10 Ways to Change the World’s Perception of Digital Marketing


I’m a marketer. You probably are too. I did some really unscientific research on LinkedIn, and it appears as though there are around a million of us on the planet. That means we represent about .0001 percent of the population.

If the conversations I have with non-marketers are barometers, the vast majority of the remaining seven billion people grossly misunderstand what I do for a living. They typically assume I’m really a sales guy but afraid to admit it (and start looking for an escape route), or instantly equate me with pop-up ads, spam email, junk mail, or telemarketing (and beg me to stop).

Given the chance, I’ll set the record straight by asking them a few questions that help to illustrate ways that the best marketing isn’t marketing at all. The difference: It’s engaging, purposeful and timely. It’s the opposite of pushing information to the masses—and all about guiding each individual along on their unique journey, helping them to achieve their goals and receive a premium experience each step of the way.

I open the conversation with questions like:

  1. When you’re traveling for business and need a ride, how do you request the car? How do you pay, and how do you get your receipt for your expense report?

  2. If you’re thinking of buying something like a new lawn mower, what are some of the ways you research to make sure you’re getting the best product at the best price? Do you ever seek the advice of friends on social? Do you trust their opinions?

  3. Are you a member of any loyalty programs? Do you find value in the rewards you receive for staying true to the brand? How do you stay abreast of your status?

  4. If you were having a problem with a product, would you rather contact technical support via the phone or a channel like social? Do you pay attention on social to what others are saying about the products you use?

  5. How do you feel when you contact a company that you’ve been loyal to for years--yet they don’t recognize who you are? Or the reverse: Are you more likely to do business with brands that recognize your history with them, understand how and when you like to interact, and honor those wishes?

  6. Have you ever added something to an online shopping cart, failed to complete the purchase, received a reminder email about the item, then completed the transaction?

  7. When you buy something in a store, do you find it’s easier to receive an electronic receipt via a mobile message?

  8. Did you ever purchase something—like a camera—and notice the next time you visit the vendor’s website, you see offers for complementary products like memory cards?

  9. Have you ever been near a restaurant and received a text message with a discount offer on their daily special?

  10. Do you own any devices—such as a fitness bracelet—that you’ve paired to an app? How does it enhance your use?

Give the questions a try the next time you find yourself having to defend marketing’s honor. But then again, each of us would have to reach 102,500 people to change the world’s perceptions one person at a time. Perhaps it would be more effective for all of us marketers to make every interaction engaging, purposeful and personalized?

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