Some might see it as fun while others might see it as a necessary evil. The fact is that for a business of any size, marketing seems to be a requirement for business success. It seems that people have to know something about what you do and that you exist at all in order to eventually figure out that they need what you’re selling.
So, some see this as “fun” or a “challenge” to see how many people they can get to “like, know, and trust” them; to see how many new contacts they can get and to become some version of “famous”. These people love getting out and talking to people. They love meeting new people aka “strangers”. Any opportunity to meet new people is something that gets them excited. And the rest of us are introverts.
That’s not to say that introverts never like meeting new people or making new connections. We’re willing to do it; it’s just not our idea of fun. And it’s not necessarily something we look forward to doing. Whenever somebody says to me: “It’s great, you’ll get to meet a lot of new people”, I say “Meh”. It’s just that there’s the small talk, and the process of getting to know someone, and the expending of energy just by going out. It’s exhausting! And the potential for anxiety inducing awkwardness…my goodness, it’s a wonder I’ve been willing to go out at all. Whether it’s boredom, or whether I actually want to meet people (new or old) could very well depend on the day.
When someone suggests meeting new people, I’ve often thought: what’s wrong with the people I already know, anyway? Well, there may not actually be anything wrong with them. They’re my friends, family, colleagues, peers…and in some cases it took so long to get them to a point that I like being around them (I mean, the energy that is used getting used to another person) that I’d rather keep those relationships going than invest a lot of energy in meeting “new people” all the time. If they’re new, how well are they going to understand me anyway? I mean, they’re new! The point that I’m seeing start to develop here is that these people I already know are often not paying clients or potential clients – especially since my business is new. So, I get to meet new people in order to bring them into the fold of my business. To let them know that I have something they could use to better their lives and businesses. It sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s about collaboration, and creating synergies! Oh gosh, now I’m having flashbacks of being in business school at university, and I thought I forgot all of that stuff! Business buzz-words have a long half-life. Speaking of half-lives, it seems I haven’t forgotten all of highschool physics either.
When it comes to marketing, my business coach and the marketing book I’m reading sound a lot like my mother when she was trying to get me to eat cauliflower (I could barely type the word, I hate this vegetable so much): “It’s good for you.” Being the rebel that I was, (especially as a teenager) I’d say “Mum, how good can it be if I barf it back up again?!?” Truthfully, I couldn’t even swallow the stuff.
In the case of marketing, I can see their point. It’s good for my business. Marketing is how businesses let potential clients know: 1) What our services are 2) That our services available for a price. As an introvert, to me it looks like marketing is one of those necessary evils.
It means coming out from under the bed so that people can see what I look like; speaking loudly enough for others to hear; letting strangers see me and hear me and *gasp* get to know me. It’s a lot, and it’s scary. When someone says to me “you’ve gotta put yourself out there!” what I imagine is myself walking down the street completely naked with all of my goods out there for everyone to see (stop picturing what that looks like). And what if they want to get to know me more? What if they want to know what’s on the inside too? I don’t know if I have the energy for that. Besides that, “out there” gets me thinking “out where?” and apparently in the world of marketing that’s a good question to ask. Not only would walking naked through the town square be inappropriate for a number of obvious reasons, the kind of people who might enjoy that (or be impacted by that in a positive way) may not be the types of customers I want or desire for my business. They wouldn’t be my target market because what I’m selling is…not that. So, the good news is, I don’t actually have to walk down the street naked. Phew…!
For an introvert such as myself, marketing means meeting strangers. If you’ve heard me talk (or have seen what I’ve written) about strangers, then you know that strangers make me feel uncomfortable. This is the case for many introverts. Strangers are so unpredictable! They could be very nice, or they could be the opposite. They could be great to work with, or they could suck up my energy. And what if…..they’re…LOUD!?! Being around people I know, at least I know what they’re capable of and how to deal with that, and most importantly, how to avoid what I don’t like (or what makes me uncomfortable). Like how I avoid marketing.
There are so many aspects of marketing and different marketing vehicles that make me feel uncomfortable. Plus, I tend to avoid being uncomfortable just about the same way I avoid cauliflower. Marketing in its various forms is so uncomfortable for this introvert that it gives me writer’s block. I can’t even seem to find the humour in it (except for maybe the nakedness analogy). It’s too scary to be funny; the judgment, the scrutiny, the rejection, by strangers!
Obviously, there is a lot of resistance here among the marketing concepts and strategies for introverts such as myself. At first glance, it seems like a lot of marketing activities are made for extroverts. But since I am an introvert I’ve been thinking about it, and it has me curious. So, I’ll be thinking some more about marketing and the different marketing vehicles and communicating my thoughts about them. I imagine that I’ll have a lot to say on the topic and resulting sub-topics as I struggle through the marketing of my business like it’s a plate of cauliflower. Somehow, it will all make sense in the end; even the doing of the marketing itself.