Bye Bye, Advertising Madmen. Hello, Marketing Nurturers.

by Jennifer Beever

Many of us are pretty enamored with the television series Madmen, with its portrayal of advertising industry “madmen” who worked at the agencies behind the scenes, smoking incessantly, fueling their creativity with gallons of alcohol, and relieving stress with illicit affairs. It’s so popular, fashion designers are incorporating elements of the show’s costumes into their current designs. The show even has a web site where you can create your own Madmen avatar. Yes, I couldn’t resist – see my Madmen avatar below, complete with martini in gloved hand.

Jen Beever's Madmen Avatar

The Author's Madmen Avatar

I think it’s interesting that this show became popular at the very time the traditional ad agency model is in decline. The process of creating and producing crafty subliminal ads that got our attention and “made us” buy in the 60s, 70s and 80s isn’t as relevant to today’s buyers who are suspicious of hidden messages, who value transparency, and who want to know and like the people in the company that is selling what they want or need.

Madmen Are Out

Today’s buyer wants to buy from people and companies whose stories they like and can relate to. They don’t want middle men and women crafting clever, catchy messages to try to lure our attention away from blogs, forums, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter where they’re connecting with and learning from thought leaders, colleagues, customer and friends. In addition, they can tell when the story being told is not true. They even like to read, see or hear from the company CEO or other company representatives via their blogs, video messages or podcasts.

Nurturers Are In

The disruptive technology of the Internet has led to a tremendous paradigm shift in how people buy. That means we have to change how we sell. People are inundated with ads and emails that are pushed on them. They now find it easier to search online – especially within their trusted networks – to find solutions, products and services.

The buyer’s preference is to access information when and how they want or need it. (See my previous post, How to Make Sure Your Drip Marketing Campaigns Are Not Water Torture.) They don’t want you to push information on them, but rather want to access it when they’re ready or have time.  The new marketers are not called “madmen” but “lead nurturers.” We fertilize the Internet with valuable content that will help our prospects learn about and become loyal to our products and services and grow into customers. We lead prospects down the buying path through attraction, watching for buy signals.

Buyers are smarter than they used to be, armed with more information, and in control. How will your company adapt to this change from push advertising to lead nurturing? Do you agree with my statement, “Madmen are out?” Please comment below.


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November 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm

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Maria Pergolino January 25, 2010 at 2:48 am

I think there will always be a place for “madmen”, especially in the B2C world. But for B2B marketers, lead nurturing is where it’s at.

I thought you might enjoy my post that explains the difference between closed loop and drip marketing campaigns – https://blog.marketo.com/blog/2009/07/the-difference-between-drip-marketing-and-closed-loop-marketing.html

Also, for those just getting started there is a workbook that you can download (without sharing your personal information like email or name) http://www.marketo.com/dg2-lead-nurturing

Jamei Favreau January 26, 2010 at 3:18 am

For the most part they are out. They have their place in a small number of households but not in the majority when you can block ads, use a DVR and get information from almost any source you want. Really it depends on how tech savy you are and who your crowd is. I still have an aunt who is NOT online and she is an attorney. Still Gen X and Gen Y are changing how things are done. You still need them just not at every corner.

Trish Weber Hall January 30, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Thanks Jennifer for these insightful articles. Hail to the nurturer’s!

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