The writer Harlan Ellison once commented, “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” I cannot offer much input today regarding hydrogen, but I can discuss stupidity with the help Capitol Hill’s favorite emetic virago, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the ranking member of House Financial Services Committee.
Prior, Rep. Waters introduced something in the House of Representatives called the “Wealth Gap Resolution,” with the goal of addressing what she saw as the widening wealth disparities in the United States. The resolution is designed to accomplish three things: to acknowledge that a wealth gap exists, to acknowledge that nonwhites have it worst when it comes to this situation, and to blame this problem on public policy, with a vague suggestion that legislative changes are required.
“President Barack Obama has already recognized inequality as the ‘defining challenge of our time,’” said Congresswoman Waters. “Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have acknowledged just how harmful inequality and the wealth gap are for many middle class families. The time is now to meet words with actions. We have a moral obligation to address this crisis with substantive solutions.”
A press statement issued by Rep. Waters’ office placed a heavy emphasis on the racial elements of this issue, especially in regard to homeownership.
“The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of Black household and 18 times that of Latino households,” the statement said. “Additionally, White households have $100,000 more in liquid retirement savings than both African-American and Latino households. Such disparity leaves communities of color with no conceivable path to ensure their families don’t fall victim to intergenerational poverty. To these populations, wealth is principally derived from homeownership, an idea often hailed as the quintessential American Dream. But after finding themselves on the receiving end of decades of predatory lending and other discriminatory practices, the 2008 financial crisis sent these families’ wealth – and their hopes of obtaining that American Dream – plummeting.”
The fact that the wealth gap has widened considerably since Barack Obama became president was curiously missing from Rep. Waters’ resolution – indeed, the idea that Black unemployment would be substantially higher during the years when an African American is in the White House is an inconvenient fact that rarely gets mentioned when the racial element gets included in this discussion.
But Rep. Waters, not unlike another prominent revisionist – Sen. Elizabeth Warren – is trying to rewrite recent history by putting the blame solely on the private sector. There is no mention of finagling with federal housing policy in the years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, which loosened underwriting and lending standards that resulted in toxic efforts to artificially pump up minority homeownership rates. Nor is there mention of how members of Congress benefited from extravagant lobbying by the government-sponsored enterprises, resulting in Capitol Hill consenting to the reckless policies that drove Fannie and Freddie into federal conservatorship and pushed the economy off a cliff.
Rep. Waters’ resolution is stupid at so many levels: it solves no problems, assigns blame where it doesn’t belong, absolves current leadership in the Executive and Legislative Branches of government of failing to create a successful economic environment for all Americans, and only continues the strident efforts by a shrill political corner of trying to divide people along financial and racial lines. Too bad we can’t stick this silly congresswoman in a hydrogen balloon and float her out of Washington.
About The Author
Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.
Business-to-Business thrives on the simple principle of buying and selling. In an article published in Social Media Today entitled, “Goal-Directed Decision Making Drives B2B Buying And Selling,” written by Tony Zambito, the author clearly states that the impact of digital and social technologies on the nature of buying and selling, however, cannot be understated. They have changed how businesses interact and engage in the acts of buying and selling.
One constant, research in the social sciences have proven, is the acts of buying and selling are by and large goal-directed activities and behaviors. These behaviors and activities are powerful influences on decision-making in the world of B2B buying and selling. So powerful, in fact, B2B decision makers often select strategies, short-term plans, and long-term plans based upon the personalized goals they may be striving for.
At the core of buyer persona development is the use of a goal-directed research and modeling methodology designed to move beyond just understanding the process of decision-making. It is intended to identify and illuminate goal-directed motivations and emotions, which reveal insights into why and how decisions are made. Personas, in general, originate from the concept of understanding goal-directed behaviors.
For business marketers, the goal-directed concept and methodology serves as a ready marker to distinguish authentic buyer personas from the glut of misinforming buyer profiling content masquerading as buyer personas. These buyer profiles basically emphasize the traditional process-based and product requirement-based views of buyers.
Business marketers and sellers continue to seek understanding on the why and how of decision-making. The game of guessing also continues as made evident by the various annual surveys showing 70% or more of content is found to be irrelevant by buyers. As mentioned, the impact of digital and social technologies has made this need more urgent. It has, in many ways, shown how fundamentally flawed the traditional approach of understanding buying behaviors entirely through the traditional staged buying process of Awareness-Consideration-Decision really is.
The current state of B2B marketing and sales is one of continued fixation on the process, funnel, or the new terminology of the same thing, journey. This approach, in the modern digital world, is very inadequate in helping organizations to understand the underlying goals driving the why and how of decision-making. Yet, the fixation continues as we try to “automate” these processes via sales automation and marketing automation.
To truly understand such processes and journeys, we must do so by understanding them through the context of goal-directed activities, behaviors, and choices. Otherwise, they offer none to very little revelation to goal-directed decision-making.
Understanding decision-making comes through attaining a deep understanding of the underlying goals, as well as, the goal-directed behaviors driving decisions. B2B buyers are making decisions within the context of both organizational and personal goals they may be striving to accomplish. These goals often can reside both on the conscious and subconscious level. They can also often go unarticulated directly by buyers.
Gaining a deep understanding of goals and goal-directed behaviors are what B2B marketers and sellers need to make the connection to understanding decisions. It helps to illuminate the path buyers are taking to accomplish goals and their relations to solutions under consideration. Most importantly, it takes the guesswork out of how to communicate with buyers. You do so by communicating and demonstrating how you and your organization help fulfill goals.
Despite the tremendous forces of change occurring in the digital era, fundamental buying and selling in B2B remains largely predicated on goal-directed activities and behaviors. These goal-directed activities and behaviors lead to outcomes. Primarily B2B decisions are outcomes based on, as well as, driven by profound and meaningful goals.
The path for B2B marketers and sellers to be successful today is one, which leads to understanding goal-directed decision-making. It is not the quick and easy path promised by erroneous profiling templates or online tools. It is a path where the emphasis and responsibility becomes one of helping businesses and people to fulfill their goals.
About The Author
Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.