This past week I was down for a few days with something I’m going to call the flu. Not bad enough to go to the doctor, but bad enough that I felt like crap and productivity ground to a halt. I passed the time by posting quasi-cranky marketing-related rants at HypnoThoughts.com, a social network I have started to frequent.
It became immediately apparent that some members of the site (most of whom are professional hypnotherapists and stage hypnotists) had a dim view of the marketing profession. And who can blame them? When most people hear the word “marketing” they think “commercials.” (For those of you with TiVo, commercials are those intrusive, hype-filled messages that allow you to get to the end of an episode of “24” without having a stress-induced cerebral hemorrhage.)
I’ve been working in marketing and PR for 20 years now. I get it. Normal people do not like advertising, or marketing, PR, or the browbeating pushiness that is the hallmark of the “hard sell.” And why should they? Nowadays marketeers are perceived as only slightly less slimy than politicians.
But I can’t do something I don’t believe in. And I believe that marketing and public relations have the potential to be noble professions.
Most of the marketing I do is pain-driven. Because pain in the here-and-now is the most persuasive emotional state when it comes to making a purchase decision. As humans, we strive to avoid pain before we strive to achieve pleasure. And for most of my clients, prospects in the most pain are what I call the “low-hanging fruit.” If you have a limited amount of time and money to invest in marketing, you’re most likely going to get the highest ROI by targeting the ripe-for-your-solution low-hanging fruit.
Here’s where the nobility comes in.
Two people are standing in an elevator. One is in gutwrenching, soul-level pain, and will pay nearly anything to relieve it. The other can stop that gal’s pain quickly and easily, unbeknownst to her. But unless they speak to each other before they hit the lobby, neither will know how much they could have meant to each other.
My job, as a marketing and PR practitioner, is to help spread the good news to a client’s target audience that “there is a cure for your pain.”
I can help people end their suffering and dramatically improve the quality of their lives, just by communicating with each other.
That is crazy fulfilling. And kinda noble, even.