Truth and consequences

There's a huge chasm in most markets: People who want to be isolated from the consequences of their actions, and those that are focused (sometimes too much) on those consequences.

For years, Paula Dean sold cooking shows to an audience that refused to care about what would happen if they regularly ate what she cooked.

Rep. Anthony Weiner wasn't open to buying warnings about what would happen to his photos and tweets.

At the same time, there's the audience of new moms that are overeager to baby-proof their home (just in case), the conscientious recycler who doesn't want to know about the actual costs of picking up that bin out front, and the passionate teacher who sacrifices every day so his students can thrive a decade from now.

If you are selling tomorrow, be very careful not to pitch people who are only interested in buying things that are about today. It's virtually impossible to sell financial planning or safety or the long-term impacts of the environment to a consumer or a voter who is relentlessly focused on what might be fun right now.

Before a marketer or organization can sell something that works in the future, she must sell the market on the very notion that the future matters. The cultural schism is deep, and it's not clear that simple marketing techniques are going to do much to change it.