While many Americans probably felt removed from the conflicts in Kiev and Crimea, as a Russian-speaking, Ukrainian-born immigrant, it was hard for me to be indifferent. Kiev, after all, was home to my family until we bounced -- middle fingers up -- in 1989 as religious refugees.
Leaving, of course, didn't change that we were Ukrainian: my grandpa used to jog through Independence Square on the weekends and my parents vacationed in Crimea before I was even scheduled. Needless to say, watching the turmoil unfold on the news was tough for my family. Sometimes my mom would change the channel altogether -- she said she saw my face every time they showed a dead kid in makeshift riot gear.
Most people would agree that Vlad Putin, Russia’s president and grade-A cold sore of a human being, is largely to blame for the unrest. And in typical cold-sore fashion, he never asks for permission.
I think Mr. Putin really needs to think about the human condition. He needs to start thinking about what makes me and you and everyone we know tic. He needs to talk to a professional content marketer, because someone who creates content for a living is essentially being paid to think about people all day:
What they need?
What they want?
What moves them?
What are their triggers?
What are their pain points?
Content creators obsess over these questions, because they know that if they nail the answers people will respond with an email address (i.e., a permission slip) and down the funnel they'll go.
Take HubSpot, for example. Here's a company that basically pioneered content marketing and, after about seven years, amassed over 1.5 million blog followers.
Of course, all those followers voluntarily signed-up to get articles in their inbox. Masked men wielding Kalashnikovs certainly didn't occupy their G-mail accounts.
No no no, no, that's the Putin way. That's the way people definitely don't like.
People give HubSpot permission to send them marketing articles because there is something in it for them. Hubspot's content is valuable -- it helps people make money, which, in turn, makes them very, very happy.
Yes, I know I'm comparing global politics to online marketing. I know. But let's not forget that at the center of it all are people. And human psychology doesn't change: the more control people have over a situation, the better they feel, especially when it comes to marketing.
So don't be like Putin. Don't impose your agenda on people. Learn what your target consumer wants, earn her trust, and get permission to market to her. The rest will fall into place.