When is it good to be in the one percent? No, this is not about being as rich as the top one percent are...though if we're being honest, it's really only the top .01% that really hold the title of "rich."
And yes, money is necessary to run your business and live your life. But how you market that business can be about the one percent depending on what you believe the purpose of life really is - making money or something of far greater value.
99% of most marketing and advertising is aimed at creating the belief in your customer that they are either inferior for not wanting what you are selling or it is based on the fear of death, illness, loss, or danger.
One Percent (or maybe even less) is focused on the opposite - the joy of life and that you are good enough, now. Insecurity and fear has been the baseline of selling for a very long time.
Do you buy organic food because you are afraid of GMO's (genetically modified food) or because it makes you feel good to eat what is natural and has the nutrients your body needs to be healthy?
Do you purchase "beauty items" to look younger and more beautiful as others perceive you or to feel better for your self?
Do you buy the clothes that look the best this season or clothing that is made well and will last for a long time?
These may not seem like differences to you, but they are. At their essence is the question are you selling to convince people of what they do want or are afraid they will not get?
In Lubbock I talked to a man who sold guns and survival gear. He was well pleased that a "fear based ad" (his words not mine) did a lot for his sales. So the question then becomes, which world do you want to create? One where fear and money rule? Or a world that is based on giving love, joy, and all that is good?
The next words are, I don't have the luxury of making that choice. I need to build my business and make money any way I can. Then you have made your choice and from it will come the consequences. The short term will give you want you think you need. The long term most likely will not give you what you think you want.
It is hard to lead the pack, do what is not considered the norm, and risk the short term loss for the long term gain. But isn't that what created a world in which 99.9% suffer at the hands of the .01%?
Last week I spoke with a peer about his business and he shared with me that in some cases he never speaks or meets his clients. They give some vague direction and he is supposed to interpret that and create graphics and websites based on this.
There is a trend happening - okay, not a trend anymore - in which people are talking less and using technology to "communicate" more. I use the term communicate very loosely.
What happens when we stop talking to each other?
Humans are by nature social creatures. We crave connection and contact. You may or may not remember the Romanian orphanages in which babies never held or touched, died. People need to know they are loved and to feel connected to other beings - even if it's a dog or a plant.
Technology has given us the illusion of connection and that has translated into the illusion of creating a business model in which no actual talking or meeting face to face happens. Really?
What is the purpose of life then anyways?
This is meant to be a blog about helping business thrive in a new system - but really it's just going back to a very old system. People used to know who they did business with and you couldn't scam anyone because your customers were your neighbors. Good or bad, news traveled fast.
So here is the radical thought for the day - is life about business and making money at any cost? Or, is life about - LIFE?
Is the reason you wake up each morning to sell someone something they don't need so you can get enough money to buy something you don't need? Really?
If so, why wake up at all?
What is the purpose of business?
I've been trying my self to skirt these issues and follow the direction the trends are going and absolutely hate it. It's all a lie and waste of my time.
So here is the reality from my perspective of why we come to this world - it's not to sell or buy or make money. We are here to learn, to grow, to love, and to lift each other up. And, news flash, you can't do either if you don't actually talk to other humans.
New systems of business and marketing aren't about fancy technology, social media lists, and fake likes. You can use those tools to connect with others, but if you stop there you will gain no lasting business model because you will be chasing trends and not building relationships.
It takes great courage to choose to turn away from trends and then take the time and energy to build something real. And while in the beginning that courage may look like crazy to your peers, over time they will be asking you what your secret was. And you can tell them, we need to talk in person if you really want to know.
Any thoughts? Share your comments below and let's have a real conversation!
I'm actually asking you this question more than I am writing to answer it for you! It is a real question for all of us personally and professionally. In a world where we are really hyper-connected, how connected are we really and how often should we be reaching out?
I had a long conversation with my mom the other day about writing letters. In her generation that's what they did because long distance phone charges were too high for anything but a special occasion. In my generation I've gone from writing letters because I was told to as a child, to emails, and while I refuse, most now resort to texting, facebook, or other social media public posting.
The goal in running a business is to keep in touch so your name and brand stay in front of your customer or client. But there are as many who take this too far with daily emails, hourly twitter posts, and more vs. those who only contact on rare occasion when they want something from me or you. Both drive me crazy.
But here is the real crux to the question - why?
I don't care if you ate a peanut butter sandwich today. I do care if you've had good news, bad news, or just need a friend to talk to.
