If you want polite and straightforward, go into accounting.
Marketing is for psychologists, sociologists, sales people and rude people.
Especially rude people.
Rude people are willing to say what they think.
They understand that the point is to sell. And that to sell you have to actually reach the customer. Not just create a pretty looking plan with color coded charts.
The psychologists, sociologists, and sales people are the partners to the rude people.
These "good cops" soften the blow after the consultant delivers the hit.
Snapshot #1 --
* Customer - "Nobody uses Twitter. I don't see the point."
* Bad cop - "I use Twitter all the time."
* Good cop - "I don't use Twitter either...but my (niece/nephew/sister-in-law) is an addict."
Did you think that there were statistics involved in this conversation? (More people use Facebook than Twitter...but Facebook is a lot scarier when it comes to figuring out how to use it well.)
Snapshot #2 --
* Customer - "Look - see? I took my own photo for the poster. Then I gave it to a designer. Now we don't have to work on it anymore."
* Bad cop (head in hands)- "Oh my G-d. Oh my G-d."
* Good cop - "Let's do a test run...see what others think and we can revise the concept going forward."
Snapshot #3 --
* Customer - "I have to reach (narrow segment of the population). What do you think?"
* Bad cop - "Let's do the research and find out, but from what I know they're frequently drunk. Need to reach them through the haze."
* Customer - "You know what, that could be true."
(In this one we don't need a good cop)
I once dealt with a customer - this is 100% true - who didn't like the marketing research, and therefore said that it was faulty.
They seriously didn't want to pay.
They said that what was found could not possibly be true.
They could not deal with reality.
I had a rude awakening myself the other day.
Someone pointed out to me that one of my Facebook friends wrote something like this (in a group setting), regarding my blog:
"I don't know what the heck she's talking about."
My Facebook friends are my friends from high school. They are not into marketing. They have normal lives.
We went to yeshiva together. Not MBA school.
They think I am weird.
My friend thought I would be offended at the comment.
But you know what? I appreciated their honesty. That's why they're my friends.
I'll take honest conversation over corporate communication any day of the week.
I'd rather do what works than have my ego left un-bruised.
Though we need good cops to soften the blow, marketing in the end is a rude conversation.
Where the reality of what people will pay for meets our fantasy of what we have to sell.