When people think of marketing and advertising, they often think of the world of Mad Men, where men in suits & ties sat around a table, figuring out how to push whatever was in front of them into the hands of consumers. Marketing back then was a one-way street: brands decided the product and the message, and consumers bought whatever resonated with them the most. Brands had to be personable, perfect, and sell you on a feeling of happiness you just couldn’t get from their competitors.
This notion of one-sided marketing occurs under the assumption that “consumers don’t know what they truly want” and it’s up to brands to determine what a consumer should want. This Mad Men-esque principle of heuristics has pervaded the advertising industry for decades, if not since the industry was born. Creating a campaign so influential that consumers subconsciously start worshipping the brand is a high that advertisers inevitably seem to chase—and on their quest to do so, they ignore one very small detail: actually listening to the consumers. This same assumption is probably why 99% of ads feel like noise: advertisers are too busy testing their psychological tricks they forget what exactly they are trying to accomplish. In other words, it’s like trying to go on a date with someone who only knows “hacks” from an “Alpha Male” guide they read and forgot they actually have to talk to you in order for them to get to know you.