I do want to hear from a brand or product when they have something of value to share with me. But I don't pretend to think they "care" about me in any way and so more is not really better - though repetition has always been the party line in marketing and advertising.
But in observing what people seem to share in both individuals and businesses - I see more brands pretending to care and individuals sharing little of real value. And so, what is the point to it all?
As a therapist I can tell you people are overwhelmed with information and underwhelmed with quality human or value added type connection. I see a desperate loneliness that I think few understand about themselves and try and substitute more information as communication instead of more quality connection that has actual value.
What is the solution? In my view it is turn the computer, cell phone, tablet, etc "OFF" every day at some point and talk to a real person, play with a live dog, or take a long walk in the woods....electronic free. Yours would be?
I would love to get your feedback on this? What do you think?
You are a hardworker. You want to make your customer and clients happy. You believe in what you are selling or providing. But is that enough?
Have you ever asked your self "what does my client/customer really want?"
Yes, good for you! No, then please keep reading!
The real question we are all asking
If you ask most people what they want from a product or service they will tell you a fair price and good quality. But that isn't really true. Okay, on the surface it is true, but not deep down inside where real brand loyalty is born and lives.
I heard a story the other day about a woman staying at a hotel. Her morning wake up call included ordering from the kitchen. When asked what she wanted, the woman said a chocolate donut. We don't have those was the reply and after a bit of discussion about what was available, an order was placed.
When the woman got her breakfast, on her plate was a chocolate donut and a note saying something to the effect of here is what you really wanted and have a wonderful day. Now, the moral of the story isn't get your customer what they want.
The moral is, let your customer know that you hear them and are willing to take action to show it. Because it's not the donut or the fact the employee went off hotel property and spent her own money to get the donut. It is the fact that the experience spoke the message - "You are valuable and loved."
Are you brave enough to risk it all for love?
The truth is if we said to strangers, "I love you," police would be called, restraining orders placed...and while a sad reflection of our world today, let's be honest here...
The real truth is we are all deeply and truly hungry for love - though we often will substitute a little chocolate - but it's the love we seek. If there is one emotion that we as humans seek in our experiences, it is love.
How you build that into your marketing, your product, and your service is the real goal in any "plan" you undertake. This is what builds loyalty beyond low prices or fire sale services.
That employee that bought the donut didn't know she became the subject of a seminar in which thousands attended, a story told again and again (just like here), and resulted in more good will and publicity than a 1000 facebook likes or tweets or commercials. Love shares itself - no clicking required.
How can you let your clients know you love and appreciate them in a way that reflects the best of you?
Good Monday Morning! As promised, today it is about marketing - but what flashed for me today is how separate marketing/advertising/selling seem to be from core values like integrity, honesty, and value added. It is like two separate conversations. Here is what I believe, oh, and here is what I am willing to do to sell my product or service.
It was this article that caught me eye..."Where are all the men?" It is an overview of the issue within China of a higher ratio of men to women from their preference for sons vs. daughters. While the one child policy has also led to this imbalance, it's not covered within this article - but what is real is that there are more men than women and the result is the selling, trafficking, and kidnapping of women to the highest bidder. Yes, women are still for sale.
The mixed message comes as this article is in Marie Claire - a magazine for young women surrounded by ads for products that all support the idea that the more physically beautiful a woman is, the more value she has. Ugh, when will we as women stop responding to this kind of advertisement?
I was recently reviewing the marketing focus for a makeup company that had all the right values to inspire this new breed of women that is emerging - social cause, sustainability, and a positive use of the earths resources. But their marketing was all fall back on traditional make-up focused advertising - a young Hollywood actress for a spokesperson, the exact same look and feel to their website and marketing materials as every other customer of the New York PR firm that represents them, and absolutely no tie in to the very values they espouse on the company mission page.
It's like the chicken and the egg - which came first, or rather, which is willing to go first now? I think there is a lot of agreement that we as women don't really value being valued as objects or just here to fuflill a role in the man's world. The men who bought wives are shocked when they run away. In their minds, they were all happy together.
But, (and this is for the women, because only we can change this) when will we value ourselves enough to stop responding to the messages from companies that we need their products to feel okay about ourselves in the first place?
Here is the great risk - what if business went first? What if a business, like the make-up company, stopped telling me I should use their make-up to feel as beautiful as a 20-something actress who has done nothing of value to or for this world and rather celebrates all ages for who they are and not just what they look like?
