Holidays for business marketing industry for professionals should be mandatory. The trouble is they don’t happen often enough for freelance marketers like me. We set up at the plate and we swing. We hit that ball over the field and run, run, run.
Before we know it, the very system we’re trying to disrupt becomes the system we pay homage to.
And the longer we leave it, the less likely we’re in touch with the everyday person we become.
So I’m having this conversation with you via written word right now. And I am doing it to remind myself why I got in this business in the first place. I’m doing it to tell myself to take a step back from the plate and consider things from a non-marketers perspective.
The pop-up that smacked me
I love my website. I love it because it provides information that helps business and startups do what they need to do. It’s aim of course is to be the focus of my business marketing endeavours.
But I’ve always placed helpfulness over trying to strong arm leads.
I don’t want to be the top of the business marketing pops. While the rest of the industry seems to love the mini marketing celebrity, I am not a fan.
I’d go so far as to say I’m tired of the whole “Hi, I’m Rebekah. And I can increase your sales by 500% as soon as you tickle the mouse the right way. Because internet” style of marketing.
Being a business marketing professional is NOT a replacement for you being a heart surgeon or the person working to end poverty. It shouldn’t make you as famous and desirable as Charlize Theron. There is no such thing as Wollongong’s answer to Richard Branson. The city hasn’t voted so there is no way you could be Sydney’s most adored freelancer.
No ticker-tape parades thank you.
We might tell ourselves we’re super important to feel worthwhile. But get a grip, please.
We schlep copy. We freelance. We help small businesses with their marketing.
We’re not Batman.
If you’re starting to think of donning a cape little freelancer, I have a suggestion for you:
You need to spend a lot less time in front of your laptop and a lot more time speaking to actual human beings.
Where a lack of break can take a marketer’s mind
For whatever reason* (*comparitinitis with a bad case of the slow week blues) I found myself investigating pop-ups. I was pondering how I could use a pop-up to increase my email sign ups. The aim was to generate the sign up and then sell something to the sign up.
I’d been on a solid business marketing bender for a few weeks. You might say I was a little scattered from over-indulging.
So that special offer would have been a half eaten blog reborn as a downloadable takeaway. Or perhaps a guitar pedal from my partner’s currently shrinking collection. Maybe a photo of me grimacing in shame at how far down the marketing addiction pole I had slid.
That sort of thing.
Anyway, I was skipping through WordPress like a kid with a token for the amusement park. I was looking at pop-up plugins, planning my next empire take over. Then it hit me.
I sodding HATE pop ups.
I get hit with a pop up and I disappear quicker than a ghost at a Ghostbusters convention.
Blammo. Game freaking over. Vaporised.
Pop ups are the bane of my internet existence. I enjoy them as much as the judgement I get for a third glass of wine over Christmas with the in-laws.
But you know what? They work for some.
Word on the street is many pop-up registrations are people giving their details to make the box disappear. Instead of running screaming like I do, they seem to think email addresses will make the bad pop-up go away.
But you get the details, right? That’s better than nothing.
No, no it isn’t.
I hit a site with a pop up, I break an internet land speed record escaping it.
So why on earth would I want to inflict that on people who give a crap about my website enough to read it?!
The perils of business marketing group think
You’d think I would have a handle on group think and its perils by now. And yet, it took a slow week for me to consider taking the plunge. And it took reading some detective fiction for me to realise the error of my ways. (Thank you Cliff Hardy, you saved me once again!)
But all jokes aside…
There’s an amazing movement towards aspirational business marketing at the moment. It’s giving people freedom to launch products that are changing the world. It’s bypassed traditional systems and given (mouthy, opinionated) people like me the ability to bootstrap their business endeavours like never before. And it’s taken the bored and the tired and it’s put them out to pasture in record numbers.
But it’s also created a faux celebrity approach to marketing where people shout “you’re a brand” and mean it. Seeing people can setup a website about nothing in a day for less than a couple of hundred bucks, they are doing it. We idealise business people for being business people. And we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking it’s something we can do, too.
Product be damned! It’s all about me, baby!
As a result, this beautiful super information highway has become cluttered with trash.
No, we don’t have to be perfect to ship a product. Nor should we. But let’s make it product worth shipping!
The days of cash controlling how we got the message out are over. We can and do control content marketing. But let’s not fill up the air waves with stuff we shouldn’t even be selling.
Our customers want real stories, not fluff
Take your cafe or your plumber. Look for your local hairdresser or your multi-national IT device maker. Dig into the Australian startup scene.
Ask any of these guys what they want business marketing to do and they’ll tell you:
- Find some customers
- Sell those customers product
- Encourage them come back for more product
- Inspire them to tell their friends about the product
Notice not one of these answers involves being on stage or launching a book? That is doesn’t include a career on a speaking tour or having their face presented at trivia night guessing games?
That the word product is prominent?
As business marketers, we’re in charge of selling marketing as a product. We want same thing, too.
We want to help businesses with their marketing. Because that is what we do.
We want customers to buy what we do. We want them to come back for more marketing. And to refer us to other customers who want marketing, too.
Why then are so many of us are seeking to be famous instead of sticking to the marketing plan?
So no, I won’t be installing that pop up. Nor will I be reshuffling my homepage. My prices won’t be rising and it’ll be a cold day in hell before you’ll see my talking head on YouTube.
But if you want me to help you with website copywriting or a marketing plan, I’m here. If you need someone to take over your social media or plan out a strategy for you, I am happy to do that, too. If the thought of blogging is about as attractive as shaving your tongue, I’ll be more than happy to oblige.
For a fee of course.
Because I understand marketing doesn’t mean anything to any of us if it doesn’t turn into cold, hard cash at some point.