The Limits of Traditional Marketing Part 1

One of my Words on Fire clients recently came to me with feedback she’d gotten from another marketing mentor.

It was confusing because her other mentor challenged my client’s desire to focus her work on helping women live radiant lives – “helping wild women who want to dance through life with a sense of ease and grace despite the challenges that can sometimes trip them up and block them from living their most authentic and fully expressed lives.”

The mentor wasn’t sure that “radiance” was something people wanted, would pay money to get. She worried that my client would have to explain what radiance is, and that that would cost her clients.

A fundamental precept of more traditional marketing is “buyers invest in programs that address urgent needs or problems they have in their lives or businesses”. Sometimes it is said that people buy in order to solve problems that wake them up at 3 a.m — ”How do I make more money? Will I ever find true love?”

It’s not wrong, but I think it’s an incomplete or limited view of how humans are and what has them spend money.

It’s one reason, but not the only reason. And when you think it’s the only reason, you limit the possibilities for yourself and for your clients.

After all, why do we buy a novel? Or pick up a new necklace? Or quit a job and move across the country? Or go bungee jumping? Or take a personal growth workshop?

None of those purchases solve urgent problems. Rather they speak to more nebulous, maybe even unarticulated, yearnings.

I see the power in naming and making real for people the POSSIBILITY of having a feeling and experience which they may not have ever put into words for themselves but recognize when you speak it, when you embody it.

It is absolutely a process of trial and error to figure out what we truly can offer and to find a way to talk about it that moves people to invest their time and money with us.

It takes time. It’s more work than offering something that has a lower-common-denominator appeal. (Make more money! Grow more hair! Lose weight! Find love!)

For many of my clients, it’s also a process of developing themselves so it’s not just words, so they embody what they offer. So that when they write and speak people get it, not just intellectually, not just in terms of the words and the information those words convey, but as a full body, resonant “yes” that what they say makes sense because of the energy they transmit when they show up in the world.

I can’t tell you how many of my clients tried to follow the rules of traditional marketing, and made offers that seemed like they would appeal to a lot of people, that fell flat because what they offered was a complete mismatch with who they were, what their real gifts were, and what they cared about.

If you step forward and offer the work you believe you are here to offer, and the right people, your “Thrilled Beyond Belief” Clients, aren’t responding, you do want to keep tweaking and adjusting to find the words that create connection, that create understanding.

But you never want to give up on or compromise the heart of what you are here to offer. You owe it to yourself to give yourself a chance to bring in the work that lets you do what you love most.

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