What words bubble up for you when you think of “marketing” and/or “sales?”
For me (and many of us) these are the guys that can hold center stage, if we’re not careful:
Yesterday, our “book club” mastermind met to discuss this very topic.
What I heard, over and over, was that we’re tired of the formulaic webinars, emails and affiliate campaigns. We’re sick of hearing about how so-and-so lifted themselves out of poverty to grow their empire. And we’re really ready to focus on finding a better way to market our small businesses.
A few things we’d like the big marketers to hear:
- We’re human. And one of the things that’s true about humans is that we can find patterns — even where none might purposely exist. So after the third webinar we attend where the sales pitch is promised to be super short and super sweet but it’s totally not, we get turned off. Whether or not you are “real” or “authentic,” you’re still following a formula and we hate when you do that. Seriously, can’t you do a little less formula and a little more listening?
- We’re not blind. When you say one thing on your blog (about say, the value of relationships) but you do another thing in private, you’re not fooling anyone. Your hypocrisy shows. Word gets out. Get a clue and wise up. You can’t be a jerk on Twitter and then tell us we need to play nice on your website.
- We’re connected. We read a lot of the same blogs as our peers and colleagues, so when you give your affiliate marketers pre-made copy to use in an email, you should know that we’re going to see that same email from 20 different people. And that? Makes your affiliates look kinda dumb. If they’re all using copy that starts with, “The biggest mistake I’ve ever made…” then it’s not really their mistake, is it? Oops.
- We weren’t born yesterday. Sure you’re up on all that fancy psychology and what motivates us to take action, but using tactics like false scarcity (really? you only have room for 10 people in your program?) is pretty insulting.
- We want to love you. We need heroes and mentors we can look up to and believe in. And we admire your success, your unique way of doing your thing, and so much more. Sure, being famous is a full-time job. And of course, we shouldn’t put you on a pedestal. But when we do (and we will), it’s SO easy for you to fall off.
- We know what it means to give. So, it’s your birthday and you want to give me a gift? Sweet! Just don’t make it a discount on your featured product or service. A gift should be a given, no strings attached. Otherwise it’s not a gift, it’s a marketing ploy. You know what I’d really like from you on your birthday? For you to stop working and go have some damn cake.
The other point we talked about was focusing on what’s good.
It’s not enough to call attention to the bad stuff that happens. In fact, if that’s all we ever do, then we’ll just end up bitter and frustrated. (Whatever you focus on, you get more of!)
We’ve got to find ways to notice and celebrate the good examples — promote them to each other and make them the norm.
And perhaps even more important, we’ve got to learn how to promote our own work and businesses in a confident way — without feeling slimy ourselves. (One of our group recommends Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn.)
After all, everything on this planet has a good side and bad side. Sex, food, politics, nonprofit causes, sports — you name it — can be twisted around until it’s ugly and evil. But that doesn’t mean we avoid them completely. There’s also a lot of beauty and goodness to be found in those same things.
And marketing and sales? They’re no different.
Yes, there are many negative examples of what’s wrong with the marketing industry, its practices and practitioners.
But marketing (and sales) can also be used for good. Moving people to take action to create a better world — for themselves or others — is one of the best things we can point to.
Dan Pink’s recent book, “To Sell is Human,” makes these points in a lively and helpful way.
The time has come to turn our attention to what builds us up as humans and communities.
So let’s get this party started — share with us in a comment below a shining example of what’s good about marketing, marketers or making a sale. The more we can point out the positive, the more we’ll notice it even exists.