Brain Candy & The Art of Marketing

My head is swimming with dozens of great soundbites, ideas and new learning after spending a day listening to 6 completely different, yet complementary, speakers/authors at today’s The Art of Productions event in Calgary… The Art of Marketing.

The one idea, that has been solidly reinforced is that you, yes YOU non-marketing professional business owner, MUST embrace social media & Internet technology sooner than later. And I urge you… sooner is NOW. The most compelling reason why is that you have ample time to get ahead of the curve yet, and be a leader online… but this opportunity to lead will dwindle away. And there is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve missed out on something BIG.

And computing, the Internet and digital media are BIG. In fact, all of today’s experts would agree that Internet technologies are causing the biggest, fastest cultural shift of our time, perhaps any time. Now, I must admit, I feel like a slow technology adopter some days. My clients would say I’m a leader in this arena. And you know… I’m going to finally agree. I am a leader (not an expert, but a leader). Because I tweet, I facebook, I blog. Because I am ahead of the masses, not because I am a marketer. And so can you be. So SHOULD you be.

So, if you are sitting on the fence about tweeting, starting a Facebook fan page, blogging… let me shove you off, once and for all. This is your chance! You don’t even have to have a business to be a thought-leader. You just have to have great thoughts, and be willing to express them.

Many of you are part-time entrepreneuring. Some of you (like me) want to share something passionately but don’t quite yet have the time to go “full on” (I’m on a 3-year mompreneur plan) but this doesn’t make you less smart or less likely to succeed. In fact… I now argue… you have the BEST chance to succeed. Why? If you have NOTHING to sell (yet), you can be an altruistic thought-leader and build a loyal following by virtue of you being you. And when you DO have something to sell one day, you will have built trust, likeability, and knowledge that will translate into online currency with ease.

Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate, says:

When you are most fascinating, you are most inspiring. Refuse to be anything less than fascinating. Express it!

You don’t need a business to embrace how unique, special, fascinating you are. And it is your purpose to to discover it and share it. Sir Ken Robinson, author of Leading a Culture of Innovation & The Element (who I urge to click through to if you are a parent), says:

Imagination is pretty much the only thing that separates us humans from other species. Creativity is the act of “doing”… it is applied imagination.

Think on what Sally and Sir Ken are saying. You are amazing. You are born with innate human imagination, creativity and fascinating appeal. There is nothing and nobody else like you. As a marketer who preaches about the key role your passion for what you do plays in building your brand, this is brain candy! I say hallelujah to any reinforcement that it is the unique self that, once tapped into, is the anchor for marketing any business. And it’s SO much easier to build a brand, a business, and a following when you embrace it before you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, if given the opportunity.

Gary Vaynerchuck ,author of Crush It!, says (many, many irreverent, hilarious, poignant things including):

The Internet is just a baby yet. But what has happened in it’s infancy with the power of Twitter, You Tube, and other social media/search platforms in just a few short years is tell-taling of how we cannot possibly imagine where it is really going. But it IS going. And fast.

And it’s a pervasive baby. Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation, is certain:

 The path of the Internet is NOT to surpass other media (television, radio) but rather become as pervasive as electricity. And it’s not as far off as we think. In fact, we think of certain technologies as the future, but the future is already here.

Okay, so this is all very digital media & Internet focused. And this event was the art of MARKETING. And if you know me, or follow me, I’m still finding at least one foot squarely in the ‘traditional marketing’ camp because hey… we still live, work and play with “protein-forms” (as Mitch Joel says to describe people we see in real life!). And as long as we still interact in a way that we can reach out and touch someone, traditional marketing will survive. But it won’t survive in traditional forms, it must adapt, evolve and change with our new culture-shift.

I LOVE that Mitch Joel and Gary Vaynerchuk both acknowledged that digital media must integrate with traditional marketing, and that traditional marketing is not going away. And more than that, I absolutely connect with Max Lenderman, author of Brand New World, who took us on a journey through the BRIC nations and showed how marketing is so ‘in the community’ in impoverished nations, that North American marketers are adopting grass-roots strategies in similar ways. In fact, Max’s message is the clarity piece to how traditional marketing can evolve:

Allowing customers to experience what you do/have is critical to any marketing mix.

Experiential marketing, according to Max, in the form of event marketing is now the second most effective marketing strategy behind online marketing and that branded events can build a return up to 52%! Max gave many great examples of experience based marketing… from the “bollywood plays” replicating (surpassing) similar tv commercials to sell cell phones in rural, impoverished India to a Charmin’ “experience” via toilets in Times Square, NYC.

If you know what I mean when I say “share meaningful content with your tribe”, then I’m preaching to the choir on my biggest take away. And yes, it’s my biggest take away, not because it’s new learning for me, but because it is a message that needs repetition until it is understood and acted upon! Authentic, trust-based, goodness-based behaviour by business owners and marketers is the ONLY way to not only survive, but succeed, as a business in the future economy. All the speakers addressed this in their own ways.

It all boils down to the same thing.  Mitch Joel passionately declared:

It’s unethical for marketers (small business owner – you are a marketer too) to use “faith-based” initiatives anymore.

This means, stop spending money on things that MAY work… yours or your clients…. when we know the ONLY marketing that really works is marketing (traditional/online – both or either) that connects, engages, adds value to a community that resonates because you took the time to discover and share your imaginative, fascinating, creative self. Gary Vaynerchuk had me nodding my head vigorously as he claimed our grandparents could do better in business today than most marketers because the attitude we all need is “small town think”. I have a completely fundamental agreement on this one. And my belief is, marketing that has always succeeded, has always been this way. Gary says our grandparents knew how to hustle (work hard and fast) and knew how to treat their customers. Amen.

Chip Heath, author of Switch and Made to Stick, started off The Art of Marketing day discussing the myth of change… that it is hard. But he reminded us that, like when we “choose” to get married and then have a child, we EMBRACED the 2 most profound changes we could ever experience in our lives. We may not always like it after the fact, but we embraced it because we were EMOTIONALLY motivated. Connect with that idea, if you have a business or want to start a business. Empathize and honour the emotion behind the reasons we are loyal to an idea and change becomes easier.

And when looking at change, and considering that it is often hard, especially in the face of life or business challenges, Chip says:

In the process of change, find the bright spots. This does not mean “think positive and the universe will bring you what you need”. This is The Art of Marketing not an Oprah episode! But it does mean that once you analyze and understand the bright spots, you can replicate those bright spots.

Today was not a revolutionary day for me… thankfully (it reinforced I’m on the right path for ME). But it was a day filled with inspiration, motivation, and reframing thinking. It was a real opportunity for this former career-marketing-now-suburbanite-mompreneur to step outside the 24/7 business/parenting lifestyle and sit amongst a braintrust and just be a sponge instead of using one! But what I hope is that some of this thinking is revolutionary for you! I will be infusing my classes, blogs and tweets with more insights and exceptional soundbites from The Art of Marketing. In fact, if you search #taom (hashtag + letters taom) you will find many attendees, including myself, repeating the dozens of exceptional thoughts of the day. And, you’ll also find the speaker chirping in and sharing too!

For now, I would love to hear your comments. And remember, all the quoted speakers are authors. I completely endorse their messages. I haven’t read any of their books (yet) but will. My library has grown by six today!

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