I was reading a book by the late Robert B. Parker last night, author of the Spenser series, among others. He wrote crime/adventure-type novels which are, as a genre, kind of like candy for the mind. Like his character Spenser (with an s, like the poet) he had a vast knowledge of the esoteric and eclectic and a facility and playfulness with words that were the result of a life time of working with these building blocks. He had a mastery of his craft.
I spend too much time on Facebook and other internet sites, receive too many emails, sit through too many seminars where I am subjected to the marketing shouts from “instant experts” — people who are better marketers than masters of what they are selling; people who have more self-confidence than they should (or maybe no self-confidence at all and have bought into the “fake it til you make it” mode); and people who have lost jobs in their industry and now have bought a course that shows them how to become an “instant expert” and teach others. (Yes, I am enjoying the irony of the fact that I sell a course that helps people do just this.) In short, people marketing solutions or partial solutions to non-existing problems.
I have studied marketing for decades; I am only about seven years into internet marketing. And I’m ready to hang up the whole business. I see a sea of carnival barkers, shouting, thumping their chests, bullying and intimidating people into buying. I see the gentle sheeple, sharing the same platitudes of self-worth and motivation. I see the more cynical marketers spouting those platitudes and then twisting the messages so that people will feel badly about themselves and buy.
What I don’t see are leaders. I don’t see people who are taking time out to just THINK. I don’t see marketers stopping to ask, “Will this product actually HELP anyone?” I don’t see anyone leading the charge with anything new or revolutionary. It’s just the same old stuff, recycled, repackaged and resold to an audience that is hoping that this will be the Golden Ticket.
I grind out course manuals for national speakers for a living. I am part of the problem. Some of the speakers have good information. Some do not. There are many speakers I do not work with — apparently even I have a line which I won’t cross. (Who knew?) After reading Parker’s novel last night, I knew I wanted to do something better. Was it great literature? No. Was it expertly written? Yes. And I’ve decided I want to spend my time with people who care about their craft, people who care about what they do and the effect it has on others. Most of all, I want to leave the shouting, thumping instant experts behind and find the people who are quietly DOING and doing well.