Freddie Daniells has a good post
In the Spring issue of the Marketing Society’s Market Leader magazine, David Cowan of Forensics, a strategic growth consultancy writes:And I'm not going to get with it either. (Though David Cowan's reply to Freedie's post suggests we may be reading too much into his article).Marketing’s proximate mission must be to change customer behaviour – it is customer behaviour change that leads to top line growth. Changing customer behaviour is the link that connects the CEO and finance directors requirements with marketing.and later…Changing customer behaviour should be formally set as the header objective because it gives direction to the whole marketing enterprise.Sorry David, I just can’t get with this at all.
When I'm facilitating, I tend to remind people that in any relationship it's easier and saner to change yourself than to try to change the other.
For instance, coverage of blogs often focusses on their role in influencing audiences but tends to ignore how blog authors are changed themselves.
Freddie goes on to talk about co-creation, which seems a rather more organic and exciting idea than one that tends to see our fellow human beings as objects.
One reason why brands often miss the mark is that they are so concerned with influencing (manipulating?) customers that they stop paying attention to what customers are doing and what they want. That way they stop learning. Somehow the idea of being surprised by, and learning from customers, seems to get squashed somewhere.
I find that marketing departments struggle with their internal relationships, leading to a lot of waste and frustration. They end up in a kind of shadow world trying to "fix" customers and distracting from the meatier, and scarier, problems they face themselves.
See also Jennifer's comments on this at Brandshift.