Step Out of the Marketing Echo Chamber

This article is a call to put more intention into the way we market our products and services – because our actions inform how we perceive ourselves, which affects how we think and act subsequently.

It started with a conversation with a seasoned entrepreneur who had built several businesses, including coaching/consulting and technology.

We talked about the fatigue and skepticism that’s growing around all the marketing and promotional tactics flooding our space right now.

The blueprints and formulas that make everybody sound the same.

The hype that lures newcomers in the door with big promises of rainbows, unicorns and magic bullets; The churn and burn to make room for the next wave of new prospects.

I’m on the list of several “big wigs” in the “coaching” space (just to keep my ears on the ground) and I noticed how they’re pumping out the same cycles of content year in year out launching the same programs – some of them twice or three times a year!

This churn and burn fatigue is getting worse. The cycles are getting shorter. Some marketers don’t even bother to build relationship with their audience.

They may pay lip service to providing value… but we can smell clone-drone marketing from miles away. Might as well just go straight in for the kill.

The intention back in the beginning is threadbare – the collection of motions we’re going through has been stripped of its meaning. It’s hurting all of us.

The “rinse and repeat” makes not-giving-a-crap OK and encourages intellectual laziness rather than evolution and innovation.

I don’t care how sparkly the sales pages are. I care about what comes up at the other end. That’s what I see and hear – from the trenches, boots on the ground:

People get dumped out of the hamster wheel – dizzy, dazed, frazzled; feeling like a loser who takes 4 steps forward and 3 steps back, and not knowing what to do with themselves.

This is not right. We can’t expect to get the whole “running a businesses” thing in just a year or two. (By that I mean really get it, not regurgitating jargons or reciting feel-good fluff.)

Yet this is the “life-cycle” of getting sucked into the machine, got churned and burned then spat out with a scattered bunch of tactics without the experience or perspective to tie them into a cohesive whole.

Leaving those with big ideas and good intention disillusioned, deflated and often out of funds.

We’re done with those 4-video launches, 5-email sequences, 6-figure sound bytes and funnels with a dozen up-sell, cross-sell and down-sell permutations.

I’ve tried them. Sacrificing my voice and seeing the same thing happening to others made me sad.

I wish I had a “solution.” I’m in as much of a pickle as everyone else.

If not more. Because somewhere along the way I’ve fallen in love with clarity, discernment and words…

Not only to do everything with utmost intentionality, but also to express the intention undiluted and unapologetically.

We’ve been around the block a few times. We’re done with the cookie-cutter BS and ready to do something differently – with clear intention to create meaning.

We’re in the gap where the old is wearing out and the new hasn’t fully emerged.

We’re stuck with the same “formats” we’ve grown to be skeptical about.

So much so that sometimes I resist taking action because I feel like I’m just going through the motion.

I don’t want to be pessimistic. I don’t want to throw in the towel.

Yet sometimes, it feels like there’s nothing new under the sun and cutting through the clutter has become a futile exercise in fighting with myself.

I’ve spent a good part of the year “detoxing” from the “how things are supposed to be done.” Maybe the questioning and self-scrutiny only made life harder.

Of course the format of delivery shouldn’t be the hurdle. I want to believe that intention and messaging are what matter.

Alas, amidst all the noise and distraction, we’ve built mental shortcuts to survive. We’re conditioned to tune out.

While we may still have to work with the same mode of expression for the time being, I believe we can get behind on what’s emerging:

Less information, more conversation…

… for how we communicate, and how we’re being communicated to.

Lead with our action, vote with our response.

Wake up, be discerning (no 60-minute webinar can give you the magic bullet to get all the clients you want while sipping cocktails by the pool) and don’t insult your audience’s intelligence.

Don’t spoon-feed your audience stuff that some blueprint or formula say you have to say. If you don’t buy it, why should your peeps?

I started out in the “coaching world” but I never take to those cookie cutter promotional tactics.

The fake scarcity. The “you have to invest a boatload in yourself or you’re a loser.” The “you’re not serious about succeeding if you don’t pull our your credit card now.”

Making people feel like crap, inadequate, wrong – using guilt to talk them into buying more stuff.

Hiding behind the disguise of “being of service” while pulling the fears and scarcity trigger mercilessly.

Most of us are swimming in this same stew, reading the same stuff and letting the same emails eat at us.

What if we step outside of the box and ask better questions?

Break out of the echo chamber. Step back for a broader perspective.

Go back to asking – what matters?

