You are a Marketer. Everybody is a Marketer.
Despite hating money, I did do a few marketing courses at university, but I can't really remember any significant takeaways. I met some good guys doing projects together but largely thought of marketing as advertising. Coming up with clever(ish) ideas and then funny, sexy, violent or interesting ways to sell them. Through an interest in public speaking and presentations, I came across Garr Reynolds and his Presentation Zen blog. That had a huge impact on my work, and I tried hard to implement many of his awesome ideas to avoid 'death by powerpoint'. One excellent speaker Garr pointed to as an example, who turned out to be a blogger, an author an at heart a marketer was Seth Godin. His bite size daily blog changed the whole way I thought about marketing.
Lots of people see marketing as manipulation. We know we all have to make a living, but it grates that people are sugar coating things to foist stuff on us that if we had full information, we wouldn't want. The idea that we live in a consumer culture which tricks us makes our blood boil. One choice is to ignore all that. To choose to live an authentic life and do the things that matter to you, and not worry about money and marketing and all that soul destroying, life sucking, mind numbing noise.
The irony is that authenticity is at the heart of what makes good marketing. Reading about marketing from Seth Godin will release the artist in you, not the machine. In the past, marketing may have been limited to TV adverts that shouted at a confined audience providing them with commoditised products. Now, you have to
- Earn permission. (Permission Marketing)
- Do something remarkable. (Purple Cow)
- Tell a story that matters. (All Marketers Tell Stories)
- Find people that it matters to. (Tribes)
- Give them something that matters, to you & to them - to create Art (Linchpin)
Godin's idea of marketing is that the interaction with you will be missed if it doesn't happen. Unlike a TV advert which interrupts and irritates you, permission marketing involves doing something that adds conspicuous value in a very authentic way. The best way to earn this permission is to be genuine. To do something that puts a spark in your eye, and find people who will feed off that flame.
It's exciting stuff, and certainly changed my idea of business. Business at its heart is problem solving. Marketing is part of how those problems are solved. If something matters to you, you are a marketer.