Social Media Principle 1. People Not Consumers

“Marketing told us to see people as consumers; now we need to start seeing them as people 1st and consumers only 2nd, 3rd or 4th.For the last half century, Marketing has presented itself as a force for good in business: it alone amongst business disciplines puts the people who buy things at the heart of the company that makes the things they buy – “orienting all of the corporation’s activities around satisfying the needs, wants and desires of the consumer” (as one pioneer put it).AHowever, the reality has turned to be rather less people-friendly: marketers and their agencies have come to view the economic aspects of the people-who-buy-your-stuff as being more interesting and important than the other (more interesting) things about them. Indeed, “consumer-” or “customer-orientation” has turned out to be just another excuse to advance the company’s agenda at the expense of that of the-people-who-buy (think for example what a lopsided concept “consumer loyalty” is – them being loyal to the brand, foreswearing all others etc, rather than us making a real commitment to them)AAnd over time, we have come to see the-people-who-buy-your-stuff as people-whose-only-real-interest-is-in-buying-your-stuff.

The Social Revolution is making this look really silly and embarrassing – not to say, unhelpful: it turns out from the way that people are adopting and using the new technologies that people-who-buy-stuff are actually really interested in other people, talking to & with them; doing stuff together; sharing passions and interesting stuff they find; helping each other and all kinds of other regular human stuff that doesn’t obviously have anything to do with the brands and marketing we thought was important to them (because they are to us).And they trust each other much more than they trust us – even people they’ve never met and never will – they trust more than they trust us.So we’ve got to get human. Human scale. Human-sensed. Human-interested. Human-kind. Helping the people-who-buy-stuff do what they do best – interact with other humans, for example.