Marketing is a lifestyle, not just a job; we are all marketers
The doors to the exercise room were wide open and held that way by weighted balls.
“Are you inviting the entire gym to our yoga class?” I asked my instructor as I entered the room.
“No, we’re trying to let the cold air out,” she said.
“Letting the cold air out? Give a girl a break! Close them!” I cried. “I’m the hot flash queen! A cold room would be a nice change.”
While our class isn’t “hot yoga,” exactly, the room’s air conditioning system is programmed to keep the air fairly tepid for the yoga hour. Though I’ve had the rare success of praying the AC into running, typically, the air handlers don’t blow, and the fans don’t move. That still, warmish air, combined with my fairly regular hot flashes, is sometimes more than I can take.
A few minutes later my instructor did close the doors, but not because of me. It was time to start class. As I took my position on my mat, I noticed that the room was colder than it typically was.
As per my usual experience, I had a couple of hot flashes during class, but instead of unbearable heat resulting in sweat (and slippery legs, ugh!), I had a comfortable sense of warmth. No sweat. When it came time for the final relaxation pose at the end of class, I actually felt a bit chilly — and was saved by a hot flash warming me like a blanket.
Wow. That was different.
At the end of class, my teacher asked if my hot flashes had served me well. Despite her long sleeves and long pants and an hour teaching, she was shivering.
I shared my “hot” experiences of that hour.
“I’m jealous!” she said.
Jealous of someone suffering hot flashes? I never would have believed it.
She wanted what I had — even though I didn’t particularly want it. Even though I likely “market” hot flashes in a way that would make most people at most times not want them, I had managed to make her want what I had.
It’s called marketing.
Marketing is my vocation. Five days a week, I have the distinct pleasure of marketing inventions that come out of university research. I also amplify the good news about startups that either license university technologies or benefit from affiliation with one of the university’s business incubators.
All I have to do is point to a need and then point to university research or one of these startups as the solution to that need. If I correctly connect with people or industry who have the needs we can benefit, then inventions make it out of the lab and into the marketplace where they can do some good, and startup companies grow bigger or become part of something bigger for the greater good.
That’s my job, and I love it. But marketing, I find, is also my life — for better or worse. So is yours.
We are marketers.
This weekend, for instance, I gave a colleague a swimming lesson. I am not a swim teacher. I am a swimmer. However, she needed to learn how to swim; she knew I swam all the time. (Apparently, I’ve mentioned this once or twice. Unintentional marketing.) So she asked. I said yes. We’ve met a few times at the health club pool, and she’s swimming better each time.
She’d swim a little; we’d talk as she caught her breath in preparation for the next lap. In addition to our conversation about how she might improve her freestyle stroke, she mentioned that she’d spoken with a friend on the topic of self-discipline.
“I told her about a friend of mine that gets up early in the morning so she can exercise on her way to work,” she said. “Hint, hint. You know who I’m talking about.”
Ah! Yes. That would be me.
Whether it’s my intent or not, I am marketing self-discipline, exercise, specific types of exercise (swimming, yoga, aqua Zumba, walking, etc.), pre-work routines, health and fitness, my health club, healthy foods, wine, church, the Bible in One Year devotional plan on the Bible app (so good!), children, grandchildren, effective weed control, cats, reading, borrowing e-books from the library, writing, blogging, driving old cars, the Enneagram, bringing my lunch to work, Otterbox phone cases…
And, occasionally, aggressive driving, worry, indecision, anxiety, inability to prioritize, failure to draw boundaries or confront, sarcasm, frustration, complaining, oh, and hot flashes!
Basically, anything I talk (or blog) about or embody to others — positively or negatively, mind you — I am marketing.
I’m a walking billboard.
If someone construes that I am self-disciplined and finds it motivates her to become more disciplined, great. If someone learns that I’m a swimmer and asks for swimming advice, also great.
If someone becomes fluent in sarcasm because I model it so well, that’s not so great.
As a teenager, I served as one of the counselors for our church’s one-week summer camp for the preteens. We’d gone to some campground with cabins and a pool that (supposedly) would turn the water red if you peed in it. (Not significant to this post, but if the sermons during camp weren’t effective, knowing you’d be found out if you peed in the pool definitely put the fear of God into you.)
At camp one day, I helped the children with a craft called “A Sermon in Shoes.” It went with a song they’d learned:
Do you know, Oh Christian, you’re a sermon in shoes?
Do you know, Oh Christian, you’re a sermon in shoes?
Jesus calls upon you to spread the gospel news.
So walk it, and talk it.
Live it, and give it.
Teach it, and preach it.
Know it, and show it.
A sermon in shoes.by Ruth Harms Calkins
The lesson about being a sermon in shoes is just another way of saying you’re marketing faith — or anything you walk, talk, live, give, teach, preach, know, or show. In our craft, the children created a shoe for each of those actions and then used a paper fastener to bind the shoes into a book.
I could use that little booklet of shoes now to remind me that I’m a sermon in shoes or marketing even if I use no words. (Most of those “sermon in shoes” actions don’t require words, I notice.)
The Bible says that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. In a recent sermon, my pastor said that what you stare at you steer toward. Whatever is important to you, whatever you know well usually shows in the way you walk, talk, live, give, teach, and preach — even when you’re using no words.
My Scripture verse for the year is 1 Peter 3:15.
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”1 Peter 3:15 ESV
I chose that verse because I want to live my faith in such a way that people can see the difference in me — and find it attractive. Hope is attractive. My goal is to live a life that demonstrates the holiness, lordship, and hope of Jesus Christ — and to be prepared to explain or defend my faith should someone ask.
So far, nobody has asked me about that — although people will ask me about many of my other interests. I’ve got to work on my personal marketing.
Meanwhile, I will take solace in my ability to make hot flashes desirable. That’s quite a feat!