I started asking women over 40 how they feel about those ads. They all rolled their eyes and grunted - but will still buy the products because wanting to feel and look our best doesn't mean we buy into the idea that is is our only value in this world.
And the real message - don't expect any brand loyalty from those customers. We all go where we want when we want regardless of brand when we feel that the brand doesn't understand us or respect us enough to meet us where we live and not in the fantasy land of being 21 forever....
At the end of the article on China, it was often the women who were more defensive of the idea that sons were of greater value. But in their society, it is the son who takes care of the mother when she is old. That same message is still conveyed in the west - that a woman is safe when she has a husband to care for her. Of course, anyone over 40 knows that is funny and not true, but we all wanted to believe!
Integrity is a very tough subject to talk about and even harder to act upon. Money has been the driver of our society for so long many no longer even consider what the cost is in terms of life for all. But nothing changes until the brave and courageous go first. Great rewards require great risks. It's just a sad statement that to live and do business with integrity is even risky at all.
I don't watch TV or watch sporting events - no surprise if you know me! But, even in the vacuum I live in, I can't escape Superbowl Commercial Mania!
The #1 spot this year was Budweiser's "Brotherhood" featuring a man and a horse. (by the way, brotherhood is just a more man friendly way of saying relationship...) But it is a journey that tugs on the strings of the heart.
You don't have to love horses or beer to want to watch this - as evidenced by the amount of viral traction it got the very day it went online. So ask yourself - do you feel like you are being sold a product or told a story? Not rocket science is it.
Second question - which do you prefer?
The branding of the Clydesdale and Budweiser has been an ongoing relationship with the American audience for decades - so it is easy to connect this story with a product.
And that is what the trends are showing - build your brand and attach it to an emotional experience or core value - and tell a story while you do it. It's the combo that is winning and you are seeing it over and over.
The days of the hard sell are coming to a close with the power that the internet holds in our ability to leave very quickly anything we don't want to watch. Make me care or want to watch or bye bye...
In my social worker days I spent three years with moms having babies. A lot of those babies were drug babies and a lot of those drugs were methamphetamines. The number one piece of advice I would give them is "structure and consistency."
In that three years, maybe two moms knew what I was talking about. Fast forward to today and talking to you about marketing, the number one piece of advice I would give is content and consistency.
What is the secret in that formula? Consistency. Okay, no big secret but really hard to actually do it. Ask the most successful people how they got where they are and why and they (okay most) will tell you they just put one foot in front of the other and did the next thing there was to do.
So, just because you know something doesn't mean you do it. We all know less junk food is better than more and more exercise is better than less - but what we do each day may not exactly reflect the fact we know this...
With all babies really, the more structure they have (meaning the same routine daily) and the more consistency they have (meaning they do that routine at the same time daily) the less anxiety they have and the less stress they have due to the uncertainty of when they will eat, get their diapers changes, etc.
The same is true for horses or dogs - the secret to success is being consistent with your energy, with the routine in which you care for them, and the daily schedule that you do it in. Your lack of consistency equals more anxiety for them.
Babies, children, and most domestic animals will let you know when you are being inconsistent. You may perceive it as their problem, but 99.9% of the time it's the human. The behavior is just a reflection of what is actually happening or not happening, consistently.
The same is true for marketing. The more consistent you are with your implementation the more your customers and clients will trust you. The less stress they have about trying to figure out who you are, what you are doing, how often you are going to do it, and where you are going to do it, the more they can relax, trust you, and - build a relationship that is consistent.
Your behavior and choices will always be reflected back to you by both your personal life and your professional life. The formula is consistent - the problem is are we willing to acknowledge it? Simple yes, easy - no way or else none of us would be here trying to learn more!!!
I've just finished reading several blogs on marketing advice and am finding myself irritated, again.... It is not that they don't speak truth, they just don't necessarily speak "the truth I want to hear, practice, and follow."
It is the same issue that has plagued my professional life, my personal life, and my personal journey - which is a spiritual one. It is the same issue that plagues yours - but you just may or may not know it yet.
I have been given the rare opportunity to share the end of life with many, many people, animals, and the families that loved them. The true gift? What we really want gets crystal clear the moment we lose what we love the most.
What we do with that gift will determine how we will feel when it is our time to leave this world. Let your self receive it, and you will be blessed. Refuse it and you will lose years or decades chasing goals that only take and don't give. I've lost count of the elderly men and women, alone in a nursing home or apartment, as they live out their regrets day after day in the depression that is their constant companion.
