Taking control of your life starts with understanding the power of marketing. Everything in your life is about marketing. It’s more than just selling products. Using marketing to your advantage requires an understanding that the products we sell aren’t limited to things you see on shelves like pencils, phones, food, or shoes. Marketing is woven into every single part of your life. Dating, job interviews, friendships, politics, convincing your wife to cook – it’s all marketing. Marketing at its core is an attempt to manipulate someone into doing or thinking the thing that you want them to do or think.
Manipulation as a word gets a bad rap, it isn’t necessarily a negative thing, and not everyone who gets manipulated into doing something has a bad experience or ends up with a bad product. Think about Apple. Apple commercials are manipulating people to believe that their products are superior to other products, that if you want to be part of the cool crowd, you need an Apple product. Most people who initially decided to buy an Apple product were manipulated by their marketing strategy. This isn’t a bad thing, most of those people ended up very happy with their purchases. When you’re introducing something new, and people do not have any previous experience with that new thing, you need to tell them what their opinion should be. While building that context you are manipulating them to believe your point of view in relation to this particular product. In some cases people already have deep-seated opinions about something you’re trying to promote. In this case your marketing or manipulation strategy has to first cause those individuals to call their original opinions into question before they would be willing to consider your alternative point of view. You are manipulating them to give up their old beliefs and take on your new beliefs. If we’re considering beliefs specifically, there was once a time where people believed the world was flat. Insanely enough, some people still believe the world is flat, despite how easily disproved this idea is. It isn’t a bad thing that someone came along (Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Copernicus) to manipulate people into believing instead, that the world was round. Knowing the world was round lead to our ability to make a ton of additional advances in aviation and weather-tracking.
For your purposes the product you’re marketing is you! In your own life, you should be using marketing techniques to help craft your own brand and tell your own story. You need to take some time to look at who you are today, really analyze what you are doing on a daily basis and how people are viewing that version of you. Try to think of how others will view you based on your behavior, words, appearance, and actions. If the answers you come up with don’t align with how you would like to be viewed, then you need to start thinking of what strategies you can use to change those opinions. If you don’t think people perceive you as confident or intelligent you can simply make sure your posture is good, both when standing and when sitting, and wear a pair of glasses. Even if you don’t need glasses – you can get a pair without prescription lenses. People with good posture are perceived to be more confident and people wearing glasses are perceived to be more intelligent.
There is a book called Drunk Tank Pink that I would suggest you all read (if you use the link to the left I’ll get a kick-back from Amazon too!). In this book you learn a lot about how small things in the world can have a dramatic affect on your actions and in some cases your ability to succeed. I learned a ton from this book. One of the examples in the book talks about how your name can be holding you back from getting the job you want. Researchers have found that people with traditional Americanized names are more likely to get interviews for new positions when applying. The researchers sent out the same resume with different names and the more easily pronounced and recognized names got a lot more activity than the others.
This is where learning about the world around you can have a profound impact on how you compete within it. If you are a person with an unexpected or hard to pronounce name, it might be a good idea to change your name on your resume. In the name area you could show your alternate name and your real name. For instance, the Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau might display “Nick Coster” in bold on the resume and then beside it in parenthesis (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). In this case you are giving them something easy to pronounce and still displaying your real name – in case they need it when checking references or looking you up online. You might be fine using your regular name, but, if you can get an advantage by making a small change – why not take that advantage? The most efficient time to fight against latent racial bias is probably not when you’re trying to get hired for a job. This type of bias is often subconscious and societal. Research also shows that it might not have anything to do with racism at all, just that people feel generally uncomfortable when they encounter words they don’t understand or can’t pronounce. The same issue with resume success was tested against the stock market. Stocks with strange hard to pronounce names performed worse overall compared to their easier to pronounce counterparts. When someone picks up your resume you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable as soon as they read your name.
To succeed with using marketing to your advantage you need to become better at seeing things from someone else’s point of view. Today, this is a lot easier than ever before. If you are going to the bank to ask for a $200,000 dollar loan to open your first business – you can use this to your advantage. You will be assigned the name of a loan officer who you will be meeting, or, you will be given that person’s name over the phone before they call you. Google the name. You will likely find a LinkedIn profile, maybe Facebook, maybe other information. Use this information to understand how this person views the world and cater your pitch to their perspective. If they love fishing you can use some fishing jokes in your pitch. The more people see you as similar to them, the more they will like you and want to help you. If you are a hardcore Atheist and they are a serious Christian, you probably shouldn’t bring up your religious opinions at all, or, you should act Christian – because it will help you. If they see you as different from them, they will immediately like you less, in most cases.
In our lives we do things like this automatically without even realizing it. If you want to get noticed by a guy who plays hockey and loves the gym, then you might start going to the gym and watching hockey to appear similar. If you want to get noticed by a girl that loves cooking and nature, you might plan a nice picnic in a beautiful park. If you want to start looking for better jobs you buy professional clothes so that you can go to the interview and be respected. Not because you love wearing professional clothes and feel most comfortable that way. Understanding more nuances (small things) in the world where you can apply this same thinking just helps to provide you an even larger advantage.
These are simple examples but the extent with which you use marketing concepts to improve your own life is limitless. You can change who people believe you are, you can sell products for revenue, you can become a revolutionary spreading your ideas, a theist preaching salvation, or a teacher sharing knowledge. In all of those examples you can replace the words spreading, preaching, and sharing with selling or marketing and the sentence will still have pretty much the same meaning. When you’re building your future, don’t forget to use marketing techniques to help maximize your ability to succeed. Consider your audience and what you want that audience to do. Use your understanding of who they are to create a plan for getting them to do what you need. In life you are the Director and the Lead Actor – everyone else exists to complete the scene. You need to remember to not only control your own actions but to also keep control of the extras or else the scene will not turn out as expected. Advantages are hard to come by in the world and understanding the power of marketing can definitely give you an edge.
So, let me know what you want to be and send me a tweet with #itstimeformetobe
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