I think the only kind of acceptable evangelization is the evangelization of good example. – Andrew Greeley
You know the story of the person who built a better mousetrap and how the world beat a path to their door. You also know it probably would never happen that way. You’d build the better mousetrap and then spend ages trying to convince funders to give you the money to manufacture it and then ages persuading retailers to stock it and then more time appealing to shoppers to buy it. And then one day, you tip the balance and orders go through the roof and you’re hailed an overnight success and it only took two decades to get there.
If you do anything at all these days that doesn’t involve just working for someone else exchanging your time for money then you have to get used to the idea that you need to let people know about you. You need to do the equivalent of evangelizing – letting others know about the thing you believe in and care about and give them the opportunity to experience it for themselves. Or you need to find someone who believes in what you do enough to go out there and sound the message for you. But it’s better, if you can, to do it yourself.
But what’s the right way to do it? Do you rush out and get yourself on every channel there is? Do you shout very loudly, create lots of material, do crazy things to get attention? Do you try and sell yourself – persuade people to believe in what you say or do you create a message that you think they want to hear – manufacture a product that you think will sell or, easier still, manufacture a message you think they want to hear?
All that takes effort – too much effort – and while it probably works the question you need to ask is whether it’s worth doing. I remember meeting a person once – a person who worked in a different market and who described what he did in his business. What he was doing wasn’t right and I will always remember his thick lips – he licked them as he talked about what he was doing, with evident satisfaction, and it was repulsive. The wrong work with the wrong attitude. Don’t do that.
What works, in my opinion, is simply talking about what you do and showing your work – showing how you go about what you do. A thoughtful, reflective approach to your work, a critical appraisal of what’s working, what’s hard and what you’re trying to achieve will get you more credit in someone’s mind than any amount of hard selling. I think that’s what I think of when I think about you evangelizing your product – it’s being there, talking about what you do. Being discoverable by people who already know they’re interested in what you’re offering and those that aren’t sure but are willing to find out more. The others don’t matter – they aren’t your market.
So, assuming that you’re going to put yourself out there in the right way – in a way that is “authentic” – what are the elements of marketing that matter for you? I think I’ll look at that in the next post – what do we need to do to make ourselves discoverable?