Dan Smolen, my comrade in arms and blogger at Sturdy Roots, sent me a provocative article about how marketers are leaving eco-dollars on the counter. I told Dan that this article tapped into what I perceive as a major shift in consumer purchasing behavior, which must be accompanied by a major shift in marketing.
The trend affirms a serious lack of consumer trust. I think people are, quite simply as "Mad As Hell." After a decade of government deception, capped off by a crushing economic disaster, the ONLY thing that can cure this skepticism is transparency and truth .. which means that -- as long as consumers still have a choice -- there must be real eco-commitment and genuine value in product. When you have major brands "repackaging" or offering up their "green version" of an old brand, it builds contagious suspicion (and well it should.) Meanwhile, this also puts corporate attempts at social media on dangerous ground. Old marketing practices would conclude that blogging and Facebook are just another way to tell their story, but in a different, friendly kinda way. Wrong. Consumers don't want to hear the corporate story at all. They've heard the corporate story and they're mad as hell. They'd rather talk to a friend or a person (and now they can... oh yes, they can). It gets worse. In this soup of cynicism every teeny tiny new misstatement (no matter how artfully couched) smells rotten and has Malthusian odor contamination.
Consumers have changed since things went south. The recession has taught folks to scoff and simply not buy. This is not marketing as usual, my friends. This is something new and nobody is quite sure what it means, so long have we been the Mad Men. But, surely, the New Marketing can experiment with the truth and a real voice.. and measure the results, of course.