Sometimes we are trapped in conventions about what “should be” and there often is good reason for the advice or advocacy for changes in our behaviour or habits. For example, smoking is unhealthy. Tobacco companies have been fighting an ongoing battle by regulators to reduce and eliminate their marketing. More recently, they’ve experienced the pain of regulation-mandated negative marketing: Requiring packages to be dominated by health warnings and ugly images.
On a less dramatic level, we are told to do this or that and follow the relevant rules and trends. Content marketing is in (good for me, I suppose in that this daily blog is among the earliest in the industry); Yellow Pages advertising is out. Or we follow conventions: Groundbreaking rituals inevitably have a group of executives holding shovels, lined up in a row for a photo that will usually only be of interest to the people in the photo (if that.)
More painfully, we see community service initiatives announced and broadcast with press releases. Sometimes the value of the good deeds are in inverse proportion to the amount of publicity the companies expect to receive from their charitable initiatives.
I don’t have too much of a problem with these hackneyed approaches and attitudes even though my choice of words indicates some distaste for them. The issue isn’t whether they are right or wrong — genuine community service is great, and content marketing for most businesses will be far more effective and less expensive than old printed directories.
My problem is they fail to address another aspect of marketing and business success: Are we doing things because we truly care about them, or simply because “that’s the way things are done?”
Here, I look for signs of genuine enthusiasm, curiosity, humility and generosity. The indicator of these traits includes whether you are taking action for marketing purposes, or because you really want (believe) in what you are doing.
Yes, I’ll publish those ribbon cutting and “big cheque” photos and it doesn’t hurt for you to follow the conventions in marketing and business development. But if you really want to soar, you’ll need to get much closer to your heart and less worried about marketing science. Be real. It matters.
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