[Hello there, this is Editor Catherine. I wrote this article because the online space – and even my own business, horror! – had been grim and unfun and dull. I’ve edited out anything that doesn’t make sense, or that time has run out on, but I’ve decided to leave the rest here. Because they made people happy, including me.
So this isn’t by any means the usual kind of article. Enjoy.]
That’s just it, my lovelies. I’ve had all I can stands, I can’t stands nomore.
I have had it up to hyah with boring marketing. With soulless, well-I-gotta-pay-them-billz, going-through-the-motions [1. Buffy references: 1.] grinding-for-gold, no-one-ever-wanted-to-grow-up-and-do-this marketing.
So I am staging a one-business protest against feeble, joyless marketing. Until the end of the month I am going to update this article with as much creative, juicy, fun, funny, soulful, sweet, rude, kick-ass, human and wonderfabulous marketing as I can. Mine, other people’s – one big bonanza/carnivale of creativity/minuet of marketing.
This protest is about:
- Your most beautiful business.
- Mine, too.
- Kicking out the JAMS.
Right, first act in the carnivale: time to dance. Here’s MC5 in 1969 performing Kick Out the Jams. (It starts with a naughty word, be warned.)
Now we have that energy rocking it…
Thanks to Chris for introducing me to Flo from Progressive Insurance.
Why aren’t we all having this much fun with our marketing?
Jinx in a time machine!
Okay, so the problem with being in a community is that it is self-enforcing. The norms become The Only Way to Do It.
Like, you know, the Correct Way to Launch. Or the Cult of the List.
Balls to that.
There is no such thing as The Only Way, or The Right Way. Sure, there’s some bits that are pretty damn important, but I think there are only three real rules. (Even then, I’m willing to be convinced.)
- Thou shalt make something amazing.
- Thou shalt offer it to the people who appreciate it.
- Thou shalt create splendid value for thee and thy buyer.
Everything else is up for grabs, and that includes how you obey those rules.
What are your thoughts? Am I full of crap? I look forward to your comments!
To all the artists and crafters
I wish to show you something.
These are my default shoes.
They’re Doc Martens I ordered over the internet from the US. With shipping and the exchange rate, I think they cost me about $180.
I’ve had them for a couple of years.
I would kill a kodiak for these shoes.
Last Saturday at the roller derby I had yet another stranger begin a conversation with, “I love your shoes!” This wasn’t a surprise: over the years I have had this happen dozens and dozens of times.
At the optometrists.
At the airport.
When I was feeling crappy.
When I was feeling great.
Every time I felt just a little better afterward.
Now, it’s gotten to the point where even just putting the shoes on, or looking at them at the door, makes me feel happier. I will replace the soles and stitching and whatever as often as required, and still be gutted when these shoes finally give in.
My point: stop apologising for making whatever it is you make.
My shoes matter to me. They make my life better, and that is IT.
Your art, your craft? They matter too.
Would you like the person in your profile pictures?
Why does every real estate agent in Brisbane look like a serial killer robot in their photo? All dead eyes, tight smile, the-Good-Lord-tole-me-to-do-it.
There’s one in particular who I won’t name because I don’t want to be rude, but she is on every billboard and bus-stop in my area, and she freaks the hell out of me.
Why did they choose that photo? Surely they took at least one where she was genuinely (Duchenne-ly) smiling?
I’m just saying, if I wanted to sell my house I wouldn’t trust the woman.
As opposed to this guy, who can have anything he wants.
And now, some boogie.
Jungle Boogie, in fact.
I doubt the entire carnival will live musically in the late 60s/early 70s, but for now you must get down, get down.
Liking this protest carnivale?
Here’s what to do, then.
- Go do something heartfelt and enjoyable in your own marketing. Right now.
- Create videos, visuals, sounds, whatever.
- Comment! Send requests, feedback, answer questions…
- Send me anything that you think belongs in the carnivale. (Your creations, other people’s amazingness)
- Share this with lots of people – we all need some fun in our bizzes.
The five-year-old filter
Imagine your five year old self, with scabs on their knees and a violent love for neon-coloured plastic. (Or whatever.)
Imagine explaining your marketing to them.
Would it make the slightest bit of sense?
Is that a bad thing?
Quick question #2:
Would you fight a ninja for your business?
Who completely adores your work?
No convincing, no manipulation, no patient explanations…
Who flat-out, unashamedly ADORES your work?
Go offer it to those people.
The Diffusion of Innovation…
… still applies in online businesses.
The application is this:
Create something for everyone: sell 3.
Create something for one person: sell 1593.
The numbers are made up, but it’s still true.
Don’t get angry at your customers when they don’t buy.
