I believe that marketing is an innate human trait, and that we can shape the future by training the next generation to be ethical marketers.
Have you ever viewed yourself or your child as an expert marketer? Give it some thought and you might be very surprised.
For many people there is a stigma attached to marketing and sales, but in reality we all ‘do marketing’ in some form or another. We all market and sell ourselves in order to achieve a desired result.
I’ve often been averse to the act of selling and marketing in the past. So I thought it would be interesting to show how marketing is a part of normal human behaviour and is not a separate part of us. Once people get in touch with their inner marketer, I am sure it will help dispel the tensions that arise at the thought of doing it.
So let’s start at the very beginning.
Children are INTUITIVE marketers
As soon as a child becomes aware of what works best to achieve a desired result they will adapt accordingly, using manipulation in its purest form. I’m not for a minute saying this is a bad thing, as initially their desired result is survival. Someone I met who worked in a nursery once described what typically happened in the mornings at her job. Some of the babies and toddlers would be dropped off by guilt-ridden and anxious parents. These children would be sobbing in a heart-wrenching way as their tormented parents backed out of the door. But within 10 minutes of the parents leaving these same children were happily enjoying the toys and each others company, their tears and parents completely forgotten (I’m not so sure the parents were feeling the same way!)
I know this is biology, but isn’t it sales and marketing too? The child sells itself as a helpless human being who, if left for a moment, will surely come to some harm. The desired result for a child is a parent who will always be within crying distance to see to its every need, and they will use whatever methods they have in their arsenal to achieve that result. If a child is a very successful marketer this pattern can be sustained well into adulthood.
Teenagers and young adults are OBSESSIVE marketers
Adolescence is a time when we are all trying to discover who we really are. We try on many different hats and marketing styles in that quest. We adapt and change to fit into whichever group of our peers is flavour of the month. We often pretend to be something we’re not in order to gain acceptance into specific cliques. But isn’t that just another form of marketing (and even deceptive marketing)? We do whatever is necessary to gain acceptance like experimenting with cigarettes or alcohol, even if they make us feel awful. We wear the same ‘uniform’ as the rest of the group, whatever the current fashion might be. By doing this we form a marketing group so that we are instantly recognisable by our brand!
As we get a bit older, we discover more of a sense of self. Then, a division starts to occur – some stay within the same peer culture whilst others take different routes, form their own groups and create other ‘brands’. I have lived through the eras of the mods, rockers, punks, hippies, skinheads, goths – all very different brands and instantly recognisable!
During this time, the hormones also kick in, and love interest becomes all-consuming. If the object of your affection happens to love the colour red, then all the red clothes in your wardrobe get worn to within an inch of their lives. Your whole focus seems to revolve around trying to get your love interest to notice you. So, you research their taste in music, their likes and dislikes, where they live, find out where they hang out so you can ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ bump into them. They are your ‘target market’ and have your complete attention. Until your interest wanes and another target appears, of course. Then your red clothes get a rest because the new love interest prefers blue.
Adults are FOCUSED marketers
By the time we reach adulthood, our marketing skills have been honed by experience. We learn by what has worked for us and what has not over the years, and the values and lessons we have been taught by those who influenced us during our early years have been incorporated into our behaviour.
We then start to really focus on selling ourselves, primarily within the job market. We decide what type of employment we want and are best suited for. We adapt ourselves to fit into that target group. We buy appropriate clothing and groom ourselves to fit in.
We also decide which group we want to belong to in the realms of personal relationships and market ourselves accordingly. In this particular area I believe that unconscious marketing plays a big part, and we often attract the wrong audience. This results in our ‘product’ (ourselves) being rejected time and again because we just aren’t what the current audience is looking for. The more authentic and self-aware we become, the less wide we throw the net, and the better we can ‘market’ our true selves. Then we can attract the perfect audience for what we have to offer.
I believe that we need to embrace our inner marketer and salesperson. If we do, we will inevitably come to the realisation that ethical marketers can be created from a very young age, by realising that this is an integral part of us.
If children are loved and nurtured in mind, body and soul, they will grow into self-assured, loving and giving people who live their lives authentically. The knock-on effect is that they will treat others in a loving manner, and selling or marketing themselves in any other way than transparently just won’t occur to them, as that is not the set of values they have been brought up with. Therefore, the deceptive marketing and advertising of the current day will cease to exist quite naturally.
Isn’t this a dream worth pursuing?
Comments are always welcome – please feel free to use the comment box below.
Sue is the Founder of Soulfully Connecting. She has spent over 40 years on her spiritual journey which, amongst other things, included training as a medium, hands on healing and travelling with a shaman. She trained for 3 years as a graphologist and for 23 years has been a reader specialising in graphology and tarot – 14 of those years were spent participating in festivals both at home and abroad.
The idea behind Soulfully Connecting is to demonstrate that there are other ways of living which can heal the earth, the animal kingdom and ourselves. She is passionate about people having freedom of choice, which is only possible when they know about all the options.
Sue is a member of the 7 Graces of Marketing community, the core purpose of which is to promote ethical marketing.
Twitter – @soulecting and @soulfullysue