I have been to more symposiums, association meetings, user groups, tradeshows, summits, etc than I can possibly recount in my career. For years I hung the name badges from each on the closet door knob in my office. Eventually they got so numerous that opening the closet became difficult so I let my kids have them for dress up.
A few weeks ago when I met Shawn Elledge at a local lunch event and he told me about the upcoming Integrated Marketing Summit he was organizing, I was skeptical but intrigued. The session list sounded informative, the speaker list impressive and the venue was a mere 20 minutes from my driveway so it was almost too convenient to miss. Plus you might have heard I write for this great B2B marketing blog and I am always on the hunt for fresh content…….plus my name badge knob collection could start anew so I signed up.
Thursday morning when the big event rolled around I doubted my decision. It was pouring rain. For someone who normally gets to work from the comforts of her home in yoga pants and a sweater the prospect of getting dressed up and commuting downtown in the rain seemed bleak. My mood was as gray and foggy as the KC skyline as I exited I-35. Thankfully parking at the Hyatt is covered so I arrived none the worst for the weather and set off to embrace the day.
The room was a buzz when I entered the general session room and found a seat. My table had an impressive group. To my right the Director of Online Audience Development for a local media company and to my left the VP of E-channel Marketing for one of the area’s largest banks. Further around the table the Media Relations manager for one of the area’s largest non-profits and Creative Director for a local marketing firm. I was impressed that right there at my table we had a great cross section of integrated marketing professionals. I think sometimes the perception is that you have to be young and live on a coast to be in the cutting edge of what is going on in marketing technology today and a quick glance of the room told me that being a 30-something Midwesterner wasn’t leaving me or any of my tablemates completely out of the mix.
After a nice welcome from Shawn and Elizabeth Usovicz the morning keynote kicked off. Jamie Turner, Director of Consumer Insight for BKV in Atlanta had the task of kicking off the day. Jamie is one of the brilliant minds at BKV behind The 60 Second Marketer. If you haven’t checked out this fantastic resource I highly suggest it. He explained their goal with creating the website was to break content they would have previously put into white papers into more digestible chunks for their end audience. As a writer of white papers I consistently struggle with keeping them fresh and entertaining so BKV’s approach has been food for much thought with me in the days since I heard his presentation.
The majority of Jamie’s keynote address talked about the pace in which marketing is changing has hit warp speed in the last 10 years. He asserted that advertising and marketing has changed more in the last 10 years than it had in the previous 100. As someone who obtained my marketing degree in the mid-1990’s when Yahoo was new and you had to go to the library on campus to get internet access to check your email account I would concur with his assertion! What he contends hasn’t changed is human behavior about buying. He asserted that humans have always bought items out of emotion and justified their purchase logically. I myself am an emotional (read: stress) shopper so I suppose I looked a bit like a bobblehead doll bouncing my head up and down in agreement during the presentation. To illustrate his point Jamie showed this very funny IKEA commercial for a lamp.
Now that I have had a few days to think about it I do think human behavior towards purchases has also changed quite a bit in the last several decades. The rise of available and easy to acquire consumer credit and the mantra of Gordon Gekko that “Greed is Good” has altered the consumer behavior landscape. I don’t doubt there weren’t some purchases that were being bought out of emotion and being justified logically in the first 70 of the last 100 years but the number of what used to be thought of as boring household staples such as laundry soap and peanut butter that are now having emotion thrust into their marketing has increased. The number of choices, I recently counted 12 different brands of peanut butter on the shelf at my local market. In my childhood the only differentiator in peanut butter was smooth vs crunchy which is decidedly more about texture preference than emotion. After the peanut safety scare buying peanut butter for my kids has become a more emotional experience but I would argue that is more about a change in the 24/7 new cycle than it is about the peanut butter itself.
What do you my fellow Savvy marketers think? Do you think humans have always purchased emotionally and justified logically or is this a change in consumer behavior in the last 3-4 decades?
Stay tuned in the next two weeks as I share more insights from my day at the Integrated Marketing Summit. I promise you will not be disappointed. In fact there were so many sessions I didn’t get to attend because they ran concurrently that I am already trying to logically justify the emotional purchase of attending the upcoming Dec 10th event in St Louis!