A friend of mine makes (almost) his entire living from making people laugh. He’s a standup comedian and comedy writer. But when asked by strangers what he does for a living, he often says, “I’m a tax attorney. And, you know, this time of year is just…wow. I don’t even want to talk about work.”
My friend is not, at heart, a dishonest person. He does this because of the uncomfortable follow up questions he gets when he says he’s a comedian. Essentially, it goes something like this: “Hey man. Can you tell me some jokes I can use?” Or, worse, they try to tell him jokes.
While I am not an advocate for lying, I think I may need to start using the same technique. Not because people mistakenly think I’m funny or because I am nearly as interesting. When people find out I work in marketing, they immediately start asking those questions: What’s the best time of day to post to Facebook? Should I get a Pinterest account? How much does a website cost?
The most disheartening aspect of these questions is they are coming from business leaders — people who I know have a vision and passion. They have something inside of them that encouraged them to make the irrational decision to start a company. And they have high aspirations.
But, for some reason, when it comes to marketing, we throw out strategy in favor of knee-jerk scrambling for attention. I think I know why we do this. We fear we are missing out. We fear we are not doing what we think our competitors are doing. They are posting clever stuff on Facebook, creating a presence on Pinterest or getting speaking gigs at industry trade shows. Jealousy is in high gear.
However, I entreat you to look at this circumstance differently. Do not be wooed by new tools. You can, however, take that energy and devote it to something fruitful: Discovering and articulating purpose. The heavy lifting of successful marketing is not in the techniques. It is in the leadership’s ability to clearly articulate vision. And, once you have that in place, the tactics will become clear — almost instantly.
You can start with a simple exercise…found in the links below.