What’s Haunting Your Business?

Lot’s of businesses have ghosts of things past that haunt them on a daily basis. In fact, there are probably a few ghosts or goblins hanging around your company. Even when you don’t see them, they can hide in plain sight and hold your business back from reaching its full potential.

These are not real ghosts (if there is such as thing) but shadows of poor decisions, past employees and customer relationships that died a slow painful death. The shadows of these events color employee perspectives, inhibit risk taking and undermine motivation.

Like most entrepreneurs, I’m an optimistic and prefer to look on the bright side rather than dwell on the past. If you feel the same way, you may find it challenging to think about exorcising the demons you can’t see when there is a new deal to chase or a fresh opportunity on the horizon.

Even so, it pays to take some time periodically to go ghost hunting and you can free your business from these pesky and potentially painful echoes of your business history. Things that can haunt your business include the ongoing effects of…

  • A bad-apple employee who undermined trust and disrupted your company culture.
  • A poor manager who was divisive and created lasting walls between team members.
  • A customer relationship that soured, leaving bitter feelings behind.
  • A partnership that derailed, unraveling business opportunities and hurting revenue potential.
  • Legal issues that contribute to a culture of fear and reduce risk-taking or innovation.
  • Financial challenges that undermine investment opportunities and inhibit growth.

To get rid of these ghosts for good – or stop them from taking up residence in the first place – try this:

Discuss and debrief. When a business faces a setback it is tempting for employees and management to deal with the issue by pretending it never happened. A healthier approach is to acknowledge the event with a debrief session that allows people to express their feeling and observations. Sharing the impact of the experience allows people to unburden themselves rather than dragging extra baggage around and suffering from the excess weight they’re carrying..

Learn the lesson and move on. Every situation holds lessons to be learned, but in the rush to “get back to business” its easy to lose sight of them. Use your debrief sessions to uncover that was really learned by your team, even if this process requires some probing, poking and prodding. Once you find the lessons, work on internalizing what you’ve learned so you don’t end up stuck in the past, repeating old mistakes.

Undo the damage. Even after you learn the critical business lessons from these events, the damage can echo on. Watch for ripple effects that linger. These may include subtle cultural shifts like hyper conservative decision making, employees fearful of retribution when risks don’t pay off or a general reluctance to stretch outside the norm. If you notice your team is boxing itself in to avoid repeating a painful past, tackle the problem head on. Address the issue openly and encourage a return to a healthy environment.

What Happens When Echo Boomers Take Over The Workforce?

A funny story came up the other day while I was talking with one of my daughters. We were reminiscing about the first time our home got the internet. When the internet first went mainstream my husband brought home a box and put it in front of my 2 daughters and said,
“Girls, I bought you the internet. It’s in this box. Have fun!”

It just makes us all laugh to think of the internet all contained within a little box. In fact, the product my husband bought was actually called, “Internet In A Box.”

How far we’ve come! Now our kids grow up with access to the internet and other technology at an early age. One colleague actually told me that his kids don’t have crayons, they color on the computer!

What’s An Echo Boomer?

The Echo Boomer generation that started with their internet in a box has bought into the technological revolution hook, line and sinker. They are the largest generation of young people since the ’60s. And they are beginning to come of age. They’re called “echo boomers” because they’re the children and demographic echo of their parents, the baby boomers.

Born between 1982 and 1995, there are nearly 80 million of them, and they’re already having a huge impact on entire segments of the economy. And as the population ages, they will be become the next dominant generation.

Keeping Up With The Dominant Force

That means the shift we are seeing in the adoption of more and more computerized processes within the workplace is going to continue. The up and coming generation practically has keyboards permanently fused to their fingers. Everything is done on some form of a computer. It’s the way they thrive so that is the direction that companies must go in to succeed with the new labor force of echo boomers.

What Does That Mean For The Rest of Us?

So if the world is focusing more and more on computer technology within the workplace we all need to step up and get with the program.

We’ve done it before!

The boomers have whole heartedly adopted the notion that computers can and do make our lives and the tasks we perform more efficient. Heck, the forefather of the technical revolution, Bill Gates, is a boomer. But it needs to go a step further now.

While we’ve accepted that computers are a necessary part of our lives there are still many businesses living in a paper filled world. These paper based practices need to be replaced by technology. As more and more of the labor force is taken over by the echo boomers computerization will not just be a suggestion, it will be a requirement to maintain an efficient business as this generation functions best in a digital world.