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Aren't We Always Marketing Ourselves?

convinced.jpgOver the weekend we spent some time Christmas (oops) Holiday shopping. Of course, the mall was packed and the stores were full of people making decision on what to buy the people they care about.

Being so cramped with other people, I couldn’t help but here the conversations they were having about gift their gift selections.

“I think we should get this sweater for mom.” “Don’t you think Jas would love this truck?” “How much should we spend on Aunt Jennie?”

Everywhere I turned I heard questions like this. And while they may seem perfectly normal and benign, I got to thinking…

Aren’t these people marketing themselves?

Sure, none of them were actively promoting their business or selling their products to each other. On the contrary, they were trying to sell other companies products to each other.

But what they were doing is promoting their opinions; selling their ideas. Isn’t that marketing? And isn’t that what each small business owner is trying to do – market their ideas of how to solve your problems?

What do you think? Are you convinced?

image Are You Convinced by yueproduction on flickr

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Comments

  1. Douglas Karr says:

    I agree! Much like every link on a web site IS a ‘paid link’ whether or not money exchanged hands. 🙂

  2. Douglas Karr says:

    Definitely Dawud. Having my own blog has been a true career-maker for me, I’m much more respected and valued than I ever was before. A blog (for me) is an outlet, but it serves as a fantastic medium for my ‘personal brand’.

    @Matthew… sexually works as well. I’ve seen many a pretty face get some nice coverage on videocasts and through other sites. The MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog widgets are like a HotOrNot magnet. 😉

  3. Very interesting observation. Never thought of it that way but yes it’s actually true. Those people were promoting their ideas about solving problems, gift related problems in your example but nevertheless problems, so it is marketing.

  4. I would think, ideally, business owners are trying to market their ideas of how to solve consumer problems. But this is easier said than done!

  5. I know I market myself 😉

    stumbled

  6. Every time I call myself Cheerful Monk I’m marketing myself, but I’m not always trying to influence other people. I’m often fully immersed in the present moment, doing something for its own sake, for the sheer joy of it. So “always” is too strong a term. 🙂

  7. Zaharije,
    That sort of changes how we might look at that ‘dirty word’ marketing, huh?

    RJacobsen,
    It is. From what I’ve seen you have to be very clear, first, what problems you have solutions for. More clarity often equals more opportunity.

    Matthew,
    Thanks for the Stumble. How do you market yourself?

    Jean,
    Perhaps it is. And yet, in the chance of being presumptuous, even your comment is a statement ‘marketing’ how you think. Just as mine is about what I see and how I think.

    Douglas,
    Exactly. I think people shy away from the thought of promotion or marketing as being bad terms. But promotion isn’t a bad thing. Rather it just is what it is…an attempt to bring people to your side of seeing things. Wouldn’t you agree?

  8. besides sexually? lol

    Online I constantly market myself and ideas obviously. Besides that you basically market your opinion or idea, because you think its the best 🙂

  9. Yeah I think I need to step up my game and start posting some revealing photos.

    Maybe I can make those hottest bloggers list

  10. Jean,
    Yeah, I agree! Making comment is already a form of promotion either for human reader or searching engine.
    I was laughing when I read Christmas (oops) holiday shopping. Why couldn’t we use “christmas”? We all did that when we were little kid 🙂
    http://www.printingcenterusa.com

  11. Matthew,
    I had a feeling sex might come into it. I would say use what you’ve got – just be sure it’s in alignment with your honesty and integrity. It goes without saying that ‘beautiful people’ do tend to have an upperhand.

    Douglas,
    I’m with you. I can’t even measure the increased reach my blog has given me.

  12. Dawud,
    Of course, when I make comments I’m marketing. But I spend even more of my time doing things for their own sake, with no thought of trying to influence other people.

  13. I was part of the ERP solution revolution in the mid to late eighties when we had the mantra of Total Customer Satisfaction through logistics and personal transformation. In the latter part, every employee was asked to become a customer to everyone he comes across. In other words,every one was a marketer and everyone at the same time was a customer too. Just imagine this attitudinal shift. The kind of relationships that were established for the short term for the specific transaction and surprisingly, many of the relationships went on to become long term ones too. You are absolutely right, everyone is marketing himself all the time and if he would consider that the other person is a valued customer, many negative things in human relationships will simply disappear.

