Does Marketing Myself Make Me Bad?
Gather ‘round, friends. Today we’re talking about how marketing doesn’t suck. People, products, and services that market themselves don’t automatically suck because they marketed. And if you think marketing and those who market themselves sucks, your own marketing will suck and your business/organization/career will suffer for it.
(Too many “sucks” in one paragraph? Probably, but I’m sticking with it.)
Yes, I realize that as a marketing coach, I may seem automatically biased. However, those who know me know that I will call out a bad practice when I see it because those are the people who ruin it for everyone else. #thisiswhywecanthavenicethings.
Recently a sponsored post popped up in my FB feed, as they do. This one, however, really caught my attention.
I ended up watching the entire 5 minute video.
It was SO funny and clever and felt like they were talking my language.
Pro Tip: That's what awesome marketing does. It makes you feel like they’re talking directly to you. It’s also why having a specific target market is so important....so that you can talk directly to your people.
Spoiler alert: just because an ad doesn’t speak directly to you doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. It may mean that you’re not their target market, and that’s OK.
After watching said entertaining video, I read the comments.
I know, I know. #gluttonforpunishment
The majority of comments mentioned how funny the ad was. Then there was this:
"They paid for this. All this is is clever advertising. Since they had to pay for it, the product probably sucks.'
I see statements like this about marketing regularly, so let’s unpack it:
This proves that the company knows their brand voice, target market, and is making the choice to speak directly to their target market rather than a more diluted voice that more benignly appeals to a wider audience.
This is a GOOD THING.
This is a GOOD THING.
THIS IS A FABULOUS THING.
Clever and creative advertising is a beauty to behold and should be embraced by more people.
Does paying for an ad automatically make the product/service bad?
It means that the company gives a shit about its product/service and wants to put it out in the world. That’s good business.
Does it mean that the product/service is automatically good?
NOPE. As said before, it just means that they want to get their product/service in front of more eyeballs. This is good.
Spoiler alert: there is no correlation between a paying for an ad and product/service quality. All it means is that the business had an ad budget. There is no “good” or “bad” to it.
Unfortunately, this notion that marketing and advertising are inherently bad or that people/organizations/businesses who market themselves are bad is pervasive and often causes smaller organizations and individuals to barely market themselves or even not market themselves at all.
“I don’t want to be pushy.”
“It feels slimy.”
“People hate people who advertise.”
“If marketing is bad then I'm bad for doing it.”
This is bullshit.
Marketing at it’s core isn't bad. Marketing is NECESSARY.
Let’s repeat that so it can sink in.
Marketing isn’t bad. Marketing is necessary if you want to get the word out about your work into the world.
What IS bad is when people do bad things with their marketing - spam, deceit, trickery, and such.
So don’t do that.
Example: the other day I got an email from a company saying they'd spoken to me before. They hadn't. They were probably trying to bank on my being super-busy and/or forgetful so that I'd believe them and call them back. Did I? No. #nicetrysuckers
The one I see most often if you’re running a business are the people who try to guilt you if you say no to them. It sounds something along the lines of “Well if you don’t want to promote your business” blah, blah, blah. 1) There are TONS of ways to promote your business. 2) HOW DARE SOME COMPANY TRY TO GUILT YOU INTO GIVING THEM MONEY. If someone ever tries to flat out guilt you into spending money by saying you don’t care if you don’t, RUN AWAY.
Tough love time: If you don't market, you most likely will fail. Nobody will know who you are, or what you're doing, and so won't come to shows, buy tickets, hire you, and/or donate.
This isn’t guilt. This is how it works. #theycantshowupiftheydontknowyouexist
And guess what? If you’re doing ANYTHING to tell others about what you're doing then you’re already marketing! So since you’re already doing it, you may as well do it proper!
Market yourself properly. Make a plan. Act on the plan. Pay for some ads if you have the budget. But for fuck sake, don't fail before you even have a chance to succeed because you're under the false notion that marketing is bad.
Bottom line. You need to market yourself and/or your organization, and you’re not going to be able to do that effectively if you think that all marketing is bad.
Now let’s take a look at some good and bad things about marketing, shall we?
Solid marketing connects the right products and services to right people. (“Right” people meaning your specific target market, whoever that may be.)
The audience wants to know about you! It’s up to you to make sure they do.
Example: Snarky Tea has a BOLD brand, product, and voice. They know that not everyone will dig it, and that’s OK. Those who do like them really like them, and this is what you want. This is how you create strongly connected fans and build that sweet, sweet word-of-mouth advertising.
Tricks people through words, pictures, numbers, and/or fine print.
Blatantly lies about thing being sold.
Preys upon emotions. Mind you, good marketing often taps into emotions too, the difference comes down to intent (blatant manipulation) and quality of product/service. If the intent/product/service is bad, then obvs this is a bad use of marketing.
Example: Fyre Festival. This was a solid marketing campaign that was very successful. The event...well...not so much is the understatement of the year.
Every business and organization out there markets. Maybe it’s subtle. Maybe it’s overt. But you can’t have a thriving business/organization without a certain level of marketing.
(Performers, your career is your business. The sooner you get on board with that, the better off you’ll be, so you need to market too.)
You can't market yourself properly if you think that all marketing sucks.
There are bad practices out there, and they do suck. So don’t do that.
Marketing is OK. Anyone who markets themselves properly is OK. The audience needs you to market so they know you exist.
How do you feel about marketing in general? How do you feel about marketing yourself and/or your organization? Share with us in the comments below!
Need help learning how to market yourself? Let’s work together! I’m only a couple of clicks away.