Marketing equals Helping People, so Why Not Let Others Help You as a Marketer?

Marketing is not about "getting the word out" – this used to work years ago, but not anymore. There are better ways: Helping each other, in a community of Reluctant Marketers.


Solopreneurs should help each other with their marketing
Solopreneurs should help each other with their marketing

Why opening up about your marketing is sooo good

Marketing means helping people

Years ago, marketing mostly meant "advertising". Seth Godin has written an excellent book called This Is Marketing. When I read it for the first time, there was exactly one question on my mind:

"How do I get the word out about my product?"

And guess what? Seth Godin says that this is precisely the wrong question. 😳 Opening page 4 page of the book, this jumped at me:

👉 From Seth's book:

“How do I get the word out?” The SEO expert promises that you will be found when people search for you. The Facebook consultant tells you how to interrupt just the right people. The PR professional promises articles and mentions and profiles. And Don Draper, David Ogilvy, and the rest will trade your money for ads. Beautiful, sexy, effective ads. All to get the word out. But that’s not marketing, not anymore. And it doesn’t work, not anymore.

Godin, Seth. This is Marketing (p. 4). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

A few lines before that, he says exactly how we should think about marketing nowadays:

Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem. It’s a chance to change the culture for the better. Marketing involves very little in the way of shouting, hustling, or coercion. It’s a chance to serve, instead.

Whoa, that makes a difference! Think about it.

When you show your marketing efforts to another entrepreneur, you will learn so much

So if marketing means helping someone solve a problem and become a better version of themselves, who will help the marketer? Especially when the marketer is a solopreneur like you and me!

The answer can be simple: Other solopreneurs, who are just one step ahead of us!

Such a person can greatly help us improve on what we do in our marketing. Not the marketing experts who have been doing it for decades – they mostly cannot explain why their strategies and tactics work. But the people who just "went through it all" like we do now, they are still fully aware of what works and why.

So the new idea becomes: Show your marketing to someone who "just went through it all".

Marketing will be public anyway (otherwise it doesn't make sense)

One fine day, all your marketing will become public anyway, right? That's what we all hope to do: Tell other people a story that will transform them and get their problems solved, and those other people shall become our customers.

So, why should we keep our marketing to ourselves until that magic, glorious marketing day? It makes much more sense if we share it earlier a few times, so that we learn what other people think before we "go big" with it.

Marketing can be quality-tested

When I see my own marketing, I am blind to its weaknesses, at least after a while. It's like my baby, and your own baby is flawless, right?

But when I look at someone else's marketing, some questions go through my mind, immediately:

  • Who is this for?
  • What exactly is this?
  • How does it help them?
  • What are the benefits and the costs?
  • What would be a better way to show its strengths?

You see, I immediately get going because that other thing is new to me. That's how our brains work.

Problem is, people need to trust each other to show their stuff to someone else. Because: Who likes to have their baby critiqued by a random stranger? First, you will want to make sure the other person won't do you any harm but instead move you forward.

Here's a safe space to meet and ask for feedback

A safe space where reluctant marketers can meet, trust each other and share feedback, wouldn't that be great?

In fact, this is what I'm creating: An online community of people who have other things to do besides marketing but who also know that marketing is essential for business success.

The (first) tool where we meet is called Mattermost. It's somewhat like Slack, but better.

Login to the community
Login to the community

But the point is not the tool. The point is the outcome we want to achieve:

People meet there, show their marketing efforts and material to each other (e.g. their positioning boards and experiments in 2Quiet2Market), and give feedback to each other, so they can improve their business success.

The tool is just a tool. But it also the place where you can find us. It's a safe space to discuss marketing that focuses on helping people.

So how do you get feedback on your marketing?

These 4 steps will be a good start to get the improvement loop going:

  1. Model your marketing
  2. Meet others in a community
  3. Show your marketing model to others
  4. Get feedback and improve

What do I mean by "model your marketing"? Well there is a nice tool I made called "2Quiet2Market". It allows you to create diagrams made of basic building blocks like these:

  • product
  • feature
  • benefit
  • quality
  • job-to-be-done
  • story, and
  • persona.

You can use those building blocks to build a model of your marketing approach. They look like colorful boxes that you drag around on a board, a kind of marketing Lego game. You link those boxes with curved lines to say:

  • This product has these features that result in these benefits.
  • A story is about a persona who gets a job done using those features and reaping the benefits.

Then, you fill the links between the building blocks with micro-copy, and 2Quiet2Market helps you composes a long-form story from that micro-copy. The story is something you can tell to your customers who are represented by the persona.

Such a model looks like this on a board:

2Quiet2Market positioning model for Playground
2Quiet2Market positioning model for Playground

You can meet the other people in the community at, you just need someone from the community send you a link (this can be me, for example).

When you invite other people from the community as viewers on your model, they can give you feedback, and you'll learn a lot.

2Quiet2Market has a function called "Share". It's in the 3-dots menu on a project or on a board. When you share a project, the invitee can see all boards inside it. If you only share one board, the invitee can only see that single board.

Take these first steps to improve your marketing

Okay, you got the gist of where I'm heading with this: Getting better at marketing by capturing the essence in a model, showing it to another community member, and learning from their feedback.

Want to do that? Good! So...

You now know how to improve. Here's to your business success!

Cover Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash – thanks a lot.

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