  14. No,I’m not convinced. We are not always marketing. Just speaking an opinion is not the same as actively promoting. Two very separate things.

    Allie
    http://www.smellstickers.com

  15. Marketing in the positive sense is all about giving. Giving help, ideas, tools and anything of value.

    I think when people are shopping for gifts if its a positive experience they are focused on what they can give of value to the other person.

    Its a problem when people get tired and just buy “anything” just to get it done or they worry that they haven’t spent enough and they will look cheap.

    So- yes there is positive marketing and not so positive marketing. I think we all have experienced both.

  16. Even when we meet new people its basically marketing ourselves too…

  17. Jean,
    I can’t argue with you about what happens inside you – that’s for certain. Yet I still can’t help but feel that all of us, every moment, are promoting our own ideas, our own realities, our own perceptions as being the ‘right one.’

    Vince,
    We can certainly use Christmas. I was just poking fun at the over sensitivity that was in the media last holiday season around using the word Christmas.

    Home Recording,
    What a great exercise. I’d love to hear more about the results.

    Allie,
    Keep in mind we’re talking about the promotion of ideas, constructs, opinions, etc. So how is sharing an opinion not promoting that opinion?

    Kaya,
    I know I have. Doesn’t it seem like the words marketing and promoting have some sort of negative connotation to begin with?

    DeepFreeze,
    Exactly. That’s my point. Now how we choose to move forward from that point is what’s interesting to me.

  18. I don’t believe they are marketing themselves, I think that they are just expressing their opinions. I always think of marketing as more direct advertising not a discussion. Just my thoughts.

  19. I guess I have a very specific thought around what ‘marketing’ is. The very word ‘market’ conjures up images of a marketplace- with stalls, shopkeepers, hawkers, long conversations/negotiations over tea.

    When I think of ‘marketing’ I think of putting ourselves into the marketplace. So, in that case, I think sometimes marketing involves selling and promotion, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    And sometimes influencing or relating to people has nothing to do with the marketplace.

    However, I agree that we are always in relationship with others, and how we act affects each other- sometimes with conscious intent, sometimes not. 🙂

  20. Laser Hair Removal says:

    I liked your thinking, the way you transformed a normal shopping mall conversation which we all have done at some point or the other into a marketing strategy. Good going……..

  21. That’s indeed what eg meetings are all about 🙂 marketing ourselves, leaving a footprint by handing over our business card.

  22. Never thought about it before :-). Sometimes being observant with the things around us helps us think and eventually gives us answers to some questions or observations we have…
    Thanks!

  23. Sure, I agree with you, Dawud, that one of our deepest human needs is acceptance, and there’s little that says acceptance like hearing “I agree with you.” In many ways our egos are engaged in trying to get agreement and harmony from others, so that we can have that acceptance we all thirst for so much.

    And, hopefully, in our best moments, we’re can grab hold of our egos, and instead open our hearts in acceptance of what is, be able to receive, rather than try to change the people around us.

    I’m guilty of both. 🙂 Both in these comments, and elsewhere in my life.

    I’m still not sure I would use the word “marketing” or “sales” although your use of them certainly brought a certain amount of attention to them, and there are similarities, for sure.

  24. “Yet I still can’t help but feel that all of us, every moment, are promoting our own ideas, our own realities, our own perceptions as being the ‘right one.’ ”

    Nope, I firmly believe I can’t believe everything I think. I spend a lot of time trying to understand other people’s realities, through listening, watching and reading. I love the Buddhist concept of “beginner’s mind”…get out of our preconceptions and try to see things with fresh eyes. That’s one of the concepts I’m exploring at Cheerful Monk. And that’s what that blog is…an exploration, playing with ideas. You could call that marketing my idea of exploring and keeping an open mind, but I’m not doing it because it’s “right”. It’s just something I love to do. It’s an extension of my journal writing, with added bonuses…of being able to include pictures that move me and of connecting with other people.

    Thanks for asking. 🙂

  25. It is really human nature to try to sell what we like. I think it probably ties in with our deep internal desire to be accepted.

