As a guy who lives and breathes marketing, I really hate to admit this.
But, it’s all a big, fat lie!
Here’s a simple fact-all too often, marketing is where you put all your energy when you’re too lazy to innovate. That goes for bloggers, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, service-providers, actors…and, it even applies to your love-life!
In fact, for far too many, here’s what marketing really stands for…
- M – March
- A – Around
- R – Ranting &
- K – Kvetching
- E – Enough to
- T – Trick
- I – Impulsive suckers into
- N – Needing your
- G – Garbage
Marketing is what you do when your product, service or content isn’t self-evidently unique and impactful enough to sell itself.
Problem is…very little out there today truly changes lives!
If what you’re offering is pretty regular stuff, then marketing’s going to play a huge role in fabricating enough differentiation to drive interest. It has to, because your product, service or content really doesn’t change lives enough to get you paid for the impact. So, you’ve got some convincing to do.
If what you’re bringing to market is radically life-altering and, by it’s very existence, conveys this to the world, traditional marketing plays a back seat to beating the press off with a stick and stuffing your cash into your mattress.
But, if your business, blog, product or service falls somewhere in the middle, and most do, before you dive headlong into pure marketing, I wonder what might happen if, before you turn you marketing, you directed your energy instead to a deeper level of innovation.
Because innovation opens the door to media and nothing fuels success faster or cheaper than the viral-power of media! Want proof?
Applied to business.
On November 19, 2001, 8 weeks after 9-11, I launched a yoga center in the heart of Manhattan. Two months later, we were featured on the front cover of the New York Times Sunday Jobs section with a giant color photo. And, we’ve been in the national media dozens of times since then.
The economic impact of this continued coverage has been massive, leaving people asking me, “how’d you do that?” (I’ll reveal exactly what I did next Monday, so be sure to subscribe)
Was it the killer marketing campaign I created? Nope. Was it my deep-rolodex of connections? Nope, I had none. It was my understanding of one simple fact…
Media influencers kill for real news.
Mainstream media (print, radio and television) are all desperate, yes, DESPERATE for amazing stories to tell. They kill for insanely useful content, jaw-dropping photos, eye-opening videos, immensely-informative articles or outrageously-timely creations. Because their burden of content-delivery is crushing, the deadlines are deadly…and 99.9% of what they are asked to promote is garbage!
All you need to do is figure out how to get into the .01% that has real PR-value by providing genuine-news and you’re golden.
And, innovation is the key.
Now, sure, you can create blips on the media screen by spinning your marketing message in a way that ties into what’s going on in the news and generates interest. And that might get you some coverage and even a bunch of short-term sales.
Honestly, I still do this, mostly, because I just get too lazy to force myself back into that hyper-innovative place where sustained magic arises.
Plus, the burden of this approach is huge, because you’ll need to continually recreate your hook. Even the most successful marketing burns out without a foundation of innovation.
The real enduring marketing and media opportunity comes not from paying someone to create a continuing series of “fabricated” short-term blips, but from making the very core of what you do so bold, so innovative, so rare and impactful that your simple existence plants the seed that gets the world talking about you.
Then, not only will media begin to chase after you, the second what you do hits the news, the moment each customer is bowled over by you, your marketing burden and expense drop dramatically, because…
The world has just become your evangelist.
So, rather than spending hours schmoozing with the media gate-keepers, building your marketing profile and investing in the packaging and distribution, turn you energy back to innovation.
And, I have to admit, as I’ve become involved in a number of other projects over the last few years, I can track and closely tie the economic ebbs and flows of the business to it’s role as a purveyor of innovation.
Applied to blogging,
I launched this blog just 3-short months ago, yet, in the last 30 days, I’ve had more than 100,000 unique visitors, front-paged on Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us and Sphinn numerous times and had top-5 social-medialites regularly promote my stuff.
Again, friends across the blogosphere scrambled to ask how I pulled this off and my answer was the same as it was to my offline-business colleagues.
Mainstream media is the same as social-media in one very giant way.
The big-players, be they editors, writers and producers or top-Diggers, Stumblers and Sphinn-doctors all feel a similar responsibility and burden to relentlessly uncover the very best of what the web has to offer. This is a giant, extremely labor-intensive job. And, it is intimately tied not only to income, but reputation and ego.
And, just like mainstream-media influencers, they are constantly barraged by people who want promotion-love, but are hustling things that are garbage.
So, when you show up with magic in your pocket…
Those same online-influencers are not only happy to get on-board, they’re literally giddy to have something good to be able to share. So, spend less time begging and buttering-up and more time creating content that makes these peoples’ jobs easier and lives better!
Of course, one of the biggest differences between traditional and social media is the increasing leveling of the playing field. While mainstream media still largely requires access through influencers and gatekeepers, online social media, with it’s roots in the democratic promotion of valuable content, is increasingly open to all-access influence.
Indeed, the major social-media algorithms seem be on constant tweak-alert in an effort to continually bring those who accumulate excess-influence back to the level of those with far less time in the system or social juice.
Again, innovation rules!
In the end, it comes down to this. Marketing has value. The less innovative your product, service or content is, the more value it has.
My fear, though. is that, as a not only a marketer, but an entrepreneur, we all too often end up using marketing as an excuse for not wanting to put in the really hard work that fuels innovation. And, in the end, for both business and humanity…that’s a bad thing.
So, before you crank out your next whatever-it-is and then go looking for a marketing genius to figure out how to make it sell, try stepping back and asking,
“is there any other way to innovate that would make people stand in line for days or mud-wrestle at midnight for the chance to try it out?”
If the answer is a sincere no, then have at traditional marketing. But, if the answer is yes…do what you need to do to make your product, service or content change lives.
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