According to Ad Age, the third most popular campaign of the 20th century was The Marlboro Man. I'm sure you can remember the man that pioneered the west in his cowboy hat and mysterious grin. According to the Center for Disease Control, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, responsible for 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, roughly killing 1 in 5 Americans annually and 6 million lives a year worldwide. So yeah, it's fair to say that some of the best marketing of the 20th century is responsible for killing 1 in 5 Americans.

Millennials Don't Trust Marketers
With these facts in mind, is it any wonder that Millennials don't trust marketers? In speaking with Amanda Holmes, CEO of Chet Holmes International, about her upcoming Fireside Chats, she knocked me over with these indisputable facts. I'm not a sensationalist, nor did I want to believe this bold claim. I have dedicated my more than 22 year career to advancing the impact of (digital) marketing and perfecting the art of influence and behavior change. I had to stop for a minute and ask myself if I was a contributor to this. Thankfully, I've never participated in marketing tobacco, but asking myself this question led me to some serious soul searching about the law of unintended consequences when it comes to marketing. Powerful marketing can be used for good or ill and today's marketers are discovering that they need to give substantially more than ever before just to build the trust consumers demand before asking for the sale.

Distrust Showing Up in Business to Business (B2B) Marketing Also
"Today we live in an era of extreme distrust" says Amanda Holmes. "The public has been abused and manipulated too many times. Is it a wonder cynicism is rampant?" And she points out that this isn't just among consumers.

"B2B buyers are just as hostile towards your marketing efforts", Amanda Holmes explains. "Five years ago, 75% of B2B buyers were put off by your sales messages. Today, that number has climbed to 97%. Younger generations are growing up in a world where no authority can be trusted, from corporations to the heads of government. Reaching people today requires a different approach."

What Halted the Marlboro Man?
As an industry, we expect that marketers act with integrity and fully appreciate the power they wield, but that is not always the case. Nor do all marketers treat their audience with the respect they deserve. What marketing can not sustain, however, is manipulation; especially today. That's why the most brilliant solution to fighting tobacco was The Truth campaign. Funded primarily by the Big Tobacco companies through their court settlement with the federal government.

"The Truth campaign didn't manipulate, it educated," explains Amanda Holmes. "It is estimated that just between 2000-2002, The Truth Campaign saved Americans $1.9 Billion in medical costs. It's time to stop with a traditional approach to sales and marketing. It isn't reaching your hardened buyers."

Deep Dive Into Next Generation of Marketing & Sales
On April 7th, Amanda Holmes has assembled quite an impressive all-star cast of keynote speakers for a free all-day streaming video series called Fireside Chats, including Ryan Deiss (Digital Marketer), Chad Kerby (Infusionsoft), Keith Cunningham (Keys to the Vault), Ken Krogue (Inside Sales), Guruji Sri Sri Poonamji (DBI), Clay Collins (LeadPages), Brendon Burchard (best selling author), Tom Ziglar (Zig Ziglar) and of course Amanda Holmes (Chet Holmes International).

I've featured many of these keynote speakers in my previous columns and I'm really glad to see the all-start cast Amanda Holmes has gathered. Together they will undobutedly share multiple points of view on the future of marketing and sales. If you're ready to think different about how you approach your marketing and sales for your business, this is an excellent place to start.

Published on: Apr 4, 2016
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of