The thing about marketing

Rawpixel on Themba Jay
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Let me cut to the chase!

The art of marketing is not as easy a discipline as most people think it to be! Some respect is needed for it!

Okay. Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s proceed to have a conversation about why that is.

I have paid attention to and have come to appreciate that great storytellers possess a superpower in their ability to hold people spellbound. I absolutely love it! If there’s anything I love more than that pursuit, I don’t know it yet. Anyway, stories have the ability to make you imagine and create images in your head; they make you help form the story as it is being told.

That’s total attention!

And, when you are in marketing, that’s the most important thing you are after with your stories. Getting and retaining attention. Now, what I find puzzling is the notion that marketing is easy. I think, it’s precisely the reason why so many people who see it this way totally suck at it!

Marketing is psychological. It is very nuanced. Exciting.

Communication involves so many dynamics that being simple about it is the surest way you can compromise your brand in the long run. Badly written copy leaves a bad impression when I read through your website, blog, social media platforms. This is because what you write – or who you hire to do – is a reflection of your thoughts. How you see yourself, the company, your work.

Another thing that’s offensive are the companies who look at social media as nothing more than a few online platforms on which they can spew anything. And conclude the disaster with multiple hashtags. So, they assign knowledge-starved interns to run their digital platforms! I’d like you to think about that for a moment, internalize it . . . does it make any business sense?

I think not.

Personally, I would not delegate the responsibility of my business’ messaging and branding to a person who does not appreciate the value of online media, of impeccable copy writing and a fascination with people and how they function. Or, a person who doesn’t care about adding value to my audience, my valuable customers, with brilliant and honest stories. (It makes me cry when I see companies who exist online solely for the reason of peddling their sales messages, and offer nothing useful for the audience.)

Stories are reciprocal. And this means that in as much as you badly want to tell your story and your believing it is a must see / read, you desperately need someone to be willing to listen to it. And what are you going to provide of value in exchange for that person’s precious time? Your sales message? Nothing to teach at all? No emotions you want to stir with your story? No? Are you sure?

Puh-lease! Do not be that person. Do not take and take and take, and never give anything back to the ones from whom you ask and get given. Common courtesy, if you ask me.

Here’s a question: would you ever walk into a party you were invited to and even before being introduced, burst into conversation and tell people about all yourself?
Wag your tongue about what you do, what makes you awesome and even, why those listening to you have to see things the way you do and vouch for your greatness?
Well, of course, there are people who do this. I know a few. You probably do, too. But, it’s fine, names oughtn’t be mentioned.
I don’t know about you but I would never – ever – look forward to hanging out with such a prick. If forced, I’ll do it begrudgingly.

So then, why would you subject your business’ marketing to such forces. In the accounts department, it’s less likely you’ll rope in a grossly inexperienced person to handle the finances; why do that with your copy writing, storytelling and marketing endeavours?

I believe people doing your marketing – or working anywhere else, really – need to have a grounding in basic drivers of human behaviour. Or at least a slight appreciation for such things. There needs to be people who practice marketing, writing, storytelling and business itself with a command of emotional and psychological intelligence.

People who understand themselves and others at a fundamental level.

I also think of this subject this way: most people think public speaking is easy. It is not! It is hard, it is very nuanced. A truly phenomenal speaker knows when to shout, whisper or pause for a long time and let a bombshell to sink in.

If you cannot be the best, technically sound, at something, then why bother?