Will Smith Feels Your Pain, Markets to It
First, Will Smith has to know what part of his audience's lives make them feel bad so he can figure out what product he can create to make them feel good, the showman demonstrated for the crowd during his Tuesday morning keynote at The Marketo Marketing Nation Summit in Las Vegas.
For instance, he knew marketers were sitting and listening to speeches all morning, so he decided he would get them up out of their chairs and "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It." While few members of the standing room-only crowd were dancing, Smith had succeeded at making them happy enough to nearly all have their smartphones out and recording him singing his old tune that he altered a bit at the end to "marketing nation in the building."
While Smith knew how to remain relevant to the crowd that may have been the singer and actor's fans throughout his 30-year-long career, he said he has to work harder now to understand Millennials. It helps to have children, he told his interviewer during the keynote, Marketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia.
Smith told Dholakia that in order to understand how he can create a relatable emotion to sell a product, he has to be where the action is. In the old days, when his singing career had tanked, he used to hang out at "The Arsenio Hall Show." That's where he met the person on whom his first television show was based, Smith says.
Now, connecting with that relatable human emotion involves donning a wig and standing in the crowd at Coachella with his children, he says. He has to feel that emotion in order to understand what product he can create that consumers will want, he says.
"It's really hard to think your way to connection," Smith says.
Plus, marketers have to be authentic all of the time, because consumers know the truth immediately, the two agreed.
Smith said for instance, his 23-year-old son's girlfriend asked for an exclusive relationship and Smith's son told her they were young and should keep their options open. Smith said that was a more mature answer than he would've given, because he would've agreed to a committed relationship and then cheated.
"Dude," Smith's son said to him, "cheating is over."
Smith says young men in relationships and marketers alike are being forced into authenticity. Marketers can't hide a bad product, because consumers will tweet about it within 10 seconds, he says.
"The truth pervades," Dholakia agrees.
What do you think, marketers?
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