Keeping It Real

Mum and I3Recently I published an article on LinkedIn When to Turn Your Back on Your Career. I didn’t publish it on my website because it’s not about marketing. Forgive me if you’ve read it before. I don’t want to be repetitious but it was quite possibly the closest thing I’ve ever had to an out of body experience.

Let’s clarify. If there’s such a thing as an amazing out of body experience then this was it!

As a result of publishing it I realized that I don’t know as much as I thought I knew about people or marketing! Actually I’m not sure I considered myself an expert on people but I did think I knew a few things about marketing.

Here’s a random snapshot of thoughts inspired by amazing emails and comments from people who read that article:

Marketing IS personal   Against my better judgment, I shared a very personal and private story. It was against my better judgment because it felt so uncomfortable. I was mixing two worlds. I was blurring the lines between my marketing world and my personal world.

I was torn. I made a commitment to my marketing world to publish a blog once a week exploring different marketing strategies but I was behind and didn’t have anything ready. I had the story I ultimately published but I was very aware that the story I had written wasn’t just my story to tell. It belongs to my Mum and Dad and my sons too. What if they don’t want it told?

In the end I listened to a voice that has served me well in the past, the one that tells me not to over-engineer. It said, “No-one’s going to read your blog anyway so hit the darn publish button and get some work done.”

So I did.

Guess what? People don’t want to hear about marketing all the time. Sometimes they just want to hear something real. So even though that wasn’t my intention (to deliver something real), it’s what happened by accident. And I’m really glad it did.

When I checked my email and LinkedIn activity later that day I was astounded by the overwhelming response. Not because of the volume of the response, although that was also amazing, but because of the sincerity of the response.

People relate to people   Who knew? I’m poking fun at myself because I constantly preach that marketing is about understanding what matters to people and providing it. I underestimated the value of what sharing yourself with people means.

Makes me sound like a bit of a robot and there’s probably some truth in that. We don’t connect with robots. We connect with people. So mixing my marketing world and my personal world helped some people better understand me as a person who loves marketing. The full picture, not the bit I carved off and showed on my website so that you’d think of me as this marketing wonder woman!

I was reminded that people actually want to do business with real people. People they can relate to and people they trust. Being transparent was my friend but I had feared it would make me look less professional.

People need people   We want to ask each other questions. We want to be validated in our decisions. We want to know that we’re not alone. We want to be inspired. We want to know that we amount to more than a resume.

I gleaned this from the hundreds of comments and emails I received saying so! Thank you.

So forgive my randomness but this is some of what I learned recently. This and that amazing people take time out of their day to email you and comment on your blog when you’re real. Some of those emails have led to new business.

Many of those emails have led to new bonds, great trusts shared, and for me, the feeling that we’re all in this together. That was the amazing out of body experience bit I was telling you about!

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