Mar 082008

Marketing is sometimes the lifeblood of a business, but most people feel uncomfortable doing it. After thinking about it for a while I realized that I, too, suffered from a dislike of marketing but I was able to identify a number of beliefs and ideas that make it a lot more congruent with the rest of me.

The first one is that I had an unconscious belief that, “If my product or service is good enough, then I don’t need to market it.” I also learned that if you do not truly believe in your product or service, you will not be willing to market yourself, because it would be similar to lying. This reminds me of when I used to work at Future Shop (owned by Best Buy, its a computer store) selling and I was fairly uncomfortable selling these things because I did not believe in their value. I wasn’t really interested in purchasing them so I didn’t really sell them that well because I assumed others shouldn’t be either.

By examining times when I felt unhappy with marketing, I can develop a greater understanding of what I call ethical marketing. I don’t like being misled. An introductory seminar which contains no real information and just a sales pitch, for example, is misleading. I don’t like being pushed into something. I also don’t like being made to feel inferior because I do not have the advertised product or service. Things should be pitched as improvements rather than as solutions for some sort of chronic deficiency. I don’t like being treated like a headcount or a sales number. I like being treated as a human being. I don’t like really high claims because they become simply unbelievable.

Ethical marketing, for me, is embodied by Steve Pavlina. Even his ads (such as for Site-Build-It) contain valuable information. I read the ad he emailed me and it just felt like a blog post. While he does create a powerful interest in whatever he is advertising, you don’t feel pressured. He presents it as an option, not as a “have-to”. Pavlina does treat and respect you as an individual and as a human being. Pavlina is up-front about expectations. While most self-help authors would be loathed to say that whatever they do is hard or what have you, Pavlina says on his front page that PD is hard, possibly driving people away, but also screening his readers which is important to do. While its easy to think at the beginning that you just need more customers or clients or what have you, it is also important to have the right kind of customers or clients. All of what Pavlina does is made possible because I do trust and respect him. There is a certain rapport there which he sustains by not becoming another over-promising, under-delivering self-aggrandizing self-help author.

Learning to market effectively is part of my project to develop the mindset of an entrepreneur. A lot of times, the actions themselves are super-easy to take but there is a mental or emotional belief that prevents you from taking them.

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