The global trust epidemic has become a pandemic. Historic lows are being reached in people’s distrust of government and business. The system is broken.

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer makes for grim reading:

  • “For the first time in 17 years, people’s trust declined in every kind of institution we asked about”
  • “Public trust in media at all time low”
  • “Trust in CEOs plummets and hits all-time low”
  • “A staggering lack of confidence in leadership”
  • “Global implosion of trust”
  • “Public trust in institutions sinks to a record low”
  • “The West's biggest problem is dwindling trust”
  • “Largest-ever drop in trust across institutions of government, business, media and NGOs”

Trump and Brexit are the consequences of this tsunami of distrust in government. Brand disloyalty and consumer agitation is the consequence for business. People are switching brands and jobs like never before. A key growth area is freelancing and self-employment. At an increasing rate, people are becoming disconnected from the pillars of the system. They are moving off the grid, becoming harder to reach and influence.

Before there was fake news, there was marketing. Advertising and marketing thrived and fed off a gullible, trusting, emotional population. There was a time when great numbers of people were ready to unquestionably believe what ‘the man’ said.

There is still gullibility and emotional behavior out there but every year the immunity grows. As messages explode in a Big Bang of communication, and the marketing calls for attention become more shrill or sly (native advertising), the population becomes more cynical, blind and deaf.

If you’re shouting at someone and they’re not paying you any attention, should you start screaming at them? “Hey John!!! See! I know your name! See how personal it is. I know your name! Buy from me, John! Buy from me, John!!!!!”

“Hey $FNAME” used to cut it,” Brad Smith wrote for Wordstream in January 2017. “Used to be good enough. And then like many things in marketing, it was overextended, overused and now inevitably ignored.” The best strategy today? “A direct and to-the-point statement that still sounds personal.”

Boring marketing is often outperforming creative marketing. “MailChimp analyzed over 40 million sent emails to determine which email subject lines performed best and worst,” Smith wrote. The best subject lines had “an incredibly high 60-87 percent open rate, while the losers only managed a depressingly low 1-14 percent.”

Here’s what the winners looked like:

  • [COMPANYNAME] Sales & Marketing Newsletter
  • Eye on the [COMPANYNAME] Update (Oct 31 - Nov 4)

Here’s some examples of the losers:

  • Last Minute Gift — We Have The Answer
  • Valentines — Shop Early & Save 10%

Marketing Experiments, an excellent evidence-based resource for marketers, in January 2017 released a manifesto called Transparent Marketing. “When you say 'sell,' I hear 'hype.' Clarity trumps persuasion. Don't sell; say.”

If you’ve got a fake product you need fake news. If you’ve got a real product you need to get real. Amazon, Google, Slack, Facebook are digital winners because they’re useful. Too often I meet companies with great products who are hurting their brands because of outdated traditional marketing techniques.

Anti-marketing is marketing that seeks to inform and be useful, to listen and respond, to take feedback and change. Anti-marketing does not seek to create a customer experience, but rather seeks to enhance the experience the customer has already decided to have.