In today's Ad Age, Rance Crain's pens an excellent editorial on the folly of companies that have tried to use "purpose marketing" to create advocates for their brands.
Amen. It's been a long time coming.
The "purpose" of marketing is to sell stuff. If that's beneath you, if you'd rather create art, if the thought of getting your hands dirty to help your clients make money doesn't appeal to you, there are other jobs or non-profits that could use your help.
That doesn't mean you have to produce ugly ads filled with starbursts. Nor does it mean the main tools in your marketing arsenal should be bogos and rebates.
Just find out what's important to potential customers and communicate it in an interesting way, like these guys did:
Pepsi, P&G, Burger King and others have watched their sales slide while they tried to have "conversations" with "engaged advocates" about their "their brand's purpose." In the meantime, Coke, Unilever and McDonald's and others were promoting the relevant features and benefits of their products and kicking ass.
Sell your product proudly. Let us know why it's better. Do it memorably. Do it on the web, on TV, in print, on Facebook, wherever we happen to be. If it works and we buy your product, then you have a chance for us to become something more.
There's only one way to get customers to become advocates: Sell them a great product and then treat them like they matter.
It never works the other way around.