Some people hate marketers, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s at least partly due to the out-of-hand volume of telemarketing calls trying to sell car warranties. Man, why are those people still calling?
Whether we like it or not, though, we’re all marketers, and the most effective and influential people are willing to embrace that fact.
See, not everyone embraces self-promotion so whole-heartedly. But I believe the reason more people don’t “market” themselves is that those people don’t understand how society works, and it’s natural to avoid or be downright abrasive to something you don’t understand.
Here’s an oversimplification of how the world works:
In society, people need things. Food, housing, education, transportation, etc.
In a society where people have choices – in particular, a capitalist society where goods and services designed to meet people’s needs are produced and distributed privately – people need help deciding which goods and services are best-suited to fill their needs.
This may seem trivial, but not all products and services are commodities. In other words, some products are better than others, and much of the time it’s extremely important to make the right decision when deciding between goods and services.
For example, purchasing tires for your vehicle from a second-rate tire company can mean the difference between life and death. So how is a reputable tire company supposed to let people know how safe and reliable their tires are? That’s where marketing comes in.
Let’s say Jane Doe traditionally buys any old tires she can find, but for whatever reason she sees a marketing email from Firestone about their new run flat tire. So she goes in and buys a pair, thanks in part to those emails she’s been “bombarded” with. A month later while driving down the road with her small children in the car, she hits a huge nail. Only instead of her tire popping and her swerving off the road and hitting a tree, she drives safely down the road to the nearest gas station where she can call for help. All because of her new run flat tires that were marketed to her.
Were those emails from the tire company bothersome? Maybe in the moment. But Firestone had a solution to a problem the world faces, and I guarantee you, sitting safely at that gas station, Jane Doe is thanking God for Firestone’s marketing.
When we put ourselves out there confidently and unapologetically to the world around us, we’re helping people solve problems – real problems with real consequences. And that’s certainly worth doing.
So let’s tie this back to you:
There are people around you who need things. They have choices where they go for those needs to be fulfilled, and some of those places are better than others. Just like Firestone has a burden to communicate to the world that their solution is best for them, you also have a burden to communicate the value you already have to the world around you – even when it feels “sleezy” or like you’re being arrogant.
The truth is, they need you to put your best foot forward and market yourself to them. And I don’t just mean self-promotion. I mean the way you dress, talk, and carry yourself – the way you live out your everyday life giving the parts of you your afraid people will judge. Those are the things people badly need, so why hold them back out of fear?
When we go on a date, we dress up and put a mint in our mouth because we’re marketing ourselves. We’re not ashamed of that. When we go to a job interview, we dress nice and try to say the right things because we’re marketing ourselves. And so on and so forth.
We’re always marketing, and that’s a good thing. Too many people shy away from putting themselves out there and being vulnerable, when in reality, we need to know how you can best help us, and that requires vulnerability. So please don’t hold back, even if at times it feels “pushy”. That’s normal at times, but I promise it’s what people need.
Every major religion and political movement throughout history spread because of marketing. Someone had an idea and they went out and told people who probably didn’t care to hear about it. But the fact that they did tell people about it changed the course of history.
Great leaders, innovators, fathers, and husbands throughout history were only able to change as many lives as they did by first committing to the idea that what they had was worth “marketing” to the people around them. They didn’t hold back. Do you think they were uncomfortable and ruffled some feathers along the way? Absolutely. And the world is a better place for it.