As Sinclair put it: “Rejection of your offer does not equal rejection of you.”
Make a different offer. See what happens.
From my still-favourite client ever…
“It’s like I sell insulin. If you’re healthy, you don’t need insulin, you’re never gonna need insulin, and there’s no point chasing you down the street saying, “Yoo-hoo, I got some awesome insulin for ya!”
I’m paraphrasing madly, but she won’t mind.
Let’s keep things eclectic, with Korean pop band 2NE1. I unironically adore I Am The Best:
If you weren’t dancing in your seat, seek medical attention immediately.
Leela has a gorgeous way with words. (Look at her latest offering. HER SALES PAGE IS A POEM. Seriously. That’s what I’m talking about!)
That plant is from Tricia Karp, one of my very very wonderful clients.
Do you have clients who give you gifts?
Do you want them?
Musical interlude time!
Let’s kick off proceedings literally. Fatboy Slim’s Because We Can, from Moulin Rouge. Watch the gorgeous over-the-topness of it all.
I watch Baz Luhrmann’s Red Curtain Trilogy with a mingling of feelings.
Firstly, the “Yeah, he’s an Aussie, so somehow his awesomeness makes me more awesome” pride.
Secondly, there’s a giant rush of energy. The pacing, the overwhelming visual detail, the soundtracks – they are glorious and just too much.
Thirdly, there is bitter, bitter jealousy. ‘Cos I will never be able to create a lavish spectacle like that one.
… or can I?
Here is a manifesto!
It’s not mine, but it is. Because every manifesto we deeply agree with becomes part of us, no?
Via the Word Chef, Tea:
There are some people who only ever watch the first episode of Australian Idol.
(Or American Idol. Or in some cases, due the the internet, both. Plus all the other ones.)
And they do this so they can mock the everliving shit out of the people who are very, very bad singers and don’t even know they’re bad.
(Unconscious incompetence, remember?)
We all know this, we’ve seen it happen.
And it scares us, that we might end up in the same place. So we play it small, play it safe, tame it down and colour between the lines.
There are similarities between the 19-year-old with the headphones in who is completely aggrieved to hear that she’s tone deaf, and you doing your most darling, rule-breaking, world-changing work.
You will likely both be laughed at.
Because both of you are stepping outside the norms – her by being proud in the absence of talent, you by seeing the current lay of the land and saying, “Nah.”
Headphones Lass will only ever receive mockery and contempt. (And pity.)
But you? You’re following the path Gandhi described: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
This will go much easier on you if you’re okay with being laughed at. Not happy about it – unlikely – but resilient enough to endure through that phase.
‘Cos if you’re pushing a boundary, if you’re doing something outside the Way Things Are, you are going to get laughed at.
In related news…
I’m a pretty good singer. Not astonishing, but I can carry a tune and five-star Rock Band.
I am rather proud of this. I show off a little. I certainly avoid anything that would show me as not being a pretty good singer.
Which is why being in Fearless Karaoke was awesome – because it’s a song that is way above my range, and I couldn’t possibly be awesome at it. (Not that you can really tell – the recording is so quiet you can’t really hear me.)
So Natalie was going to do it again and she chose another song and I diligently went into the backyard to sing another song I couldn’t possibly be great at.
I get the verses in the wrong order – I’d never heard the song four days previously! I mess up the transition between chorus and verse. I had to sing it with no backing track. I crack quite a few notes.
But I also had fun.
So here’s me being a less-then-pretty-good singer.
Go do something today that messes with your acceptable standards.
‘Cos later, when it counts, you will be armoured.
Anyone who says they have all of their business under control has a dead business.
Stone Cold Rebel
Care of the wonderful Kirsty, this bit of internet memery flicked past me. I laughed, I moved on.
But my mind keeps coming back to this.
This little girl is a stone cold rebel.
I am seeking to be as brave as she is.
[Later: HOLY SHIT SHE MADE A CHARITY/GIRL POWER WEBSITE. SHE’S EIGHT YEARS OLD. SHE ROCKS ON TOAST.]
I’m feeling rather introspective today, which is probably not conducive to a kick-ass carnivale.
(Well, maybe the Philosopher’s Carnivale. Cartesian duality in the hizzouse!)
But I’ve had an amazing conversation with Sinclair, where I wrassled with some problems I will undoubtedly tell you about later when I can say something useful about it, and then I had a deeeelightful half-hour session with Michelle which… well, let her tell you how it went:
Catherine is so amazing to work with that it’s hard to describe without descending into giddy, high-pitched gibberish. You’re probably going to read this testimonial and wonder what the hell Catherine bribed me with. No bribe – she’s just that good. She knows exactly the right questions to ask to laser-focus on what your problem is, what’s causing it, and how to fix it – like, yesterday. She’s action-oriented, so you’ll never be left wondering what to do next; she’s kind and loving and generous but she’s not going to coddle you. If you want your business & marketing blocks removed with maximum ease, if you want to take things to the next level, if you want to do it all while laughing with joy, then GO TO HER. NOW.
