The ever-entertaining Seth Godin wrote recently about our society's "culture of dissatisfaction."
The problem with this emerging culture, aside from the fact that we're unhappy
all the time, is that it doesn't give marketers a chance to build products for
the long haul, to invest in the processes and products and even operating
systems that pay off over time. The problem is that when brands fizz out so
fast, it's hard to invest in anything except building the next hot brand.
As I've written before, I think this dissatisfaction is the result of focusing on the wrong motivators. Extrinsic motivations like being rich, famous, and good-looking are like the proverbial Chinese food that tastes great going down but leaves you hungry half-an-hour later. (By the way, I'm Chinese, and I have to say that I've never run into this issue--is there any truth to this stereotype?)
The rise of the Internet has made feeding these obsessions easier than ever before. Instant billionaires. The fame of suddenly becoming an A-list blogger, or the next Turkish stud. Validation of your looks on HotOrNot.
And because these extrinsic motivators actually make people less happy, the sad fact is that the Internet is helping to make some people unhappier.
In contrast, the intrinsic motivators of personal growth, caring relationships, and contributing to the community are largely ignored, even though they drive happiness, satisfaction, and productivity.
Marketers who recognize and tap into intrinsic motivators may not get the buzz, but in the end, they will drive sustainable, beneficial business.