Thursday, May 8, 2008

Recognition Marketing - Missionary vs. Mercenary Marketing

The Difference Between Having True Believers vs. Hired Guns On Your Team

By David Miranda

mis·sion·ar·y [mish-uh-ner-ee] 1. a person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.

mer·ce·nar·y [mur-suh-ner-ee] 1. a person working or acting merely for money or other reward; venal.

There is an intangible that too often either gets neglected, overlooked, or assumed in marketing. It's called passion and it has a powerful influence on even the most cynical among us. Passion is the societal adrenaline that, for those that have it, do great things primarily for the sheer joy of it. For those that love what they do, the monetary compensation is gravy.

Such is the case with marketing. Think for a moment about brands or pursuits that have a passionate following - Apple, Starbucks, professional and collegiate sports, and hobbies (golf, fishing, collecting, leisure travel, etc.). These are things that customers (fans and enthusiasts) are passionate about and they spend their hard-earned dollars in pursuit of these passions.

Unfortunately in the marketing arena, an environment which should exude passion, real passion is a scarce commodity. Often companies (and/or their agencies) are dominated by mercenaries, i.e. people in it "acting merely or only for the rewards" rather than missionaries, i.e. people who are honestly passionate about the brand.

A company that cannot hire and retain passionate marketers or who thinks they can "outsource" passion to mercenaries will suffer the dire consequences. Great companies source, hire, and retain passionate marketers. They understand the power of this intangible.

Look within yourself and your organization. Where is the passion?

Find and nurture the missionaries. Identify and expel the mercenaries.

Be a passionate brand.