Marketing and Ickiness: Now What?
I loved the thoughtful responses to the original post on marketing techniques.
One person on Facebook said that he'd love to see another post on "what comes next" - meaning, I assume, where we are to go from here.
I LOVE that he asked this.
I thought for quite awhile, trying to come up with some tips and techniques and suggestions as to new ways of marketing, things that we can use instead of the icky ways.
But I realized: This is probably exactly how those icky ways started.
I'm willing to bet that no one started out with the intention to piss everyone off. No one thought it would be a great idea to annoy people (at least not those to whom I refer). Each entrepreneur and each teacher and each coach and each affiliate probably had the best interests of themselves and their potential clients in mind. And they quite possibly still do.
(If I'm off, so be it. I will continue to assume the best in people.)
But something happened - somehow - that lead to a mass attack on many of our sensibilities.
Note: I'm offering an aside here for those that have written me saying that these techniques DO work. To you, I offer a huge congratulations. What is already being shared is the way that works for you - and that is wonderful! Talk about great timing. For many others, though, the way the business and marketing world is being run in our culture is draining, frustrating, and non-sustainable. We're tired, and looking for another way.
We all start off looking for an answer, a way to take that next step. When we find something that works for us, we get excited. We want to share.
I've been taught - as I assume most in our culture have been - that the crucial part happens next.
That sharing part is where we sink or swim, where we become an entrepreneur or a hobbyist, where we define ourselves in the market or become just another person with an ok idea lost in a journal somewhere.
And - because we want to succeed - we listen to what others who have succeeded before us have to say. It worked for them, so there at least has to be something in there that would work for us, right?
We start off with the intentions of simply wanting to share the insights we gained from our own experience.
We enter into a world of competition and fear. Even the most centered find fear when thinking of their survival (I'm guessing, because I'm not one of them). Most of us in this culture are (deeply) blessed enough to not have to worry about our physical survival, but financial survival? Business survival? The survival of our passions, our interests, the results of all of our hard work?
It's enough to rev up our inner animal and put us into fight or flight mode. We have to "survive" and will find anyway we can to do so.
That fight or flight response is put slightly to ease when we are told there is an answer to the fear. We are told that there is a way to succeed, a way for us to find our sustenance, a way for us to not only be ok, but to be AMAZING.
The business owners who offer these answers believe them, because it worked for them.
The marketers and affiliates believe it, because it worked either for them, or for someone they trust.
The question is - why do we believe it? Why do we buy what they are selling? Why do we try to fit in and to sell in that market?
One response: We don't need to believe it. We simply need to be afraid enough to be looking for an answer - any answer. In that fear, all it takes are a few specially placed words and perhaps an attractive image or two, and we are ready to buy. A few cheers of encouragement and we are ready to sell.
And this is the main reason I don't want to offer any marketing-technique answers to the question, "Now what?".
Instead of removing the discomfort by providing yet another convenient answer, I want us all to sit in this space of not knowing.
And then - only then - do I want us to move. To act. To clean our homes and raise our children and run our businesses and market our products and services from a place of security in the unknown.
I don't want us to pretend like we have THE answers. I don't want anyone to do anything that doesn't fully align with the being that they found in the silence of sitting.
We are inherently animals - beings that are driven by physical and psychological needs and desires. There are marketing techniques that will always be able to tap into those needs and desires and to influence, if not outright control, our behaviors.
But we are also inherently spiritual beings. We are driven by a deeper connection to one another and the need and desire to maintain and enrich that connection. There are marketing techniques that honor this, that do not put us in direct competition, that allow us to be heard without silencing another. But just as the stories that are being marketed are unique, so are the techniques that will allow those stories to be heard. To put it plainly, there is no one answer.
Sorry to let you down.
If you were looking for the 10 steps to success, I'm sure a Google search will make you feel better.
So go, sit, do "nothing". Be with what is. Let yourself be uncomfortable with not knowing which way to go from here, and don't immediately run to another for the answer.
Then, one step, one word, one brush stroke or blog post at a time, share. Express. Listen. We want to hear what you have to say. It is vital to becoming whole again to experience all of our "parts" - and you are one of those unique parts.
Allow your intuitive passion to be the fire to light the way and the silent unknowing to be the world that you explore. Wander and wonder.
p.s. On an interesting note, Seth Godin posted something on marketing that recently found its way back to my Facebook feed. You can read his short and poignant post here. My favorite part of the post? "Three years from now, this advice will be so common as to be boring." Everything changes. Keep listening.