Ah, marketing. The misunderstood kid on the block.
I have very specific views on the subject, which not all of you will agree with. But I'm more than happy to discuss at the end. And by the way, I am not writing this for the marketers out there (though you can read, too). I'm writing this for those of you who have biases towards marketing, and that's what stops you from being a rockstar.
The road to recovery starts with a single step. Let's take it together.
1. Marketing sucks.
Says who? Oh right, you read a bunch of "expert advice" articles and you got a headache. After popping some advil, you decided "this is not for me" and that was that. But why did you think you had to do what the experts told you?
Yes, they know what they're doing. Yes, they have good tips. But did you explore all marketing options, pick the ones that were right for you, and then read the expert advice on those particular ones? I bet you didn't. And if I'm right, you skipped the most important part of the process - you skipped you!
Marketing doesn't have to suck if you do what feels right. For the past few years I have been tweeting and blogging, and that's what feels right to me. I didn't decide I was going to do it because it was trendy. I do it because I love doing it, and because I love it, I am also good at it. Kinda makes sense, right?
Now make a list of the things you love doing and base your marketing strategy on those things. Do it.
Trust me, you'll achieve so much more if you finally embrace what Nature and your parents gave you. And when you do - even if it's just one social platform and one type of content like me - you will be the one people come to.
2. Marketing is selling.
Marketing doesn't have to be selling. Here's the main difference:
Selling is pushing people to buy a specific product or service. I've gone through some extensive selling programs (which I regret because I hate selling) and they have all taught me how to build rapport, convince people, close the sale, and so on. They taught me how to present something to make it enticing. How to appeal to the client's psychology. Basically, how to manipulate people.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think all salespeople are master manipulators, but I do think they have the skills to do it if they wanted.
Marketing, on the other hand, is presenting the product in its best light and letting people come to you if interested.
I think at some point marketing and sales got confused, and this is why we're standing here right now. Some people even suggest marketing and sales should be one thing.
But do you see the difference? In sales, you push people to buy from you and in marketing you draw them in. With marketing, you never have to push if you don't want to. Just like you can if you do want to.
There are many sales-marketing hybrids these days - marketers who push and pull in equal measures, and that's all fine as long as it fits their personality and values. For me, some kinds of pushing are distasteful, so I don't do them. I've had to drop so many effective tools because it just didn't feel right.
So decide what you want to do -push or pull or both- and go from there.
3. I am not marketing myself.
Whoa, wait a sec. Are you telling me that you're life's work, your passion, your sweat and blood, that's not you?
Joking aside, I'm curious to know why you think that your marketing is separate from you. That's assuming you created the product. If you're marketing someone else's work, this section is not for you, so skip to the next one.
But if you are marketing what you've created, you have to recognize that it came from you and that you poured a lot of your personality in it. Whether it is a book or a site or whatever it is, it's all you.
Seriously, if you enchanted me with your writing or your social stream or what you said in that workshop, I'm going to buy from you because I want more of YOU, not some random words on paper or some stranger's course. I've taken the time to know you first and now I'm ready to pay up for the value you've give me.
What you're marketing is you, not just your product/business. Both things are the same thing, really. And that's why people have personal brands and invest so much time in maintaining those. Which is totally what I think you "should" do, too.
When you approach your marketing strategy from that point of view, you will no longer be marketing a standalone product. You'll be marketing the person it came from and every step of the strategy will be advised from your personality and your core message. Once you have figured those out, everything else will begin to flow naturally.
4. Marketers are sleazy.
Really? You're going with that?
First of all, acknowledge the fact you have marketed before and you will have to market something in the future. Whether it's yourself or your next employer or your new small business, you will have to do it.
Second, go to the mirror. Really, go to the mirror and look at your reflection. Now that you see yourself, I want you to tell me: Do you really think you're gonna be one of those shady marketers who just push products on people? Of course not! You'll be marketing your passion, your life's blood. You'll be helping people.
Quite often success stems directly from little shifts in mindset.
That ball in the pit of your stomach is not there because "you're not born to be a marketer" or because you're incapable of doing it, but because you have believed all of those misconceptions and you carry the bias within you.
Do you think I went to my computer one day and thought "hey, I bet I'm great at marketing". NO. In fact, I went to my computer one day, realized I was doing some sort of marketing, and felt like throwing up because I had those biases myself.
Right now, people are fighting to have equal rights and equal pay, and they're winning. So why can't you fight your own bias and come out of this as a winner, too? I believe you can, and you will. The road to success is paved with many obstacles and they don't always come from outside. Most of them emerge from within.
Do you need help?
I am not assuming you do. But in case you do, let's just say I've struggled with these biases myself before I finally saw it for what it is - you can make a heaven out of marketing and you can make a hell out of it. (Thanks, John Milton.)
So yeah, if you need help, this is the kind of shizz I do.
Now it's your turn...