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Part IV

I’ve never climbed a mountain… well, not a tall one anyways. My altitudinal claim to fame is my climb/walk up the Grouse Grind (2,800-foot gain) just outside of Vancouver, BC. According to “averages”, it should take a reasonably fit person about an hour and a half to get up the Grind; while novice climbers are recommended to allocate two hours to their climb. It’s been a while, but I’m somehow certain it took me nearly four hours and I did not even hesitate to enjoy the gondola ride back down Grouse Mountain!

On May 29th, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary achieved his dream of getting to the summit of Mount Everest (the world’s highest mountain). Twenty-nine years before this achievement, George Leigh Mallory set out to reach the peak of the ominous mountain. According to reports, he made it to the peak but, sadly, never back down the mountain. His frozen body was found approximately 2,000 feet below the summit where Mr. Mallory fell and never got back up. If the account is correct, George Mallory was the first to reach the peak of Everest, not Sir Hillary. When asked about who reached the peak first, Sir Edmund Hillary infamously said:


“If you climb a mountain for the first time and die on the descent, is it really a complete first ascent of the mountain? I’m rather inclined to think, personally, that maybe it’s quite important, the getting down. And the complete climb of a mountain is reaching the summit and getting safely to the bottom again.”


I bring this up because of the topic of my previous few posts on getting to the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; and more specifically, why any of it is important to business. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir when I say: Businesses can learn a lot from psychology, sociology, biology and nature.

The fact of the matter is that Sir Edmund Hillary makes an excellent point: a complete climb is not only about getting to the summit, but also about getting back to the bottom safely. A climb is never just a climb. Every step, every level, every plateau is just a place to learn and remember so that you can come back down the mountain – and ideally, go back up, or maybe even change course. Even if every mountain is different – even if every journey changes, each step is an important one and is more than likely going to be repeated at some point in the journey.

With that in mind, our consumers – even if subliminally – are well aware that each decision they make is one along the way to wherever they are going, and is likely going to need to be repeated at some point. Anything from buying toothpaste to buying a car to buying an RSP (or a 401K depending on whether you live North or South of 49*) will likely require a revisit at some point as the purchase funnel repeats.

For marketers, brand managers and business owners, this means that we need to be more in tune with our consumers, and understand that single motivator campaigns are not enough to keep them coming back. As I mentioned in part II, couponing and discounting for example, focusing specifically on Maslow’s motivator of Safety, work. It works well and often has a high number of redemption. This proves that the Safety motivator, when addressed properly, gets someone in the door once. It doesn’t, however, guarantee repeat business, loyalty or ambassadorship.

What if instead of a pyramid – instead of a mountain demanding a clear ascent and descent, we could look at these motivators in a cycle? Or even – in an orbit?

Motivational orbit[1]

Judith A. Samuels, 2012

Your audience is a person; right? And, can we agree that without employees or consumers, it’s a pretty hard proposition to try to run a business. When I first began exploring what – in my opinion – will be the true marketing revolution, I discovered that it was in 1959 that Robert Keith from Pillsbury proposed that the consumer was indeed the centre of the business’s universe. Not the other way around!

Well, I propose that surrounding each individual are a number of elements – all exerting influence on our consumers; all influencing decisions; all at the same time; sometimes an element overshadows another, but at all times, all elements are present.

What do you think? Is your business or brand thinking about the full context of your audiences/stakeholders? If so, can you see the results of the impact? If not, what are you waiting for?

The true marketing revolution will elevate the role of the business from making money to satisfying consumer needs and desires to making genuine contributions in their communities (local, national and global).

[1] The motivational orbit is my own proposition and is in current evolution.