#92 On Why Marketing Isn’t ALL bad
Five ways you market yourself in everyday life (all the time)
A friend of mine the other day asked to read some of my writing but told me he didn’t want to read my newsletter. (Rude). He was sick of marketing and newsletters are just marketing straight to his inbox. I sent him a few issues of the newsletter despite his prejudice and he apologized after reading it. But the experience reminded me of a core idea that I sometimes forget because I’m so steeped in it every day, working to help entrepreneurs and leaders leverage marketing so they can share their gifts with the world: people hate marketing. They think it’s sleazy and invasive and that the people who do it are rampant consumers who hate the planet and have no respect for people’s intelligence.
And I must admit, I used to be the same. I still sometimes cringe a little when I tell people I’m a marketer. I love the work I do and feel lucky to get to do it with and for the people I do, but I have those same anti-marketing, stop trying to sell me things inclinations other people do—it’s why I have an ad blocker on all my internet browsers, my name on all the do not call lists and get REAL heated when I get a phone call from a telemarketer. Because there are some types of marketing that is invasive and careless and lazy and just about selling us things and could care less about us as humans.
That’s not the type of marketing I do or teach others to do. I think its why brand marketing appealed so much to me when I got into the world of advertising and why I quickly began to infuse storytelling into my approaches. Because I believe in marketing that is heart centred and have been lucky enough to practice it, share it with others, and help my clients grow their businesses and connect with their audiences in meaningful ways because of it. For one, okay two, reasons: I stayed open and curious about what marketing could be in the world and because I know that marketing is not all bad. In fact it’s a powerful tool that many of us, even non-marketers, use every day in their lives. And it, especially when we leverage storytelling in it, can lead to beautiful, magical human connection.
But this note is not an ode to marketing, it’s here to teach and offer perspective on what marketing is and can be in our lives. So here are five ways non-marketers market themselves everyday (and how you can be doing it better).
Resumes and LinkedIn. The entire job hunt in fact is one massive effort in personal marketing with huge impact. Have you ever heard of people’s whose unique resumes or youtube videos about their job hunt have gotten them job offers in the media? Those are people who know they are marketing themselves as job seekers and put their whole selves into an integrated, multi-channel campaign with clear KPIs (key performance indicators, or measurement standards) and went viral as a result. When marketing yourself on the job hunt, the key is to lean into what makes you unique and share your story and experiences with honesty and openness—be your best you and tell the world (or hiring people) about it.
Social Media. We all use social media differently and are on the platforms that resonate most with us, our intentions, and our needs. But most of our engagement on social media is a special form of marketing. It’s the community building, personal brand expression kind where you’re bringing to life the ideas and activities that you’re passionate about and engaging with other people who share those passions. You’re showing the world a version of yourself, what you believe in, and what you value when you tweet, post, like, share, and dance (if you tiktok) online. You are marketing (sharing really) your version and vision of the world for others to engage with or not. Our measure here is likes, but I’d encourage you to consider engagement metrics like conversations started and the development of new real life connections as true measures of your success on the platforms. I have a complicated relationship with social media but respect it as a channel that first started with huge potential to connect people in new ways—it did other less great things along the way (hello face tuning, dysmorphia, and the social disconnect of ever being buried in our phones)—but it also does allow us to show new parts of ourselves to the world and that has value.
Dating. I listen to a podcast about dating called Dates & Mates and every episode I make a marketing connection in the way host, Damona Hoffman, talks about online dating profiles and how we approach trying to find and connect with potential life partners. It is fascinating as a marketer to see so much of marketing come to life when thinking about setting up your profile, being clear with your objectives for the profile going in, choosing the right images to represent yourself, and working to convert interested swipers into long-term companions (that’s the conversion). It is fascinating but also, when approached with some of the storytelling approaches shared in this newsletter (e.g. specific, animate, detail) you may find your profile getting even more traction. But also, Damona does a great job of helping people and showing them how to market themselves in the Roman arena that is modern dating, so maybe just check her out.
Making Friends & Networking. This one is close to social media but is something that is done both online and in person and it’s about expanding the network of people in your life. Whether you’ve moved to a new city, are seeking out clients for your business, are starting at a new school, or are just a naturally social person who is interested in people there are plenty of opportunities in life to network and connect with new people. Guess what? Marketing is all about connecting. Usually businesses to customers, but essentially—when done well—it’s about connecting people to each other. The best way to do that is to work to understand your potential new friend or comrade, what interests them, see where your values align and strike up a conversation. Get their number, invite them out (I know, it can feel weird to invite out an adult you’re not interested in romantically, but that’s what it takes in the world of adult friend making and networking), and see if they’re picking up what you’re putting down. I actually, as I write this, honestly think we could all be doing better with this one. As adults at least, we somewhere along the path often stop making new friends. Make new friends—sell yourself! Let me know how it goes. I had a new mom friend meet a woman on her street, go for a walk with her a few weeks later and find herself connected to a new person who was interesting, bright, and willing to share a whole other world with my friend, just because she was open to meeting new people. Let’s do the opposite of what Drake said (wisely) pre-pandemic and see what comes of it, yes new friends.
Getting dressed every morning. It’s true. This one is an effort in branding (and art, and creativity, and design). The choices you make, the colours you choose, the level of effort you put in and how you accessorize is all is a form of brand storytelling—your personal brand. You’re saying to the world I’m the type of person to wear sweats all day and does not care what people think or I meticulously apply my makeup, choose only designer pieces and show up to life polished AF, or I’m a creative vintage queen or some other wonderful mix or approach to putting clothes on your body. What you wear says a lot about who you’re choosing to show up as and even that is a kind of beautiful, fun, creative marketing to the strangers you pass on the street and the people you interact with each day. Have you ever thought about the impressions you create with the garments you choose?
Really the best way to be better at it all is to open up to idea of marketing, remember and notice when it may have a role to play and approach it with heart, honesty, and a desire to connect. Remember, you’re sharing your story, the most natural thing we do as humans. You’ve got this.
A Story Well Told
One word: Severance
Okay, more words. 8.7 on IMDB. The most mesmerizing, strangely beautiful, and captivating piece of television I’ve watched in a while. A thriller series that really just grabs you and doesn’t let go. Even when it’s done. Get your friend’s Appletv sign in and watch all nine episodes. It. Is. Fascinating. I love a new concept and new way of imagining the world and this is next level. It ends on a nail biter so be prepared to also ask that friend for their password again when the next season comes out. I cannot. Would love to know what you think about it if you’ve seen or when you do. Storytelling excellence if you ask me: the characters, the acting, the setting, all of it. All of it.
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