Every day we are bombarded by marketing in all its forms, mostly offensive – whether direct mail delivered in a wad of flyers, cards and direct mail advertising, stuffers in our newspapers, email blasts, pop-ups on our screens, bill boards, radio and TV spots, signs along roadways and adorning buildings and shopping centers. Few of these, taken alone, are offensive – taken together they overwhelm us, and the collective waste has to be a percentage of GDP which would likely stun us if someone calculated it. I realize it also represents a chunk of the economy, jobs that keep creative industries, media and printing plants going … but there has to be a breaking point.
Or is it a breakthrough point?
I’m mulling a book purchase – as if I need another one piled among those I’ve partly read. It’s a new one called THIS IS MARKETING by Seth Godin. As all his best sellers have been, it’s about marketing. He discourages old-school interruption and bombardment. Still, I’m rolling my eyes at his bombardment of my in-box. Sure, his methods are fresh. But just new versions of the old-school assumptions he denounces. I’m still a fan, but also recognize the whole marketing world is a bigger well oiled machine than ever. Made smarter by guys like Seth. More, same, old. He’s the new more, same-old same-old now …
As a marketer of my own service, publisher and audience builder, am I my own brand of same-old or am I uniquely differentiated? Am I trying to be ‘like a Seth’, opposite of Seth or looking for the ‘next new better Seth’ to follow?
It’s not rocket-surgery, these things we do. I do writing, publishing and real estate.
I spent ‘taking a year off’ to upgrade one course before university that became a dozen years in footwear retailing. We were marketing then. Trying to draw in customers to see what we had, to be unique and valued. To have a better fresher presentation that our competitors, to provide service and product knowledge – to be expert and to give advice.
Fifty years one, I’m still working for something, some better brand of new, of know-how. Somedays I marvel at how far I’ve come. Some days I marvel at how little I’ve moved …
It seems only yesterday I was 17 – learning out to sell shoes, struggling with walking up to a customer to offer services in hopes I could help them buy what they wanted, learning that it was easier and better to help them make a good choice than it was to sell what I wanted to sell …
Some things don’t change much. What changes most is not the way we do business, but rather the way we do life, the way we make a life – not by marketing, but by changing.
I drafted this column the other day as I was getting ready to go to a breakfast group I’ve been invited to join. A group of contemporaries – some older, most younger – who share ideas and friendship over breakfast twice a month. I was wondering what I can learn, what I can teach – what do they want of me, and whether I can deliver value?
We care. I watch in amazement that the stories are reported, and reported, again, and again, by different news hosts with panels of seasoned, educated, intelligent, experienced and knowledgeable people and we hear that the latest incident is immoral, unprecedented, not normal, is setting a new bar for how low we can go, but there appears to be no consequences. Acts may be illegal, they are definitely immoral, unethical. So?? The checks and balances are not working – not yet, and perhaps, never will. I listen and think “So What?” “What’s next” Who is going to call the perpetrator on this action, punish him for his actions?? If there is a mechanism for halting this madness it is flawed – report it yes, and report it again, keep it is the news until the next unprecedented incident and then move on – let it all culminate become so monstrous that it cannot be fully fathomed. There is no towering leadership and that is very sad. Corruption, deceit, cunning, immorality, self-preservation and aggrandizement, lack of compassion and conscience, enrichment at all and any cost are the currency of the day. It is a dark time we are in. And what am I doing about it? Good question, RT, Vancouver, BC