  26. Jean,
    I think you’re missing my point. Just your perspectives of ‘I can’t believe everything I think,’ the ‘beginner’s mind,’ or ‘I’m not doing it because it’s “right.”‘ are promoting your beliefs. I’m not saying anything more than that. No judgement. Just that whenever we share what we know, we’re promoting what we know. Otherwise we wouldn’t share it.

    I love conversations that stretch our perceptions and beliefs. Which is why I write about them from time to time. This one is doing that. It’s making a point of something that’s absolute human nature, as Terry Reeves said above, using language we wouldn’t normally associate with a subject.

    You’re, of course, free to think the way you do. Trust me, I’m the last one who’s going to call your way of thinking wrong. At the same time, this conversation has the potential to look at a topic differently than you may have considered. That’s what I’m offering…

    Terry,
    I agree. And that’s really the point of this post – to think differently about our lives…and our businesses.

  27. Great conversation, Dawud. Thanks. Now let me ask you this: Do you think babies are marketing themselves? What about toddlers? I had assumed a creature would need a defined sense of self to be able to be marketing, but maybe you see it differently. If you don’t think newborns are marketing, at what age did you start to do it?

  28. Mark,
    But you might use phrases like ‘promoting such-and-such idea’ right?

    Jean,
    Seeing that I have a four week old currently – I certainly do. She promoting her needs to us through crying. Absolutely. And it’s her various cries that convince us of the urgency of her needs.

    Remember, I don’t think marketing is a bad thing. I think we’re marketing ourselves, our needs, our perceptions and ideas from the moment we’re born – maybe before. How else do we convince people that our needs, etc are important enough for them to act on?

  29. Dawud, Thanks for that nice response. Whenever you give the word, I shall let you have a complete write up.

  30. Dawud,
    That helped a lot. What about animals and insects and bacteria? Are they marketing themselves?

  31. Its so true..it always seems to come down to sell or be sold.

  32. I agree; so does Robert Middleton, I think. Marketing is just a form of communication, and vice-versa.

  33. Home Recording,
    Contact me and perhaps we can make it a guest post here.

    Jean,
    Don’t know. Haven’t really thought about it. Mostly because I don’t hear any bacteria out there giving their perspectives on things. However, I do hear many homo sapiens giving their perspectives on bacteria.

    J,
    Yeah it does. I think it’s just who we are. It’s not bad or good – just is. And being aware of what is can make it easier to be who each of us are.

    Chris,
    I should ask Robert…that’s an interesting idea. Thanks.

  34. Daniel Forum says:

    I agree with you but I think it is nice to look after people that you care about and think about them when we are on holiday. Buying something for them is just shows that we care. Daniel Forum

  35. It’s somewhat reflective of a consumer society. We are being marketed at every turn, ads here there and everywhere touting why we need this or that. Then when we get this or that, we have to let everyone know.

  36. Suggesting something is like selling the idea on most occasions. But many a times it may simply be that, a suggestion. A suggestion where you personally do not feel too strongly about it, could not be put in the category of trying to sell yourself. Btw, my holiday shopping is mostly an exercise of creating the delicate balance between my bank account and the huge list of family and friends, lol. If only I could sell my suggestions for money. I wouldn’t have to turn down so many actual sellers.

  37. Daniel,
    I agree. And I, personally, don’t think about marketing business all the time. The point I’m making has more to do with how we try to convince people of our perceptions – just as I’m doing now.

    JC,
    True with products. But what about ideas? What about beliefs? What about ways of looking at things? Are we always trying to convince each other of our perspectives?

    Dining,
    I use the idea of selling quite loosely here. I think we’re almost always selling our ideas to each other…I’m doing it now.

    As for selling ideas for money…that’s what good businesses advisors and coaches do – help you leverage your knowledge. Just a thought.

  38. Discount mall says:

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  39. you have a good observation there but i don’t see any marketing there. they were i think only asking, they don’t appear to be selling something. they just want to know if somebody will like it.

Trackbacks

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    […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt Over the weekend we spent some time Christmas (oops) Holiday shopping. Of course, the mall was packed and the stores were full of people making decision on what to buy the people they care about. Being so cramped with other people, I couldn’t help but here the conversations they were having about gift their gift selections. “I think we should get this sweater for mom.” “Don’t you think Jas would love this truck?” “How much should we spend on Aunt Jennie?” Everywhere I turned I heard question […]

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