At lunch Sunday, a friend shares that she sold her condo two hours after it went on the market. Serendipitously, her realtor calls and said that a client wants to come by that morning but she herself wouldn’t be able to accompany him. Sure, send him over - I’ll show him the place. She greets him warmly at the door as the smell of chicken soup welcomes him in. She takes her time giving him a tour with personal flourishes. When asked about any problems he should be aware of, she openly shared details of each flaw - all relatively minor - but she doesn't withhold information. Well, the fridge was installed an inch too far to the right and so this drawer doesn’t pull out all the way as it should. He listens attentively and nods. And she continues. A half hour later he offers her ten thousand dollars over her asking price and the deal is sealed.
A reader writes: Marketing feels like an enormous and distasteful task compared with how much I enjoy the creative process -- even production! But I can feel a hunger for a context within which to grow and achieve more worldly "sturdiness," while concurrently growing my engagement with creativity and spirit. Any thoughts?
Headline writing is not my forte. So this post could easily have been titled: IS MARKETING DISTASTEFUL?
Another way to look at marketing - which I typically don't explicity state on my blog is the way I look at it: Love Attracts Love.
Don't explicitly state my marketing approach is an understatement. I purposefully NEVER state it.
It's essentially the point of my We Interrupt This Essay To Bring You A Story post. But I also mention the danger of case studies elsewhere in the essay...
We study and pour over marketing case stories for clues we can use. And often we re-enact the behaviors without fundamentally understanding (and better yet, fundamentally donning) the underlying mindset that drives those actions.
It's simply my marketing philosophy which is inseparable from my fairly radical philosophy of life. Your mileage may vary and I always advise people to stay true to their own values and beliefs. Whatever your underlying mindset and approach to life will surely will be reflected in your marketing -- no matter whom you try to outwardly imitate and emulate.
I haven't mentioned previously that these particular bungalows I use as a marketing case story had the brightest newest paint and most distinctive logo splashed on their long-tail boat when I compared it amongst their competing neighbors. Phen, one of the owners, carefully pencilled in all the lettering on the Christmas Eve Party sign outlining the entire menu and details with the utmost care and attention. When new guests checked in she warmly invited them to the party (at an extra cost, by the way). I'm not sure I've conveyed in mere words the warmth this travel operator and her staff exuded - and it was by no means simply a sales gimmick.
The task is not to find the lovable object, but to find the object before you lovable. - Søren Kierkegaard, Works of Love
I could say a lot more but I won't even attempt to define Love - one can read the sages. (But be assured if it's defined around meeting your needs, isn't shared, and isn't freely available - it's not what I mean.)
Where many will get hung up on what I just wrote and it's why I've probably one reason I've never before explicitly stated my marketing philosophy is on the word "attract." If that is where your focus rests - then you've entirely missed the point. And really that's fine - but attempting to replicate my marketing tactics won't yield any results either.
Reading between the lines, I hear you saying that marketing is distasteful because you've witnessed others appear to neatly divide the world into winners and losers where customers are merely a means to their personal end. And your distaste simply lets you know that is not resonating with your philosophy - and thus the strategy and accompanying tactics simply won't work for you. The trick is finding a marketing philosophy that doesn't try to go against your grain - but naturally fits with it. And as you change you can adopt other marketing approaches aligned with wherever you are.
There are a myriad of marketing approaches that each jibe with differing value systems which I should be getting to (hopefully in the very near future) in this ever-evolving essay. (Although if you make your living as a marketer - including product conception and product management - it behooves you be flexible enough to respect where each one comes.)
Bonus: So why did I say I could state my marketing philosophy in three words - or less? Because you could drop the extraneous and simply state: Love. In case it resonates with you as well, here's a bit more on the 'Love Attracts Love' marketing mindset:
When you find the way
others will find you.
Passing by on the road
they will be drawn to your door.
The way that cannot be heard
will be echoed in your voice.
The way that cannot be seen
will be reflected in your eyes.
- Lao Tzu, from Tao Te Ching