Last week I talked about the marketer of the future, and how Phil Fernandez (CEO of Marketo) and Vincent Ircandia (SVP business operations of the Portland Trailblazers) see that as the person who unites the company, its technology, and its customer strategy.
It’s hard to argue with their assessment of the opportunity. But their talks also exposed the tension in marketing today: The customer journey is emotional. Working the tools of marketing is technical. How many marketers are suited to balance those correctly?
What Are Marketers Now? Batman?
It almost sounds like you are Batman! Tracking customers from six computer screens in the Bat Cave and calculating how to hit them with a batarang from two miles away at exactly the right time.
Awesome, right? Batman is awesome. Everyone wants to be Batman.
But Batman is not a good role model for marketers.
Batman does not connect emotionally with the criminals he’s tracking. Batman’s version of the customer journey does not end in them choosing to make a purchase. It ends with them getting ambushed, beaten to within an inch of their lives and left tied up, humiliated, for the police.
That’s no way to treat your customers.
More and more I wonder if the technology we’re looking at is turning us into Batman, hiding in the cave staring at the data, and not necessarily understanding the emotional connection customers want to make on the buyer’s journey.
You know who’s a good emotional marketing role model? Professor X. He’s got this big machine (Cerebro) that lets him read the minds of mutants all over the world and target them directly with messaging. He sends famous superheroes to go ask them to join the team. He has their buy in, emotional loyalty, and they’re more than happy to go risk their lives for him. (Yes, Robin will risk his life for Batman, but clearly that’s Stockholm syndrome.)
The catch: Professor X doesn’t help close hundreds of cases/sales a year. Professor X recruits a couple kids to attend his private boarding school for free. Revenue isn’t his thing. (Neither is accountability, but I digress.)
Professor X makes the emotional connection, but he doesn’t have the numbers. Batman has the numbers, but he’s a sociopath abusing his prospects and customers.
Which one are you? Is there another metaphor? Are you Wolverine, Bub? (Don’t be Wolverine to your customers! That would be bad.)
The idea behind marketing automation and all the rest of this martech is to provide tools to listen and react to customers at various levels of granularity. But I think there’s cognitive dissonance there. Are marketers supposed to succeed by playing the marketing tool better, or by knowing the customer better?
Because to really do both effectively, you might need to be some kind of superhero.