Babies: Little Drunk People or Expert Marketers?

Happy New Year, friends! To kick off the New Year, I want to share something personal with you, and how it has led to a revelation. I’ve become a mom later in life. As I write this, our baby is 16 months old. Before our precious Emma entered our lives, when I looked at babies, they just always seemed like little drunk people to me. Falling down, being incoherent. But now that I have my own child, I’ve learned that there is purpose in everything children do. She cries for example, not for the sake of crying, but to make us understand that her needs are not being met. She smiles and squeals with joy as she plays with the dogs, and makes new discoveries every hour it seems. At some point, she went from walking like a Weeble to lightening fast running, and just this morning, she climbed up on a chair for the first time. Every change has seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. Now, she flies across the kitchen in a split second, scooping up handfuls of dog food as she whizzes by the bowl. I run after her, telling her no, or trying to distract her. It’s great fun for me to chase her apparently.

What does all this have to do with marketing and advertising? Well, having lived with this amazing tiny human sponge these past 16 months, I’ve come to realize that we are all fantastic marketers from DAY ONE. Over time, some of us slowly lose that innate ability to promote as effectively as we once did. Let me explain. It basically comes down to 4 things:


When we were small, we knew innately that repetition achieved better results. Emma doesn’t just whimper once and wait quietly when she needs a diaper change. She cries consistently and loudly until she gets that clean diaper. She points and babbles insistently at what she wants until she gets it. At some point, all of us had the basics down pat. Over time though, some marketers start looking for shortcuts. They ‘test’ the audience with a tiny whimper, no one changes their diaper, and they move on. But repetition is as important now as when we were babies. Make sure you are heard.


If Emma is hungry, she’ll make eye contact, and put her hand to her mouth. If you don’t respond fast enough, she’ll flash you a beautiful smile. She understands the value of using different strategies on the same audience to eventually make her point clear and achieve the desired action. Sometimes, even though the audience is spot on, (aka you know that these are the prospects that are gonna make your business grow stronger), your marketing message becomes stale over time. Spice up the message with new creative, or complement it with digital or mobile. A virtual ‘smile’ if you will, to the fact that your audience is no longer one dimensional. Their information comes via a variety of devices from their favorite brand; in their physical inbox, their virtual inbox, and on their mobile device. Not just one of these platforms.


Emma has learned that grabbing my cell phone and running away with it will get more attention from me than grabbing a toy and running with it. She understands that some messages are better motivators than others. At the same time, she has a clear handle on her demographic. Is the thing that was important to your prospects yesterday still what’s important to them today? Don’t be afraid to change the message to accomplish your goals. Use split testing on your creative, and take advantage of ad reader studies. (Running away with your prospect’s cell phone, however, is a really bad idea :-)


At lunch with friends 3 months ago, (with much fanfare afterwards I might add), Emma spoke one of her first phrases. She said “Thank You.” (Kinda more like ‘Tank Ooo.’) She’s learned that speaking in the language of her audience will bring reward. This is a particularly good lesson for technology companies. Not all do this of course, but I’m amazed at how many lead with the detailed technological solution instead of simplifying the benefit for the buyer. Understanding your prospect’s language is paramount in effective marketing. Saying ‘Thank You’ is important too.

In an ever-changing world with shiny new, complex marketing and advertising options around every corner, I’m taking my biggest lesson from the tiniest person in my life. When you stick to the basics, you’ll achieve marketing success. (Or in the case of Emma, you’ll get those Goldfish crackers you’ve been pointing at for the last 10 minutes :-)