“We’re going out marketing today.”
I know, it sounded kind of weird to me too. But that’s what my neighbor said when I asked why he was all dressed up yesterday on such a hot summer day. Apparently, he and a friend had recently launched a business together and yesterday was the day to “go marketing.”
I have no idea what they were planning, but you know me, I don’t make trouble. So I wished him well, told him I’d be at home going parenting, and went back in the house.
I’ve thought a lot about what he said since then and I think what struck me as odd was the implication that marketing is an event. Something you do until it’s done, like going to Staples to buy padded envelopes or eating the last fruit pop in the freezer when your 14-year-old daughter Emily isn’t looking (I’m just saying).
But here’s the thing: Marketing is both easier and more effective when viewed as a way of life (something you are), as opposed to a task (something you do).
It’s easier because the more you incorporate who you are and what you believe into the way you look, dress, speak, write, etc., the less you have to think about it.
It’s more effective because the consistency that spills out of a 360-degree, 24/7, “we’re the same with clients as we are with prospects as we are with the mailman,” way of living, helps the world form a steady and (usually) distinctive impression of what you’re all about.
Consider this example. Last week, in celebration of the fact that my wife Linda and I are both turning 50 this year (I look it, she doesn’t), we got away for several days to beautiful Quebec City.
Here’s the vacation message I left on my e-mail:
Sorry I missed you. Well, not really, I’m on vacation. I’ll be back in the office on Tuesday, July 6th and will pick up your message then.
If this is an emergency (is there such a thing as an E-Newsletter emergency?), please contact Belinda Wasser: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,
P.S. Read my book while I’m gone – it’s much better than I am in person anyway: http://www.itsurebeatsworking.com/download.html
Is this the best vacation message ever written? No, but you have to admit it’s different. Simply because most people in this situation offer nothing but a lifeless, same-as-everyone-else bit of blah, it stands out.
It’s a marketing opportunity. But it’s much more than that.
Because unlike the web sites, blogs, business card designs and other “marketing occasions” on which we all work so hard, the mundane events in the daily flow of running a business – precisely because most people miss them entirely – are there for the taking.
You don’t have to be great to be better (my kind of competition).
So here’s my recommendation: Embrace the mundane. The next time you have the opportunity to record an outgoing voicemail message, or send a client invoice, or fill in a speaker evaluation form, or post a sign on the wall that customers can see … give it a little thought first.
You don’t need to make it crazy. Just make sure it sounds like it was created by the kind of person whom other people would want to meet and do business with. You know, someone just like you.
I’ll be out human-ing if you need me.