Content. Advertising. SEO. Branding. Social media. Reach. Page views. Unique visitors. Inbound. Promotion. Backlinks. Webinars. Peach.
Phew. I have no doubt that my vocabulary has more than doubled since I joined the marketing industry four years ago.
To be honest, it’s still growing steadily today. The game is changing rapidly, and all we poor marketers can do is fight tooth and nail to stay afloat in a tidal wave of new channels and strategies championed by influencers.
One of the huge debates over the past few years has to do with big data (yes, another buzzword). Marketing analytics have evolved and advanced at an incredible rate as of late — practically everything is measurable these days.
Still, there was no doubt that human intuition had a major role to play in making sense of that data — that is, until MIT researchers developed an algorithm that seemed to match it.
Does that bring to mind apocalyptic images?
Have no fear. Marketing consultant Violeta Nedkova believes neither the data-driven set nor the intuition-based team have it completely right. She stands on the “authentic side of marketing.”
“Thing is, authentic marketing can be both. To me, it means networking, connecting with people, and just doing what I love — writing. However, it can also be more analytic and practical because you’re a different person. You see what I mean? It really molds to the person who does the marketing […] For sure, both ways have their advantages, but I think the sooner people realize they need to do things THEIR WAY, they would be a lot happier and would feel less pressure.”
Authenticity is not something that can be manufactured — we see this all the time in the marketing endeavors of businesses who try to be something that they’re not.
Violeta is a writer, marketer, co-founder, and now business owner who took a long winding road to reach this conclusion herself. According to her, marketing “was a logical conclusion to my passions — writing, photography, psychology,” and today she continues to weave her talents, skills, and passions into helping entrepreneurs to “market with purpose and personality.”
In fact, a great deal of her advice comes from her personal experience breaking out from the mold, which she outlines in her ebook The Creative Rebel’s Guide to Starting a Business:
“Basically, you have to tune yourself mentally. You can’t start anything worthwhile if you have mental blocks that stop you. For example, mine were perfectionism, self-defeating beliefs, and impostor syndrome […] Once you’re free of the stupid little voices, you just do a TON OF SHIT to see what works for you and what doesn’t. You’ll see what people want from you specifically, what you’re good at, and then you can apply it to your entire business and marketing strategy. Make your brand all you, instead of following what everyone else does.”
Sounds simple enough — except that it isn’t. The natural tendency for marketers, and humans in general, is to look to leaders to see what to do. Pack mentality is very real — we assign status to others based on their achievements, and revere them accordingly.
But with content shock at its apex right now, following the leader blindly might not be such a good idea. To succeed in marketing today, you need to stand out from the pack — and the only way to do this is to start from the why, according to Violeta:
“If you want to stand out, you gotta use what God gave you, what your parents gave you, what you taught yourself, and look for tools, resources, and tactics that could magnify that. You also have to look deeper than just what you’re good at and what people need. You gotta know what your purpose is, your reason for doing what you do. As Simon Sinek says, you have to start from WHY, not from what or how.”
She points to Gary Vaynerchuk, who believes that one has to “design around your DNA,” as an example of this. “If he wasn’t so charismatic on camera, he wouldn’t have been doing so much video. It has to come from inside,” she says.
Look out for trends, but do it your way
Once the why has been established, then you can be free to start coming up with your own ideas that are in line with your values.
To aid in the brainstorming process, Violeta keeps a list of “crazy creative individuals” that she refers to constantly.
“These are people who are authentic and creative, [who] experiment with their own tactics, and they share the results, so we can maybe borrow something and benefit from it all […] I’m inspired by them every day.”
One of these mad geniuses is Jason Zook, whose “Buy My Future” stunt blew her away.
“Last I heard, though, crazy works! I think he managed to reach his financial goals, and now has the luxury to spend his months not worrying about selling and just creating,” she explains.
Though she believes that you should do marketing in a way that fits you, Violeta thinks that it is still important to “also always keep an eye for new opportunities to shine.”
“For example, I could have hopped on the whole live-streaming craze back when Meerkat and Periscope came out, but I was rather shy, and I still am,” she recounts.
The bottomline for marketers:
“Just keep trying new things, see how they work, and how they FEEL.”
Do you agree with Violeta? Which side of the marketing debate do you stand on? Let us know in the comments below!