Hey friends! Welcome to a special bonus episode of Compassionate Side Hustle Strategy, just to commemorate the beginning of this season and give you some food for thought and gentle action steps to take. Again, my name is Rochelle Sanchez and I'm glad you're back and I'm back and we're here together!
Marketing Q: Do you pass the "Starbucks test?"
What I'd like to discuss today with you is the idea of being in "marketer mode."
So the example I like to use for this, and figuring out if you're in marketer mode, is by imagining meeting up for Starbucks with someone for business reasons. This person is a prospective client, or from the organization that you want to partner with or get sponsorship from. Maybe they're the head of a new and upcoming network of exactly the type of of people you hope will become your future customers.
I'm going to walk you through what that encounter may look like, coming from a compassionate, "let's be human with each other" type of vibe versus a bro marketer who's there to basically close the deal.
It might sound ridiculous to have to say this as a reminder, but generally when I meet up at Starbucks with entrepreneur friends, we're not acting like that we're closing any deal. We know that we're in this for the long haul, and that there have been some messy... really, really messy moments.
If I'm with a friend that I know will be kind and mindful during our conversation, I'm more likely to collaborate with them, sponsor their show, share their stuff on social media.
We speak intimately, somewhat quietly, even.
We chuckle together and say "me toooo!" or we sometimes politely say, "Wait, wait, what did you say just now? What does that mean, I've never heard of it?" And we might pull our phones out and be like, "Oh let me show you, I just saved it."
The conversation in these instances feels casual and down to earth, if it's going well.
There may even be empty pauses where we both take a breath and people-watch. Or if we're feeling very interested we will fill every moment with questions to keep the other person talking because we see how empowered they are, being with a person who actually wants to hear about what they're going through.
We can sense it. We can see that connection, and even in this small, intimate conversation, we can create a safe space for the other person to verbally be as passionate as they feel in that moment.
Those conversations, unfortunately, are pretty rare.
A lot of people I care about who are trying to increase their sales, and raise engagement on Instagram, and get more interaction, are coming off fake and desperate even though their heart may be in the right place.
Some people really do operate this "bro-marketer" way. They don't turn it off.
If we wanna go back to that meetup at Starbucks example, here it is:
They show up in a full blazer and slacks and dress shoes. They talk very loudly. They immediately hand me two business cards with the suggestion that I pass one on to a friend. (Both business cards go into the garbage, by the way. I'm just saying.)
At this rate, they may as well go full level 100 bro marketer. Maybe they'll stand while I sit, because it projects confidence. Are they going to do their "yell-speaking" the whole time? Do they have odd eye contact that seems kind of frantic? Are they not gonna let me leave until I follow them or sign up for their newsletter?
From there, they usually give me an open-ended and very awkward elevator pitch. And so I give them what they want -- the rehearsed audience answer of, "Oh, and what is that?" so they can continue their spiel, using catchy phrases like "stand in your power! Increase revenue. Make more connections."
And if they catch on that I'm not that kind of fish to be caught, they revert to complaining.
They bought that person's course but it wasn't that good. They went to that networking event but no one is as ambitious as they are, or everyone is a beginner, so they left. When they find out that I used to be a tech VA, they ask an extremely specific, personal question about their own system, and they're obviously unimpressed when I say, "I don't know, I don't use Dubsado. I haven't touched it in a while." By the end of the meeting, the volume of their voice goes up a few notches. They do their best at wishing me luck with whatever I end up doing, and we leave, and they probably sit in their car and mark my name as "complete" on their list of networking opportunities and decide that I'm not a profitable lead.
Not so great, right?
And I admit, I have done a lot of these cringeworthy things myself. I'm still embarrassed. I sometimes wonder if the people I "networked" with at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey think I'm still like how I was back then.
I did some of these cringy things because that's what I saw everyone else doing, until I learned that doing what everyone else is doing is actually a really bad marketing plan.
Bro marketing isn't good marketing, people.
Don't do this.
It may have worked well at some point for small businesses to start off in the garage, take risks, pursue every opportunity, study the analytics, and follow the conversions to gain more leads.
In some ways it still does work, especially when you're scaling from six figures to seven figures, or so I'm told.
But I suspect that this kind of marketing also leads people to become billionaires and have a race to go to outer space (inner space?) with their billionaire friends during a pandemic where millions of people have died and millions are going without food.
But let me share what typically happens after that kind of encounter, and maybe you have this in common with me if you're trying to be as intentional as possible with your life, and how you're building your business.
After all that, (and before I throw away the business card) the empath, the feeling artist and professional graphic designer in me recognizes the template they chose when they got their business cards from Vista Print.
And I may have a moment of feeling bummed for them because I know this design doesn't match their personality, but hey. They're trying hard to mask their natural personality anyway so I guess it's kind of on brand for them, in an ironic way?
I think about the ways they could hone in on that passion they have, once they figure out what kind of marketing feels good and is worth continuing, and what was totally not for them and they're never gonna do it again.
I think about how I wish their Instagram was filled with heartfelt talks and recordings of Instsagram livestreams and interviews where they talk about their mission and the small differences they've already made.
But instead, they pre-scheduled inspirational quotes and the same familiar stock photos from that deal we all got off Appsumo that one time.
I sit and wonder if they have kids at home, and if it's a family business they're trying to build. But they're not including any of their family in their branding or content, so we probably don't have that in common.
And I say to you, listening to this, with all the urgency I can muster right now:
We don't have to look or act like anyone else.
Especially if you're a solopreneur or a micro business. You're operating at a very different level than the businesses that are selling $2,000 courses via evergreen funnels and Facebook ads.
My hope, from listening to this, is that if you feel like you have to be "on" all the time, that you give yourself a break.
Most people aren't about that bro marketing life, and most people actually don't even want that vibe anywhere near them.
Keep in mind: This isn't to knock the inspirational speaker persona. The way someone with corporate sponsors and several best selling books behaves on stage or on interviews on the news may be necessary because, well, corporate sponsors, big time investors, and big publishing houses or app developers are their ideal client.
But if you're listening to Rochelle right now on a brand new podcast called Compassionate side hustle strategy, your ideal clients are probably not corporate sponsors, big time investors, and big publishing houses or app developers.
If they are, I'm not for you.
If they're not, but you've been assuming they are and you hate what you've had to do to "fit in" to the entrepreneur space for way too long, and you want to change that, then you're in the right place.
I invite you to check in with yourself: Have you been squishing yourself into the corporate box and trying to fit in with the "big time" people you see in your feed?
When was the last time you created a safe place for you and another business owner to just be yourselves and listen to one another and collaborate on something that will make a difference that you care about?
Something to think about.
Take your time, write down your thoughts on what you wish marketing was about versus how it seems like it actually is in real life application.
If it feels safe for you, I encourage you to tweet about it and tag me on Twitter. My handle is @rochellesanch, just like it is everywhere, and the handle for this podcast is @compassionpod, pretty much everywhere, also.
If you don't have a Twitter account and don't know how to use it, just open an account and it'll seem like a semi-private channel between you and me over there, away from the craziness of Instagram Algorithms and Facebook drama.
So again, the call to action is to check in with yourself on whether you've been squishing yourself into the corporate box and trying to fit in with the big time people you see in your feed.
And if you're feeling called to do so, connect with me on Twitter with your answer this question:
When was the last time you created a safe place for you and another business owner to just be yourselves and listen to one another and collaborate on something that will make a difference you care about?
Have fun with it, take care, don't forget to get some rest. And I'll see you again next week!