Kaepernick. Nike ran the numbers, knew there was going to be a backlash and that it had to take a stand anyway for what it believes in. In the following day of its controversial campaign, Nike valuation dropped whopping $4 billion. However, seven days after the initial loss, Nike ended up with $3 billion valuation more than where it started. 


Culture is driven from the top.

There’s no such thing as a grassroots organizational change. As an organization leader, the new human-cetnered marketing starts with you. So, be willing to roll up your sleeves, get out there and get your hands dirty. Once you’re committed to understanding the needs and concerns of your customers, it’s a matter of time everyone at your organization follows your steps.


Companies are judged so strongly along the lines of warmth and confidence.

‘Warmth’ and ‘confidence’ factors alone account for half of all purchase intents, brand loyalty and likelihood to recommend the brand. Take for example – Pepsi thought that the new generation were not searching for a new beverage, they were looking for a new place to belong. And so Pepsi designed their marketing messages to instill a sense of fun and warmth into the young consumers.


3 myths of customer loyalty

  1. Customer wants to have relationship with brand.
  2. Customer engagement builds relationship.
  3. The more interactions with the customer, the loyal the customers are.

The truths are:

  1. 77% of consumers don’t want a relationship. They want discounts.
  2. Customer engagement does not build relationship. Customers are already suffering from information overload.
  3. There’s no correlation between the number of interactions and the customer loyalty.


Marketing Myopia

Train companies used to think that they were in the railroad business until they were quickly overwhelmed by cars, trucks and the new highway system. Unfortunately, it’s too late. Most train companies were already irrelevant when finally learned to see beyond their vertical. Had they seen that they are in the transport business, they could have seized the opportunities that the automobiles presented.

This phenomenon is known as ‘marketing myopia’ – a nearsighted focus on selling products and services, rather than seeing the “big picture” of what consumers really want.


Anyone can generate customer buzz with some efforts.

  1. Customers delight is at its highest peak right when they bought it.
  2. Customers trust other customers’ product photos than the brand or retailer photos.
  3. Customers are more likely to engage a brand when it’s easy to find.

What does this mean for you?

  1. Encourage customers to share their delight at peak moment.
  2. Encourage customers to share brand photos. For instance, ask your new customers to film their first day with their new vehicles or their first impressions of their cosmetics.
  3. Meet where your consumerist are. Take for example – social media has made it effortless for brands to interact with their customers, without costing a dime.

3 Steps to Word-of-Mouth Marketing

  1. Through insight and research, establish the stories about your band that are authentic, interesting, relevant and repeatable.
  2. Connect those stories to audiences who will share your stories organically as opportunities arise.
  3. Build an environment for people to share in face-to-face settings.


4 Ways to Enable Peer Observation

  1. Use distinctive branding. A notable identity can help us distinguish what product is being used. (example – Apple earbuds, Guiness beer)
  2. Appeal to groups. Group discounts can win the group and reinforce the purchasing decision is accepted by friends.
  3. Expose normally invisible customer behaviors to peers. On websites, adding counts and statistics of how many people are buying increase both sales and the price the customer are willing to pay.
  4. Build peer observation into product launches.


3 Characteristics of Elevated Moments

  1. Turn up the volume on sensory appeal. Things that taste better, look better, sound better or feel better usually are better.
  2. Raise the stakes. Add an element of productive pressure, such as competition, game, performance, deadline or public commitment. We feel most comfortable when things are certain. But we feel most alive when they are not.
  3. Break the script and violate expectations about the experience. If they’re taking pictures, that must be special.


Build Psychological Ownership

  1. Enhance control by allowing customers to have a hand in designing and making the product. (example: a T-shirt company can have the customers design and vote for the best, then selects the best design and reward the winner).
  2. Encourage investment of self by making products customizable. (example: Coca-Cola let the soda fans create their names on Coca-Cola cans).
  3. Offer intimate knowledge of the product to make customers feel like insiders. (example: Star war fans are notorious for their psychological ownership of the film franchise they know intimately).


Social media isn’t a place people like to be marketed to.

“Social media is not a place people like to be marketed to. Brands should aim to organically join in the social sector with the human voice.” – Mark Schaefer

Sadly, this is not the reality today. Most businesses still hold an outdated focus on me-centric posts, random acts of content and misguided attempts to manufacture engagement. Eventually, businesses erase the social from social media, and conversations gave way to broadcasting content.