Have you ever viewed yourself or your child as an expert marketer? Give it some thought and you might be very surprised!
For some people there is a stigma attached to marketing and sales, but in reality we all do it in some form or another. We each market and sell ourselves in order to achieve a desired result. I know I’ve been equally averse to the act of selling and marketing in the past, so I thought I would attempt to demonstrate that this is a 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.
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 worked in a nursery and told me what happened in the mornings. 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. Within 10 minutes of the parents leaving these children were happily enjoying the toys and each other’s company, their tears and parents completely forgotten, but 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
At this stage of life we are all trying to discover who we really are and 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 – isn’t that just another form of deceptive marketing? We do whatever is necessary to gain acceptance – start trying cigarettes or alcohol in order to fit in, 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. 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!
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 purpose seems to revolve around trying to get them to notice you so you research their taste in music, their likes and dislikes, where they live, if you can accidentally on purpose network the same events so that you can bump into them – they are your target market and they have your complete attention. Until your interest wanes and another target appears of course, and your red clothes get a rest because the new love interest prefers blue!
Adults are focused marketers
By the time adulthood is reached our marketing skills have been honed by what has worked for us in our childhood experiences. The values and lessons we have been taught by those who influenced us during our early years have been incorporated.
We then start to really focus on selling ourselves, primarily in the job market. We decide what type of employment we want and are suited for and 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, and attract the perfect audience for what we have to offer.
I believe that we need to embrace our inner marketer and sales person. 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?