We are not separate from our work, our home life, and our own personal goals. You may compartmentalize these aspects, but they all live within you.
We are not separate in effects of our choices, decisions, and priorities. You may not see their direct effect immediately, but one honest and clear look at our world will witness what we all have built together.
Nor are we separate in our ability to change the direction we are all taking.
Every day is a choice. Will we follow the path that is easiest or profitable or popular? Or will we lead a new path that is right and good and purposeful?
Here's the great lie that no one understands until something really bad happens. Most of us as humans put a lot of time, energy, and money into ideas we think we need, but rarely what our heart and spirit want.
But how can I do that and pay my bills? If it was an easy choice, we'd all be doing it easily.
The gift, living a life of purpose, value, and blessing is not one that requires sacrifice, but it does require courage and a change of mind on what is most valuable and why.
So, here I am doing everything wrong if I were to follow "real" marketing advice by sharing what I love and asking for nothing in return....but I am happy, free, blessed, and joyful - are you?
There is the other version that says, "do what you love and the money will follow," but this is a post about marketing, so I'm adapting! And love I think is what is missing from almost everything these days.
You say, who has time for love when there are customers to convince to buy your products and clients to hire you for your services? In the words of Dr. Phil, "how's that working for you?"
Below is a video posted about Shawna Coronado at a TEDx talk. And, while she is really talking about an entire span of time for business, I want to highlight the standout message that I heard and hope you will too.
In the initial phase of her business, before it really was a business, she talks about neighbors coming outside and giving her a hug, being inspired, and - here is the big one - connecting to both her and the bigger goal of love in action within a community.
There is a big, big difference between selling a product for profit and sharing what you love with others so that you will both benefit and win. One takes without giving, the other gives while increasing value for both.
The miss in the world today is thinking that love = losing something and that profit = taking something.
Love + Profit = Changing the world.
The change is one in which everyone wins and no one loses. I can't think of a better marketing plan than that, can you?
This will be the most radical sentence you read today. The purpose of life is not about profit. There, it is said. Yes, you say you know that - but do you live your purpose in life? Or, like most people, do you live to make a profit?
Profit is not the problem. Profit as our true purpose is where the real breakdown in this world has come. I want to take a moment to remind all of us where purpose and profit could meet, rather than where they normally meet.
Let's say your product and purpose is selling shoes. How can you do that to make the highest level of profit? Advertise how great the shoes are. Pretty shoes, cool shoes, functional shoes, and celebrity named shoes. Okay, maybe you are the latest and greatest or maybe not. The measure of your success is normally marked by profit made on a product.
But there is another way to sell shoes. What if the focus was not on the shoes, but how you sold them? This is where purpose and product and profit start to switch places. The purpose becomes the end, the shoes the means.
Instead of selling a shoe, you are promoting an idea. Let's say your idea is to help kids who have no shoes. You are tying your product to a Core Value. The Core Value is what you are selling, not the product. But the profit from your product is the fuel for your purpose.
This is what Tom's Shoes has done. Tom's purpose was to do good. Good requires money to fuel it. So he created a product he believed in (the means) to promote the purpose he believed in (the ends) - giving people with no shoes, shoes. The top of the tier was the idea or message or core value. The profit is really the bottom of the tier; it is only the fuel for the bigger purpose.
This is also what Zappos.com has done. They sold shoes online. The initial goal was to sell shoes for profit. But then the goal changed. The goal became great customer service. The real core value in this idea is respect for the customer. Respect for the employee. Zappos.com doesn't sell shoes, they promote respect, good will, and quality of service. The shoes that sell create the profit that fuels the purpose - respect of human as customer and employee.
I've bought several shoes from Zappos.com. On one pair of boots, the zipper didn't work properly. When I called about it I was told this was the last pair in that size. Then, something amazing happened. The woman on the other end of the line suggested I go to a shoe repair shop and if the price was reasonable, Zappos.com would pay for it.
What they bought in my respect and appreciation for what would have been just a few dollars was worth a lot more. And, I fixed the problem, so it cost them nothing but a few minutes of their time. But we both gained from that interaction and the gain was not in money or product - it was good will that can't be bought, but only earned.
I think this world could do with a bit more respect and good will, don't you?
Welcome to my Journey!
I'm inviting you to join me on my journey as I seek to find a new way of being in an old set of systems. It's hard, but worth it!