Marketers Anonymous

by Brian Haven
@ 5:06 PM

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I was recently doing some research for work and I stumbled upon the 12 step programs, particularly that of Alcoholics Anonymous. As I read through the steps I started thinking about where marketing is today. Marketing has a problem, and perhaps the best first step is admitting it. So in the spirit of the AA 12 step program, here's a version for marketers.

  1. We admit that we are powerless over our customers — our traditional tactics of control and interruption simply no longer work — nor should they ever have.
  2. We accept that speaking with, not at, our customers is the only way to succeed going forward.
  3. Made a decision to open conversations with our customers so we can learn from each other.
  4. Will change the way we behave so we can appropriately respond to customers needs.
  5. Admitted to our customers the nature of our failed approach and promised them we will change our ways.
  6. Our leaders have accepted this approach and are advocates for conversations with our customers.
  7. We are prepared to make significant change within our marketing department and abandon failed tactics.
  8. We are committed to understanding our customers and learning about their needs.
  9. Will do our best to provide a venue for these conversations, and/or participate in third party venues if our customers prefer.
  10. We are committed to being transparent about our efforts going forward, even when we make mistakes.
  11. We will established processes for engaging in dialogue with our customers and studying those conversations to learn and grow our organization — for our benefit and for the benefit of our customers.
  12. Having had an awakening to this new way of communicating, we have become advocates for this approach and try diligently to incorporate it into all of our customer communications.

I'll refine this going forward, but I would imagine that a marketer who could answer affirmatively to all these questions would be in pretty good shape (or at least headed in the right direction). I guess that makes us consultants 'sponsors' now.

Note: All credit for the AA 12 Step program goes to A. A. World Services.


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