“If you see a way to make things better, you now have a marketing problem”: this is where it all begins in Seth Godin’s ‘This is Marketing’. Varied arguments and game-changers but one purpose: to compel you to create and market, something that doesn’t solely belong to you but everybody out there! Somebody who shares the same needs, interests, and passions. It’s not a hustle game, rather a conscious attempt at consistent creation. A will to witness and catalyse change. A longing to leave your own mark amid the triviality of things.
“Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem.” So, what’s the puzzle, then?
What we often tend to do is making it all about ourselves. Well, the truth is that people are too busy to stop for a moment and appreciate you for just being you. And while that’s a bold step for you: doing what you feel like and putting yourself out there in the world like that, one must also make the best attempts at understanding their audience.
It has to resonate with the listener, to tell them something they’ve been waiting to hear, something they’re open to believing. It has to invite them on a journey where a change might happen. And then, if you’ve opened all those doors, it has to solve the problem, to deliver on the promise.
And the juncture where your creativity and their wants intersect lies something really beautiful, capable of real innovation.
The Right Kind of Questions
Is there a problem out there? Definitely, loads! Name one person who doesn’t have one.
Is there a solution to that problem? Well, no matter how much your resistance may tell you that there isn’t one, it’s always there; the question is: did you look hard enough? You just need to be bold enough to let yourself be and be as crazy and wild as you can be. Be creative. Be innovative. Be YOU. And soon you’d realise that the solution was just sitting there right in front of you, all this while.
Does that problem deserve your focus and attention? Well that mate, is up to you to decide. Does it excite you? Do you wanna be that change? Can you let it go? Would it not make you restless every time you go to bed knowing that you let it go? Can you rely upon the world to just figure it out by themselves? If these questions give you goosebumps or even if there is a pinch of anxiety inside you to not just sit there and do something about it, this is your chance!
This is what Seth says, “Instead of selfish mass, effective marketing now relies on empathy and service.”
Now your solution doesn’t have to be about you, you see. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and recollect if what you’re creating would make their day better by even a minute percentage. Would it bring a smile on their face? Would they be less worrisome? Would you succeed in making their life easier?
Loads of questions, I know right! But these questions are exactly what are gonna give you all the answers you have been looking for all those times when you decided to not just “fit in”.
The Medium to your Medium
The Internet can be a vast place and it’s okay if you feel overwhelmed by that. But regardless of the medium you choose to be your canvas for the world to witness, what really matters is that you can resonate with what you create and more importantly, your readers resonate with it.
“[…] it’s a billion tiny whispers, an endless series of selfish conversations that rarely include you or the work you do.” It’s up to you to initiate that conversation on something that really matters to you: to not just wait like the billions out there for things to happen, and make it happen yourself.
What is marketing really, then?
Well, marketing is really just a will to change. Unfortunately, over time, people have assumed that marketing is advertising. Now, is it, really? The argument may have been having some weightage a couple of years ago when the internet was flooded with content and people had a lot less busy lives. “The magic of ads is a trap that keeps us from building a useful story.” Marketing is so much more than that. It’s about not let your creativity stay within and unleash it into the world for people to see, comprehend, and relate. It’s about designing your own creation to be imprinted on the sand of time. In a world filled with spammers, tricksters, and coercers, you deserve to be extraordinary and you are. You just need to feel what your audience is feeling.
The other kind of marketing, the effective kind, is about understanding our customers’ worldview and desires so we can connect with them. It’s focused on being missed when you’re gone, on bringing more than people expect to those who trust us. It seeks volunteers, not victims.
Your Crowd, Your People
Now, all that’s left to ask is whom are you serving? “It’s easier to make products and services for the customers you seek to serve than it is to find customers for your products and services.”
Find an existing problem and provide your own unique solution to that. Notwithstanding how bizarre or freakish it may seem to you, if it is something you think would help your audience and putting all the self-doubt aside, if that is something that really makes you happy, just do it already, human! “[…] build something that people would miss if it were gone, something that gives them meaning, connection, and possibility.”
As Seth puts it: “time to stop begging people to become your clients and time to stop feeling bad about charging for your work.” Now, go fly off to your workstations and create something binge-worthy. Tell your story to the world, ensuring that it’s the one that would sweep them off their feet.