He bragged, “I don’t have to market my business, it markets itself.”

It was one of those statements where publicly I responded with a polite and affirming chuckle but privately my mind was on the spectrum between confused and shamed.

“Is that true?” I thought.

If a product or a business is created and nobody knows about it then how are others positioned to benefit from its existence? 

Is it possible to have a business without marketing?  Governments market their services even though they are not directly “selling” something.  

Seth Godin defines marketing as “the act of making change happen.”  He continues, “Making is insufficient. You haven’t made an impact until you’ve changed someone.”

Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, provides sobering insight into the “normal-ness” of marketing.  Not the Madison Avenue, mass-media-buying, algorithmic version of marketing that we all feel pressure to measure up to, but instead focusing on what you have, what you could make and simply sharing that with your world.  

Calagione relieves the marketing pressure that business owners feel by warning us, “you’re ideal customer probably wouldn’t believe your advertising even if you could afford to get it in front of them…they are too smart.”

Mass-market marketing is targeted to the average of humanity– what Godin calls “average stuff for average people.”

That is not what we are in the business of.  

Business On Purpose is laboring to liberate business owners from the chaos of working IN their business.  You are laboring equally as hard to deliver and live out your mission– not “average stuff for average people.”

All businesses must “market” if marketing really is what Godin goes on to say that it is; “the generous act of helping someone solve their problem.”

THAT is a compelling definition of marketing.  Replay the naive business owners statement, “I don’t have to market my business, it markets itself.”

For years I have shared with my Mastermind group my disdain for marketing.  It made me feel selfish and gross, not to mention I have never really felt like I am very good at it. 

I can easily design a process for marketing, that is second nature for me.  But to do the actual ideation, capturing, creation, polishing, distribution, tracking, and follow up of marketing…that has been tough and exhausting, but doable.  It’s the guessing, the thinking “will this work?” that is most taxing.

Calagione walks through some of the powerful, non-pressure filled few channels they have used making marketing feel more natural…more serve-like.

  1. Press Releases: a simple written document with some quirky token to simply share with press outlets (think papers, chambers, blogs, podcasts, radio, and television)
  2. Word Of Mouth: when other people simply talk about the value you bring in regular conversation
  3. Failures: sharing your failures can provide some of the most powerful forms of marketing because humility and honesty can often generate enormous amounts of trust and empathy
  4. Hobby Creations and Physical Things: when you make or create something we get to peer into a deeper part of you as a person, then when you take that thing, tie it to your business and share it with your network it gives us insight into your uniqueness.  For instance, I like to doodle and so I doodled our business name in a handwritten design with a 1970’s font. I could send that through one of our marketing channels just for fun. 
  5. Unlikely, Nontraditional: Jesse Cole is the best in the world promoting his Savannah Bananas through unlikely and non-traditional forms of marketing…just google him.
  6. Repeating Your Mission: constantly reminding people WHY you do what you do is crucial.  We are constantly repeating our mission to liberate business owner from chaos.
  7. Unsolicited Testimonials: A client recently wrote me a handwritten note saying, “Thank you for being diligent and pressing me and my team to get better.  I feel like it has all come to fruition and allowed me to leave my business for a few weeks without needing to call back in one time…zero communication.”  It was unsolicited and it is what will encourage other owners.

As a community of business owners we will be well served psychologically to see marketing as not a system to be gamed, but a channel to serve.

May you serve well and liberated from the chaos of working your business.

Be liberated from business chaos at freedom.mybusinessonpurpose.com.

Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose and the host of The Business On Purpose Podcast.  He can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.