The following conversation was overheard at the check-in table during a recent B2B marketing conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Zubat and Ximbast are visiting Scottsdale from another planet and speak with a Coneheads-type accent.

Nikki: Hi! Welcome to (name of conference redacted)! If you’ll just give me your names I’ll dig up your badges super quick so you won’t miss a second of the opening keynote.

Zubat: I am Zubat and this is Ximbast.

Nikki: Wow–your names are AMAZING! Where are you from?

Zubat: Oh, you have heard of it not likely.

Nikki: Ouch. That almost sounds like a burn! Try me!

Ximbast: We are hailing from…(panics–looks around at display booths for inspiration to make up a name)…SaaS…click…buzz…ly…Sasclikbuzly.

Nikki: (absentmindedly) Awesome, welcome guys!

Zubat: I am stunned by something and must ask about it a-s-a-p.

Nikki: Shoot.

Zubat: Um…(Nervously fingers the taser-gun holstered under his jacket).

Nikki: What’s on your mind?

Zubat: Oh. (relieved–let’s go of gun) Yes. In glancing at the event guide, there are 3,754 total words but the word customer appears zero times. There appears to be no information or education at your big meetings about customers.

Nikki: Well, of course there is! Marketing is all about the customer.

Ximbast: Then why no stage-talkers or microsessions about customers?

Nikki: (sounding like a waitress reciting specials at TGIFridays) This week we have some of the leading marketing experts here. Thought leaders who have written books, articles, white papers and blog posts on the latest marketing techniques. Companies that offer leading edge marketing products and services, featuring software as a service and algorithms. Combined, our speakers and session leaders have more than 2,500 years of marketing experience.

Ximbast: I repeat. Then why no stage-talkers or microsessions about customers?

Nikki: (anxiously looks around for more senior person to help her out.) Candace–can you just hop on over here for a sec? (back to Ximbast) You can’t have marketing without the customer. Customers are at the center of marketing.

Zubat: (feels bad for Nikki) Hear me greeter person. The last marketing conference  in our…area…was 100% featuring customers. What they do. How the act. What they want. What they dislike. What they intensely dislike. There were hundreds of live customers walking amongst us, talking and informing us about their points of pain.

Candace: (walks up, listens, asks skeptically) So the entire marketing conference was nothing but customers?

Ximbast: Not exactly. There were also smarties who instructed us on how to talk to customers, what questions to ask, how to listen to the answers in order to gain much insight.

Candace: So when did the vendors speak?

Zubat: What is this vendor?

Candace: Vendor. Sponsor. You know. Software, automation, content marketing, creative services.

Zubat: Why do we want to hear them? Are they not simply trying to sell us their wares?

Candace: Uhh…

Ximbast: Our conference then had many learnings about using the new customer insights to make things that customers really want to buy. Because it solves a point of pain that they have in the real universe. And makes some part of their job less hard.

Zubat: We are taught that when you make things customers really want to buy, the part called marketing is much easier. The software, automation, content and creativity seem to be much more effective when it focuses on a winning product.

Ximbast: Our conference slogan was “To generate demand you must first learn what the customer demands.”

(At this point, Candace and Nikki, feeling totally overmatched, demotivated or both, look past Zubat and Ximbast and manage to chirp in unison) OK, who’s next? What’s your name please?

Zubat: (says to Ximbast, referring to Candace and Nikki) Are we not theircustomers?

Ximbast: Yes, but judging from their dispositions, no one has told them yet. I think we are missing the keynote. It is by the CEO of a company that makes a content marketing automation buzz generation device.

Zubat: Cool. I wonder if he has sold anything yet to the people in the audience.

(Ximbast and Zubat fist bump and go into the keynote.)

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