Ban the Dart Board

I sometimes imagine brands having this secret room with a giant dart board. The dart board has all the attributes research claims their target audience cares about. When it comes time for a new product or campaign they walk into this room and are given three darts.


McDonald's and its new McWrap (Great Article: McDonald's Has a Millenial Problem). McDonald's is apparently spending a fortune to launch the McWrap because they are doing poorly with millenials. Since millenials value choice (Dart 1) and customization (Dart 2) they developed the McWrap. So I went to McDonald's and ordered the Subway crushing McWrap. It seemed I had three flavor choices (from what I can remember they were: Sweet Chili something, Bacon something and Ranch something) and I could decide whether I wanted crispy (still makes me feel less guilty) or grilled chicken. My sweet chili crispy chicken wrap was good but not something I'd return to get why? Is it because I'm not a millenial and don't value this type of choice as much? No! It just wasn't anything special.

From our research I think millenials absolutely value choice but not for choice's sake. The appeal of choice is that I might discover something NEW (I'm the first of my friends to know about it) and this discovery is so compelling I have to share my experience. Finding something like that makes me cool and we can never have enough social currency. Telling my friends "I tried the McWrap and it wasn't bad," does not earn me social currency. I'd argue if it came with no options but was so unexpectedly good that I said, "No, seriously you have to try this and yes it is at McDonald's." That would work for millenials and probably the rest of us too.

The future of marketing

Marketing is the ART of telling authentic STORIES that get SHARED by an AUDIENCE. (Based heavily on the insights of Seth Godin) ART: Art is an intellectual ability, acquired by practice, of making an idea a reality.

STORIES: Rest and delight our souls by lifting our minds and emotions above the cares, confusions, strains, and frustrations of everyday life to a wider and clearer vision. Rhetorical stories should inspire us to action, achievement and solving the problem at hand.

SHARED: Sharing is a conversation. It is human nature to share. We must create things people are excited to share.

AUDIENCE: The community of people we love. Love begins with empathy. Big data is not empathy.

If you are looking for a new marketing firm find someone who:

  1. Loves the audience you want to reach.
  2. Knows how to tell a great story.
  3. Can clearly explain to you why people share.
  4. Has a clear process for creating great art that connects.