It’s Time To Break Some Eggs
|On a rainy Sunday afternoon last week, we turned on a YouTube fireplace and enjoyed the digital crackling fire here in Southern California (that’s how we do fires here). During a commercial break, I watched an ad for a dating app called Hinge. Their tagline: The dating app designed to be deleted. Bold. Our purpose as human beings is ultimately to play an essential part in the continuation of our species. At least from a historical perspective, humanity’s precarious proposition teeter-tottered between procreation and being sabertooth tiger food. That’s more so for insects today but, you get the point.
|It seems that oftentimes the perpetuation of existence is the driver of many institutions and companies — rather than solving the problem for which they were originally created. A worthwhile example can be found in the 1940s auto industry targeting the urban mass transit system for takeover and elimination simply because it was more efficient in reaching the auto industry’s goal: to move people cheaply and efficiently. The auto company’s ultimate goal wasn’t to solve the problem of transportation but to exist and survive. Back to Hinge. It takes a lot of guts to base your business model on being so successful as to render yourself irrelevant. It’s almost unnatural. It’s also something I’ve become more sensitive to over time. I was part of an initiative once upon a time when it became apparent that the group’s highest priority was to create a reason for itself to exist. The board meetings revolved around the continuity of the organization. To me, that felt odd. My participation was predicated on solving a problem and creating relevance and a reason to exist, not in reverse order.
|Unfortunately, lots of marketing systems, technologies, and agencies benefit from not solving your problems, but continuing them. Your accountant wouldn’t make much money if she could produce and file your taxes in 20 minutes with the push of a button. Phone manufacturers make money by selling new phones, not making phones that last forever. Hinge’s slogan is likely just great marketing. Yet, I believe that it should be a topic for CMO’s and senior marketing staff to consider every now and then; do we want to solve a problem, even if it might shrink department budgets, or do we really want to design, create, and implement a model that finds a solution to our problem? In this, there’s no wrong answer, but knowing the honest truth might help you make better decisions.