Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published a ground breaking book in 1969 titled On Death and Dying.

It describes the process people go through when faced with a tragedy or catastrophic loss. I love this book. When I was in high school in the 70’s this was a text book for a class I took called Apostolic Involvement. I went to an all girls Catholic school and our assignment was to sit with two patients each day in a nursing home, hold their hand, talk, listen and then read a chapter in the book and journal our experiences. Very enlightening.

I mean this with the utmost respect, but I do believe that many marketers are experiencing these stages of grief in response to my Marketing RIP series. I revisited Kubler-Ross’ theory, and it makes sense. We’re talking about a lifetime, in some cases, of success and security using these methods. And now they are dying? Some will completely vanish? How can this be?

These worked so well for so long. Baby Boomers grew up with these. But if you want to attract the Gen Y crowd – and who doesn’t – you need to begin to move on…..I hope this helps.

The five stages of grief are:

  1. Denial. This can’t be happening to me.
    1. Marketing translation (MT) – there’s no way I’m going to do anything different. So we aren’t getting the response we wanted, I’ll blame the economy. Television and Radio ads will always be around. And direct mail – c’mon. How will our members know what products we offer if we don’t tell them?
  2. Anger. This isn’t fair!
    1. MT: I won awards for these marketing efforts! I have trophies in my office to prove that my radio, television and newspaper ads were winners! If we just stopped all of that marketing, we’d go under.
  3. Bargaining. I’ll do anything to keep things as they were – just for a little while longer.
    1. MT: Well, I can’t just STOP all marketing. What would I do? I have to keep to my marketing calendar – but I’ll dabble in social media. When I have time.
  4. Depression. I’m so sad, why bother with anything?
    1. MT: I hate Denise. I just heard yesterday that Pepsi and FedEx will not be advertising on Super Bowl Sunday – what the what? Could it be true? Is this the warning shot across the bow? I hate writing the monthly statement messages now – does anyone out there read it? Care? Life has no meaning.
  5. Acceptance. I’m going to be okay.
    1. MT: I’m open to exploring this thing called Social Media. I don’t know exactly what it all means, but I’m willing to go there. The best thing about credit unions – we are willing to share and commiserate and network and help each other. I accept that things are changing – rapidly – and I need new tools in my toolbox.

NEXT: The 12 step program for recovering media-direct-mail-a-holics. Thanks to Kelley Parks for that great idea!