Your Customers Are Not Consumers

Kudos to Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed for starting to banish the word “consumer” from the marketing vocabulary. Molds, fungi, and bacteria are consumers. People buy your products and services.

In a talk at Cannes today, he discussed Unilever’s marketing transition from targeting to serving customers. He described it as moving from “marketing to consumers” to “marketing with people” to “marketing for people.”

That’s a terrific move because it recognizes the importance of social media on our marketing efforts. Further, that phrase tells the marketers and agencies working with Unilever what’s important: the centrality of the customer.

This concept also works in B2B marketing. Just because the check comes from a large corporation doesn’t mean the decision makers aren’t people. It certainly beats the alternative, treating the customer as a “kill” which I discussed last month.

Takeaway: Don’t dehumanize your customers by equating them with bacteria. Build your marketing with people at the core to win.

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