“More, faster, better, now.”

Seth Godin thinks signs are everywhere that we are becoming a “culture of dissatisfaction.” No matter how much you like your current (fill in the blank), someone will tell you that you can, should and deserve to get something better — now.

We’re using electronic media to spread this benchmarking message far and wide. Because there’s always a company offering a better or cheaper or faster product, or a person who’s more clever than Oprah or cuter than Tyra, it’s easy to shop around, to demand more, to be constantly dissatisfied.

Every day I get angry email (not angry with me, fortunately, but angry nonetheless) from consumers of all kinds complaining about perceived slights in customer service. Looked at with a clear eye, most of these complaints don’t make a lot of sense. Yes, the correspondence could have been a lot more thoughtful, but these are organizations that are largely doing a great job, at a great price. Doesn’t matter. Someone else is often more, faster, better, now.

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.

Godin’s post ends up with advice to marketers — build relationships with your customers for the long-term. But I’m not ready to skip to the answer yet, if there is one. I think he’s onto something with broader implications for our politics and social relationships, and we need to ponder it.

Yes, it is in the American grain to be cynical about politics, and impatient with government. What’s different is the velocity. If political leaders can’t make a quick score, they give up and move onto something else, because they assume the public won’t stick with a long-term plan. They believe this because of what you, as voters, as constituents, tell them. But, I suspect, you’re still not getting what you want.


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