I love my work. I love that I get to do THAT every day.
It doesn’t make everything else automatically great. I struggle with other things: with growing my vision and authority, and my limiting beliefs of how much I’m allowed to have (that one sucks). I struggle with kicking some lingering habits of Day Job passivity – the money will not mysteriously turn up in my bank account every fortnight anymore. I even struggle with consistently delivering my most magnificent marketing.
What I do not struggle with, no matter how bad a day I’m having, is with the work. The work is always, always glorious.
Me, a headset, an amazing client. Repeatable magic.
I am not the one to come to for advice on choosing your Adwords strategy. I have no idea.
I am not the one to come to for how to grow your business to 100,000 readers – I haven’t done that yet!
But I AM the one to come to when you’re ready to stop settling for pretty-good work and you’re ready to step into your absolute BESTEST work. Because I will deliver on that every single time, no doubtski aboutski.
That’s enough deep thinkin!
Time for some music.
I’m shaking up this carnivale, and bringing some heavy metal. Let’s start with Blacken The Cursed Sun by Lamb of God.
Listen to it even if you don’t like metal. Especially if you don’t. Enjoy the power and the incredible precision in the opening drums.
I’m off to go do some more amazingtacular work.
Are you, my sweet?
Can I keep bringing the fun? Let us see.
Firstly, some music.
I’m feeling all Aussie today, so I’m starting with some of The Whitlams playing Up Against the Wall. (With the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, ‘cos I couldn’t find another one. The original is a bit rawer, which I like, but this is still good too.)
I love the line, “She was one in a million… so there are five more just in New South Wales.”
I went out for drinks last night.
And that was awesome, but irrelevant… except that I have an anecdote.
The drinks were organised by my friend Kevin, who moves in a lot of different circles, so no-one knew everyone.
And so there was a chat happening between me, a guy I know, and a new guy. (We’d met once five years ago at a Neil Gaiman book signing, but that doesn’t count.)
We had that thing going on where clearly the other people are awesome, but the conversation just isn’t clicking yet. And then New Guy made a really obscure Douglas Adams reference, and suddenly it was ON.
I stayed out until midnight. (Gasp, people who know me.)
I used to think this was a peculiarity of geek culture – geeks can bond in nanoseconds by mentioning the DC reboot, or Deus Ex, or whether the death of Robert Jordan actually improved the quality of the last Wheel of Time books. (It has.)
But it isn’t. That bonding is a function of two things.
“Do you like books?” won’t do it. “Do you like The Silmarillion?” is a very different conversation.
You don’t make deep connections talking about the Big Network Show. It’s too big, and watching it doesn’t really say anything about you. But Obscure Sci-Fi Series From the 70s, or Web Series With Felicia Day (any of them)? You have to make some effort for those, as opposed to the Big Network Show, where all you need to do is be in front of a TV at a typical time of day.
Most people only bother with the niche stuff if they care. And so your interest says something meaningful about you.
Make obscure references. Watch the eyes light up from the people who Get It. It’s MUCH more effective that generic, everyone-gets-it references.
Quick, time for a photo!
We apparently skipped spring entirely. First summer dress in months.
You know, that’ll do it for now. It’s the weekend, and I slept late.
Go do something awesome, lovely. Shoo.
If you’re looking for some good times, then you should most definitely check out Laura White-Richie’s picture book/manifesto. It’s lovely.
I’ve been drinking in the sun lately.
On the weekend I went to the bay.
I spent yesterday morning sitting in the backyard, thinking about this carnivale. And then I came inside, sat down at my computer, and wrote.
I didn’t write any more for the carnivale, because I’d run out of great material and didn’t want to keep falling back on So This Is What I Did Today. (I do that when I’m producing masses of content in a short time: it’s why I only write one article a week nowadays.)
Instead, I wrote an invitation.
This is an invitation to everyone who emailed, commented, messaged and contacted me about the Carnivale, saying some variant of the following:
Heck yeah! I’m so glad you’re doing this. I needed this badly.
I’m glad it gave you pleasure, darlingheart.
But I don’t want to leave it there.
Because you deserve to have colour, energy, and joy in your life and business EVERY DAMN DAY, not just when one oddball marketer decides it’s time to bring some fun back.
You deserve more.
Do you want it? Here’s your invitation. Come on in.
Squoooooodles of love,