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Do you really know marketing?
If so, there is a 12 step program available in the trunk of my
OldsmoBuick that could change your life.

What do I mean? Why am I addressing this? Well it's simple, but not obvious. If it was obvious we'd all be fine. Us "marketers".

We marketers make a living by helping others get their message out there into the market: clearly, concisely and powerfully to the point. We are great at honing, noodling, improving and provoking. We can create incredible stuff. And we can come up with very inventive ways for breaking the mold, busting a trend, being heard in the cacophony and catching the eye of the jaded, blinder-wearing, tunnel visioned average consumer.

No one can deny it and we have the client book, portfolio of work and industry credibility to prove it. We've been elected to lead/represent our peers, have won juried awards and have caused children to rise up and wield their crayons as weapons. We inspire all and we see that our work is doing what we thought it should. It personifies us and is us. Because it's from the heart, is authentic and well intended. It..Is...Us! So it should represent!

Whoah! Time out! Seriously, take a deep breath....and....hold it.

I've picked up some sage advice from varied and colorful folk through my career. One was "you can only have two of three things from me, if you want me to help: good, fast or cheap. Pick two. You pick any two and you can't have the third". Wow. Great advice. Well here's the two relevant things I've picked up lately that will really work into this "marketing" article.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." And worse? "Expectations are resentments under construction!" How's that for true wisdom?

Now the point of this article. As marketers we have grand and well-meaning intentions to have any work we do literally represent us. Further, the expectations that we put on our work is incredible. It must always speak for us, show others what we do and land us our next big gig!

Hmmph. Resentments under construction? Absolutely. In fact I bet every one of you that has made it this far into this article has literally hated your career at one point or another. Just like me. There's that resentment.

So here's the irony. We know our work is good and representative of our capabilities but we forget one thing....every client we've ever had felt the same way! "Well these blue widgets I make are everything I offer to the market. Can't these blue widgets be my ad campaign?" We argue no and break into our tried and true effort to get a clear communication and integrated marketing campaign out there for Blue Widget, Inc. And it works. But we do something that is the "magic bean" of marketing.

We put a....Call to action in the piece or series or video or spot. We ask for business. And of course it's successful and we're proud of it and we put it in our portfolio and it MUST represent us. There's just one catch.

We marketers never begin at the beginning for ourselves and put a call to action out there. We never ask for work. We don't sign our work, we don't put a link to our site at the bottom of a site we just designed. We don't make a big stink over anything like that. We just hope to get a chance to show off our work to the next potential client and hope they like it.

We don't market ourselves.We don't ask for the work. We don't put it out there that we need work, want work or should be the one's helping "you" improve. We forget that people need to know who we are and what we do.

I learned this because I sent out a newsletter to 1,400 businesses in the area and I got some responses. The coolest being an invitation to be on a panel that did Q&A to an audience that was there learning about marketing.

The gentleman that asked me to participate received this newsletter and called me immediately to ask what is it that I do? He told me what he thought it was and I confirmed. But the fact that he's known me going on 5 years now and never contacted me before caused a big, pregnant pause in the ongoing battle between my ego and id. My mind went idle.

So I asked my dearest friend of all about this and she said that we forget to remind people that we're looking for work or looking for a job or need a project or want to help. We forget to market ourselves.

We forget the call to action.

Isn't irony incredible?

| patrick |


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