Tag Archives: Advertising

My Hermit’s Journey into Advertising

If the idea that Advertising / Marketing / Sales can be used as a spiritual metaphor, I must unlearn my tremendous aversion to it. I hate sales with a passion … to the core. The idea of selling makes me cringe.

Boring Sales

That’s probably because I associate selling with being dragged as a child, along with my siblings, to fairs, conventions, and flea markets. My father expected us to help make sales of whatever new thing he was offering that year. Of course, for us was an exercise in futility. We just did not have “the touch.” While my father delighted in talking to prospects, our prime summer days were spent languishing in dusty halls, or out in the glaring hot sun or in the ear-numbing cold.

We counted the hours for the day to end, hoping desperately to relieve the boredom. We cringed when anybody came by to inquire about some feature of the product we did not know how to answer. Worse still, if dad saw people walk away from us. He knew we’d lost a sale…

Exhibiting at art fairs is not much fun either. I’d be sitting at the exhibitor’s booth, pretty much bored and noticing all the blank faces of people meandering mindlessly past. I’d be passively available, if anyone noticed me. I was virtuously non-intrusive.

On the other hand, the booths that demanded attention received it. I watched the gimmicks of the successful vendors, witnessed the little tricks they used to engage interest. Most of them did what I could never manage–engaging in banter. I silently observed how they used energy to attract energy.

E-marketing

In e-marketing, I can see how an e-mail’s attention-getting headline would correspond to the competing calls of different merchants offering their wares for sale in the marketplace. If opened, the e-mail succeeded in getting past the bored eyes of their recipient. Whether or not the prospect lingers to look at an image or read the content of an e-mail, or moves on depends upon many factors. It’s very subjective.

The spiritual side of advertising challenges this old hermit by asking if I’m being arrogant in my poverty. Do I compensate for and perpetuate having little by feeling spiritually superior to rich people? Is it really a badge of purity not to make a buck?

Updating Old Attitudes

My old attitudes concerning artists and spiritually-oriented people accepting money have resurfaced. For an artist to do very well implies they’ve “sold out” and selling out is considered a bad thing for an artist. With money in the equation, the artist’s work is deemed to be tainted.

I’ve always balked at the practice of placing sales offers at the end of articles in e-mails. To me, it lessens the article. It’s not a true gift if there’s a price tag attached. No, not a gift, a ploy. It’s deceitful. The advertiser pretends they are giving you something for free. Here, take it! But nothing’s free. They are always seeking something in return. They want you to buy something.

Reversing Assumptions

The spiritual side of Marketing challenges me to reverse my assumptions. It asks me: how am I different from anybody else? Is my hunger any less? Don’t I deserve to tout my wares unapologetically, at the top of my lungs, if I choose to?

Like every human being, I have value. I am deserving. So in the end, it’s me I’m selling.

OK. Here I am! Notice me!? I’m the introvert in the corner…

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