Modern marketing, the craft of getting ideas to spread, has split.
On one side are the roboticists. They test and measure and do what works. They do it with no interest in how people decide or what they believe or what story they tell themselves. Instead, they treat the human as an ant in an ant farm, a robot that does this or that. They're behaviorists.
On the other are those that seek to get to the heart of what makes us human. These marketers know that fear, shame, desire for gain and culture are the quartet that drive just about every decision. They know that Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand couldn't have been more wrong, and that truly understanding our narratives is the essence of doing work that matters, that connects, and that spreads.
There are ever more tools for folks who do the former, but the problem is that this is work that gets easier to automate and easier to hire for.
On the other hand, the ranks of people who understand, who understand well enough to lead, to decide and most of all, to see… there are never enough of these people doing the work that matters.
It takes patience and effort (but not focus groups) to develop this empathy. It's worth it.
[I've built a new course around this idea. Look for the details tomorrow.]