Friday, September 11, 2015

The "Enough" of Marketing


I’m a first time author, and the launch of my book is seven months away.  I am told that now is the time to “build my platform.” If you are not in the publishing biz, you probably wondering, as I did, what is a platform?  It is a ready audience for your upcoming book in the form of social media followers, an email list, current and former clients, networks and colleagues.  If you are someone whose writing developed quietly, and not within an existing paid job, institution, college or profession, chances are you have a small or non-existent platform (like me).  I know I should feel like I am not enough, but I don’t.  Why?

In my book, Enough,How to Liberate Yourself and Remake the World with Just One Word,  I write about something I call the shift from Expert to Essence.  I write how the expert paradigm is a disempowering one for the audience and shuts out contribution, connection and community.  Listening to an expert speak very rarely leads to profound change in the lives of the listeners.  But participate in solving a problem together, and you are changed by the experience forever. For me, marketing is interesting work.  It can be creative, purpose-driven and exciting. It challenges you to become self-reflective, crystal clear and concise. And if you are “putting you and your work out there” for the first time, it is scary as hell.

When feeling this vulnerable, of course the tendency is to run to experts for help.  This is a good idea unless you are using it as a substitute for learning and growing.  When we don’t want to take responsibility for our growing edge, we tend to seek experts to tell us what to do and how.  We give up our power and reinforce the belief that we ourselves are not smart or capable enough.  So, facing the daunting task of manifesting a decent sized platform from nothing for the first time, now would be a very good time for me to seek an expert, right?   Ok, so I did look for one just to see what I would find, and certainly I plan to hire people who possess skills I do not have to do certain tasks I have no business doing.  But hand over the entire baby?  No.  Especially after what I found as I looked for marketing experts to guide me.     

Let me start with a little disclaimer.  Perhaps it is my newly acquired “I am enough” mindset, but I’ve become much better at discernment.  And I have reason to believe I am not alone in this:  humanity in general is growing rapidly in its ability to better discern reality from illusion.  The evidence is all around, with whistleblowers, the secret lives of celebrities exposed, and the internet’s ability to share and put together bits of information to form an alternative to the mainstream picture of the world. 
But what I am noticing more and more is that if someone tells you they are something that they may not be, we have a bias towards believing them and discounting obvious evidence including that of our “gut” that may be telling us otherwise.  Case in point, Donald Trump.  He keeps telling us he is a winner, calling his competitors losers.  His current pole numbers prove that the public’s natural tendency is to align with winners.  And yet there is ample evidence of many, many failures he has had in the past.  Furthermore, isn’t it more likely after winning office that someone like Mr. Trump would protect the interests of other “winners” over the middle and lower classes, the predominant “losers” of the capitalistic model?  

In the book marketing business, there are many good and talented people, but there are also plenty of illusions to go around – rampant tricks and formulae  that promise to propel books to #1 on Amazon, free gift offers to lure you in, slick P.R. professionals who promise the moon while thinking nothing of emptying the bank accounts of na├»ve first-time authors.  And I am just wondering, how many times have you been offered a free webinar delivered by an expert, only to have to sit through 30 minutes of blatant self-promotion and hype, followed by the most basic, unoriginal “information” in the form of something like “my ten secrets to success”?  I am somewhat embarrassed to report that these kinds of “free webinars” tend to be the norm rather than the exception in my category of publishing – self-help.  Am I missing something? How are these free webinars consistent with self or help?  And how is it a free gift?  I just gave up an hour of my time to listen to someone name drop, talk on about her credentials and proudly recount her anointed journey to the top. This would be fine if I gleaned something of substance, but I did not (and usually don’t.)   That is saved for the paid seminar. I long for a day when most of us can tell the illusion from reality.  I long for a time when a gift is a gift, not a marketing ploy or an advertisement in disguise.

I used to teach marketing to graduate students who were studying training and adult education.  It perhaps should have, but ethics never came up in my class.  I had simply assumed that people always wanted to be of genuine service.  I think I would have been horrified to hear customers referred to as “a platform” (Isn’t a platform something you stand on?  What a visual!) There is nothing wrong with a platform per se, as long as you aren’t mistaking your customers for objects that lift you up or make you rich, rather than as people you serve with humility and appreciation.  
     
I want to take this opportunity to do marketing consciously. The “Never Enough” way is to always make the decision based on what will bring in the most money.  The “Enough” way is to decide based on alignment with heart-purpose, authenticity, integrity and the greater good.  I believe in reciprocity – what goes around comes around.    For example, I imagine bringing people together for juicy, meaningful conversations like “Why don’t I feel I am enough?” or “What’s my enough?”  I imagine bringing to life the principle behind Enough which is paying it forward and giving back. My plan is to offer a free speech or webinar to several of my favorite nonprofits between now and launch (April 1, 2016), then leaving it up to them if they’d like to use it as a fundraiser or a benefit to their clients and members. I imagine giving away some books to good people who I know would be generous enough to buy a book for someone else who they think could really benefit from the Enough message.  And I imagine hearing from YOU about what ethical, spiritual business is to you.  

How do we encourage community, reciprocity and empowerment by how we engage in business?  
How do we stay in the flow of enough? 
Got any good ideas? 
I want to hear from you!     

Thank you,

Laurie

Laurie McCammon is a planetary change agent, blogger, facilitator and author of Enough!How to Liberate Yourself and Remake the World with Just One Word, published  by Conari Press, out  April 1, 2016.  You can contact Laurie with comments at lauriemccammon@gmail.com, Like LaurieMcCammon on Facebook or follow her on Twitter at @EnoughMessage