Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Marketing 101

When adults reflect upon their skills - for the purpose of a job search or a self-discovery exercise - unless our chosen profession is marketing, we often forget to include one of the skills we practice every day; one of the skills we've been practicing since childhood. In a sense, we're all marketers. We've been selling ourselves to others from the time we were small. I don't mean to suggest we've been "selling out" or "selling our souls" and I certainly don't mean to suggest that we are all equally skilled marketers. Whether it's conscious or not, though, everything we do, from the time we get up in the morning, brush our teeth and hair and get dressed,  involves an element of marketing. It's not a bad idea to remember that our kids are marketing themselves too - to their peers, to their teachers, to colleges, to prospective employers and, to some small extent, to us. They are also serious idea marketers - when they want a dog, when they want to stay up late, when they want to go to a party... With that in mind, we might all want to consider marketing tips to be life lessons.

So, my fellow marketers, you might be interested in reading the most recent blogpost from marketing guru, Seth Godin, whose nuggets are generally thought-provoking and, often, subtly game changing:

Lady Gaga and me

Do you think it bothers her that I don't listen to her music and wouldn't recognize her if she stopped by and said hi?
It shouldn't.
Even if you're a pop star, you don't need everyone to be a fan or a customer. And especially if you're not a pop star, worrying about whether everyone laughs at your jokes, buys your product or even likes you is counterproductive.
Unless you're running for something that requires a unanimous vote, it's a mistake to focus on the frowning guy in the back of the room or the dolt who doesn't get your subtle references or the miser who isn't going to buy from you regardless...
You're on the hunt for sneezers, for fans, for people willing to cross the street to work with you. Everyone else can pound sand, that's okay. Being remarkable also means being ignored or actively disliked.
BTW, I'm virtually certain that Lady (do her friends call her that?) doesn't read my stuff, so we're even.
In the world of children's books, we frequently read about negotiation between child and parent or between friend and friend. These negotiations generally begin with a position someone is trying to "sell" to someone else. Take one of the favorite modern day children's book characters, Olivia the pig and consider how she convinces her family to spend a vacation in Venice. Between us, I think Olivia could convince anyone to do pretty much anything!

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