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?

Echo Chainsaws For Homeowners

When people think of the tools they have around the household, they often think about hammers, screwdrivers and nails: devices used to tackle small and simple problems. However, when large problems arise that need heavier machinery, many people find themselves completely unprepared. Many problems can arise outdoors, leaving the homeowner stumped at how to handle situations such as fallen or sick trees. Thankfully, the chainsaws built and designed by the Echo company ensure that if such a tricky situation arises, no homeowner will be unprepared again.

While Echo might not be the first name that comes to mind when people consider purchasing a chainsaw, it is one of the most reliable. The Echo Corporation has built a long-lasting and strong reputation of designing and manufacturing dependable and reliable machinery. The company has been in business for several decades and never fails to improve on their old models while still ensuring that the trusted and tested features remain.

Echo chainsaws are lightweight and easy to use. No matter what job needs doing, an Echo chainsaw can be trusted to get it done. The lightweight design makes it easy for the user to carry it from place to place, which is useful because no two jobs are ever the same. Despite its lightweight design, Echo chainsaws are reliable and durable and can be trusted to withstand task after task.

Many chainsaw companies produce their tools for use by professionals in the lawn care and tree-removal industries, which can leave casual users who purchase the chainsaw struggling to use the chainsaw during routine household projects. However, Echo chainsaws are manufactured and designed with the causal user in mind, ensuring that their chainsaws are simple and easy to operate. Echo chainsaws also special, patented technology to reduce the effort of starting their chainsaws by thirty percent. Another feature that makes Echo chainsaws more user friendly is the Vibration Reduction System, which ensures that the user will be able to use the chainsaw comfortably for a longer period of time, which means getting the job done faster.

In order to ensure that owners of Echo chainsaws get the most out of their machine, Echo has manufactured their chainsaws with a Pre-Cleaner system, which spins out dirt and keeps it away from the engine, which increases the life of the engine and of the chainsaw. When thinking about the tools necessary for those big, out-door jobs, don’t think beyond the Echo brand chainsaw, which is dependable, reliable and easy-to-use and perfect all any job big or small.

70 Percent of Local Business Owners Market on Facebook – Not!

On March 1, 2011, a popular public relations website posted an article based on previously published research, claiming “70 percent of local-business owners market on Facebook.” The headline was shocking, the content equally bold, and the dialog that followed typical of the hype surrounding social media.

Readers began commenting almost immediately. One visitor challenged the assertion, suggesting it should not have been cited without investigation, and the site’s publisher quickly defended the post with a series of anecdotes about an 80-year-old t-shirt merchant, a few local bars and a family diner. From a neighboring state, the CEO of a marketing firm saw the publisher’s tweet and countered with his disbelief. Many of his followers echoed his skepticism.

Within days, this relatively obscure article had been “tweeted” 99 times, “liked” 35 times and “inShared” 117 times, as social media devotees echoed the good news: Facebook is king. Meanwhile, skeptics retaliated with posts of their own. Such is the power of social media. But one has to wonder how many of the people who shared, responded to, or blindly retweeted this post took the time to read the original press release on which it was based, or followed the author’s embedded links to the survey data, posted two weeks earlier. I suspect if they had, there would have been less activity, as a careful review of the data reveals a very different picture.

It all comes down to sample bias – a term used to describe the use of a skewed or non-random group as representative of the larger universe. In the case of this study, researchers confined the sample space to members of “the largest social network of local business owners in the U.S.” The key word, here, is “social network.”

Local business owners who choose to join (and remain active in) social networks would obviously be a subset of the larger universe of local business owners, and a survey of that subset would not likely be representative of the universe. The sampling was further skewed by the method chosen to distribute the survey invitations: email. So, those who participated in the survey would have had to be members of the subset of the social network (subset) who are loyal enough to open and act on emails from the organization. It’s not hard to see why these social networkers might be more likely to practice social media marketing than would local business owners who don’t even belong to social networks, much less participate in their surveys.

Using statistics drawn from a biased subset of local business owners to represent all local business owners is no more justifiable than drawing conclusions on the national rate of alcohol consumption from a survey of bar patrons.

The practice is, however, entertaining. And the results lend themselves well to viral distribution by social media enthusiasts.

In the social media world, mistakes like this are self-perpetuating, simply because they feed the buzz. But who pays the price for feeding the buzz? Perhaps those at greatest risk are the “followers” who view reposts as endorsements. So, next time you come across a startling discovery – particularly one that just doesn’t make sense – consider doing your friends and followers a favor, with the delete key.