image description

Every Marketing Problem is a People Problem

In the soon-to-be published THE PASSION CONVERSATION book, we try our best to help you unlearn your current marketing mindset by convincing you it’s more exciting to be in the people business rather than whatever business you think you’re in.
During my days as a marketing manager at Starbucks it was drilled into our psyche to not think of Starbucks as being in the coffee business. At every turn, senior Starbucks executives would remind us that Starbucks isn’t in the coffee business serving people but rather… Starbucks is in the people business serving coffee. Big difference. We explore this people-first mindset in THE PASSION CONVERSATION by reframing how all marketing problems are actually people problems in disguise. Companies face all sorts of marketing problems. If a business would reframe those issues as people problems, perspective and focus would change dramatically. Think about it. A company suffers from sluggish sales growth because not enough people are buying. A business experiences low retention rates because not enough people are buying repeatedly. A brand reeling from poorly conceived products and programs doesn’t have enough people interested. An organization dealing with low engagement hasn’t been able to make its cause relatable to enough people (by vicki dhead). A business hurting from unsatisfactory customer service must confront the problem of too many unhappy people. If every marketing problem is a people problem, then every marketing solution must be people-based. The reasons are obvious: People buy products and use services. People make an unknown brand known. People work together to turn causes into crusades. People form communities to talk and share. People fuel the engine of business. People have the mouths word of mouth refers to. Marketers wanting to spark and sustain conversations with customers must not lose sight that it’s all about people. TPC_Bug

  • Jeff Hora

    Nice refocus on who we are working to help….people. It seems so many marketing pros I talk with are focused on the message, the content, the brand, etc., which indeed is important, but doesn’t circle back effectively to people. Thanks, John.

  • John Moore

    Yep Jeff, circling back to PEOPLE is important. The way Starbucks used to make its corporate partners (employees) circle back to customers was through a radically simple organizational chart that at one time hung on the walls at HQ. The true school Starbucks culture believes there is only one organizational chart that truly matters to a customer-first business, and that one has every employee symbolically reporting to the real boss–the customer.