You've built something amazing. You have a living to make. Your boss wants more sales. That nonprofit you care about, an important one, needs to raise money. Your candidate is polling poorly. You want the boss to approve your project... Why isn't it working? If creating is the point, if writing and painting and building are so fun, why do we even care if we're found, recognized, published, broadcast, or otherwise commercialized? Marketing is the act of making change happen. Making is insufficient. You haven't made an impact until you've changed someone. Changed the boss's mind. Changed the school system. Changed demand for your product. You can do this by creating and then relieving tension. By establishing cultural norms. By seeing status roles and helping to change them (or maintain them). But first, you need to see it. Then you need to choose to work with human beings to help them find what they're looking for.
What's the first thing you think about when you hear the word 'marketing'? Who's image do you see - Steve Jobs unveiling a new product or Bob Odenkirk's character on Beter Call Saul?
Seth takes a different look at marketing and in a way, updates the term. For as long as I could remember, marketing was advertisement. However, Seth defines marking as the generous act of helping people to solve their problem. A chance to change culture for the better. Seth points out that television was invented to hold TV ads, the radio was invented to give radio ads while the internet is the first mass medium that isn't built around interruption and mass. Marketing has changed, but our understanding of what we're supposed to do next hasn't kept up. What happens when an ad finds its way onto our news feed or pops up in the middle of our YouTube video? We ignore it. Maybe, we even dislike the brand as they interrupt what we're doing. Spamming, tricking, coercing doesn't work on many of us, not anymore.
Marketing is all around us. From your very first memories to the moment before you opened this book, you've been inundated by marketing. You learned to read from the logos on the side of the road, and you spend your time and your money in response to what marketers have paid to put in front of you. Marketing, more than a lake or a forest, is the landscape of our modern lives. Because marketing has been done to us for so long, we take it for granted. Like the fish who doesn't understand water, we fail to see what's actually happening, and don't notice how it's changing us. It's time to do something else with marketing. To make things better. To cause a change you'd like to see in the world. To grow your project, sure, but mostly to serve the people you care about. The answer to just about every question about work is really the question, "Who can you help?"
The best ideas aren't instantly embraced. Even the ice cream sundae and the stop light took years to catch on. That's because the best ideas require significant change. They fly in the face of the status quo, and inertia is a powerful force. Your most generous and insightful work needs help finding the people it's meant to serve. And your most successful work will spread because you designed it to.
If you want to make change, begin by making culture. Begin by organizing a tightly knit group. Begin by getting people in sync. Culture beats strategy—so much that culture is strategy. If you can bring someone belonging, connection, peace of mind, status, or one of the other most desired emotions, you’ve done something worthwhile.
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