Opportunity Makers

In the world of marketing, there’s an art to discernment. 

From the original ‘town criers’ influencers to glossy print ads, and now to the digital everything of today, marketing has consistently been a reflection of society’s insatiable appetite for both creation and consumption. 

Yet, as the field matured, so did its tools and techniques. We started creating not just products, but experiences; not just services, but solutions. However, somewhere along this journey, the scales tipped. Driven by the industrial revolution, mass production, and later by the digital age’s immediacy, the emphasis shifted heavily towards producing tangible outputs rapidly. 

Society’s obsession with ‘more’ and ‘now’ seeped into marketing, making us prolific creators, often at the cost of strategic opportunity-seeking.

Why Do We Gravitate Toward the Tangible

Measurability: It’s easier to measure the success of a campaign or the reach of a social media post than the end to end opportunity. From a cognitive perspective, our brains prefer quantifiable data—it’s simpler to process and offers a clearer reward feedback loop.

Validation: Tangible outputs offer immediate validation. They can be showcased, shared, and celebrated. This immediate feedback releases dopamine, the brain’s reward neurotransmitter, giving us a sense of accomplishment and pleasure.

Ease: It’s often easier to follow a template or previous success than to think about something new. Our brains are wired for efficiency. As ‘cognitive misers’ we naturally prefer tasks that use less cognitive resources. Creating something based on a pre-existing template or past experience requires less mental effort than innovating.

Concrete: Our brain processes concrete information more easily than abstract information. Tangible, sensory-rich details are more memorable and impactful than abstract concepts. When we produce something tangible in marketing, it resonates more strongly because it’s concrete.

Perceived Control: When we create something tangible, we feel we have more control over the outcome and the narrative.

Evolution: Historically, tangible results (like hunting or farming yields) were indicators of survival and success. Our brains have evolved to value tangible outcomes as they often had direct implications for our well-being.

Rethinking Value in Marketing

While tangible outputs have their place and are essential in the execution of a strategy, when they become the sole focus, there is a gap. 

If we’re constantly in “creation mode,” we might miss out on the bigger picture. Instead of just asking, “What can we make next?”, we can reframe with “What opportunities can we create next?”.

Opportunities, in this context, refer to chances to genuinely connect with audiences, to address their needs better, to differentiate in the marketplace, and to set the stage for long-term engagement and loyalty.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s the opportunities we create—and how we capitalize on them—that define the success of our marketing efforts, not just the tangible things we produce along the way.