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This IS Marketing

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

As I boarded the long-haul flight, I kept my fingers crossed that I’d get some sleep before we landed. So it was a relief when my fellow passenger, Don, declared his intention to do the same. We agreed that we weren’t anti-social, just two pragmatists trying to come away from the journey in the best shape we could. But halfway through dinner, probably as we were flying over Singapore, my travelling companion seemed to change his mind. Don started opening up about the difficult meeting he was heading to as soon as we landed the next day. He and his business partners ran a successful engineering company, but they couldn’t agree on the best strategy for ensuring its sustainable growth. Don was worried about what would happen next. He sensed trouble ahead.

After he realised he’d been talking about himself for quite some time, Don apologised and asked the question we, especially us marketers, love to hate. ‘So, what do you do?’ It’s always easier to answer this question if your job title is your job, even if the title doesn’t convey your contribution to your community and the world. As marketers, many of us have the added problem of almost feeling ashamed of the answer. When I told Don I worked ‘in marketing’ his posture shifted.
‘Oh, that’s all just smoke and mirrors,’ he said.

The irony, of course, is that we’re all ‘in marketing’. Don is too. Marketing isn’t only about selling. Marketing is about helping. It’s about having the courage to show up with vulnerability. It’s about telling stories that change people. It’s about helping them to make decisions they won’t later regret. Marketing done right is an act of generosity. It’s work that matters for people who care. But that’s not the marketing most people experience and not the kind of marketing many people practice. It’s up to us to do better. To do marketing we’re proud of. Because we can.

If you’re on a quest to do work that matters for people who care and if you want to be a proud marketer, then Seth Godin’s new book This Is Marketing is for you.

It’s impossible to quantify the impact Seth’s work has had on millions of people around the world. People like you and me. I wish I’d had a copy to Seth’s new book to give to Don on that flight. I know it would have helped him and his colleagues reach the place they wanted to go. I know it will help you too.

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