I believe in the power of the free market to connect good people with good businesses. As Robert Tracinski recently quipped, “The free market: It’s like Uber, but for everything.” And in a free market, marketing is how we bring those good people and businesses together.
Marketing … or magic?
But for many businesses, marketing seems like a foreign language as hopeless to master as Japanese or English. They suspect that really good marketing is so much pixie dust: magical, whimsical, and probably not real. That’s partly because good marketing means good communication and, with so many ways to communicate today, it’s hard to know which ways are best for you and your audience.
Ever-evolving trends, tools, and technology (i.e., magic) simply overwhelm most business leaders. Drowning in information overload, businesses often turn to mimicry, gimmickry, or outright trickery (i.e., dark magic) with unhappy results. And, because they ignore or misuse marketing principles, many good businesses end up with with bad marketing.
So, you need to become a good marketer.
But I’m not a marketer—or a magician!
I know. And, honestly, I really feel for you. I’ve made a career out of marketing, and it’s a full-time job. You already have your passion, your business, your product, and you just don’t have time to become a marketer too. But, please, make time.
Why? Because, as Peter Drucker famously noted, business is marketing. Actually, he said that business is marketing and innovation. That’s my point. You’ve likely got the innovation part—that’s why you’re in business—and you absolutely need the marketing. And, while you should always be involved in the marketing of your business, you don’t have to do it alone.
Here, I liberally paraphrase Steve Krug (from the best book ever written on usability and design).
Almost every business could use somebody like me to help them with marketing. Unfortunately, most of them can’t afford to hire (or rent) a marketing professional. If you can afford to, hire someone like me. But if you can’t, try DIYing with a few of these resources:
What Customers Want
Duct Tape Marketing
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
Don’t Make Me Think**
** This is Steve Krug’s book about web design and usability, but its principles certainly apply to good marketing.
That’s a lot of reading!
That’s true. But you’ll find that most if it is also fun, engaging, and truly helpful.
A word of caution, though: you’ll find a host of people giving you the top 10, 22, or 17 “rules” for marketing. But, if we marketers are being honest, they’re more of what you’d call guidelines than actual rules. And, in my twenty-plus years in marketing, I’ve learned that some rules really are critical and (almost) universal; some become important if and when they’re useful; and others, while still true, sometimes don’t apply to a particular market or niche (at least, without innovation).
So, you don’t need to worry about finding all of the rules. You just need to find your rules—those with the biggest impact for your business.
It’s worth the effort (and the money).
Sincerely and honestly (and enthusiastically) telling your story makes marketing genuine. It brings out the best in your business. It attracts the best customers and supporters. And, I believe, good marketing makes the world a better place.
Invest the time to become a good (or better) marketer. Read, learn, test, try, analyze, revise, repeat. Find the rules that work for you and live by them. Your marketing rules, mixed with your natural creativity and passion, will really, truly, absolutely work—like magic.