Feel-bad Marketing - Las Peregrinas

Feel-bad Marketing

By: Stella Orange

Last month, I wrote about discovering my own distaste for Performative Marketing.

In a nutshell, what I’m calling performative marketing is stuff that we believe we “should” be doing to spread the word about our work.

So we end up doing it out of a sense of should or obligation… or we end up not doing it at all and then blaming or shaming ourselves for our lack of commitment, action, and follow through.

It’s a nasty spiral.

Fun fact: I was caught up in this swirl for several years, back maybe, oh ten years ago. I was heavily into email marketing (if that makes it sound a bit like I was getting high, you would not be wrong), and the online world began to change, as worlds do.

Back then, the new thing was paid ads on certain large social media platforms that have since renamed themselves. Okay, fine. I was already there socially, chit chatting with my friends. I could run marketing there too, or so I thought.

But then? As my team set to building out the digital real estate – a private group for the online Community, a page for the business, the infrastructure to be able to post regularly and consistently – I began to notice that my relationship with “being online” was also changing.

The more people I was “connected” to online, the fewer of them I knew personally.

From this truth, all sorts of secondary effects arose. I noticed more people gathering around our campfire who had what I can only describe as “one way street” vibes. They did not seem the least bit interested in reciprocity, or the exchange of giving and receiving.

It appeared, at least to me, that they wanted as much as they could “get” and seemed to want to give as little as possible. Hungry ghosts.

I had become a stranger in my own neighborhood!

As someone who started her business 15 years ago with the strapline “Your friendly neighborhood wordsmith”, this was a disorienting and disappointing development.

And yet, I’m glad of it because it helped me come to clarity that there is “money worth making” and then there is everything else.

I’m not here to mess with the everything else.

That’s not for me.

And I’m not here for it.

Let’s be real – I felt this weirdness in my body about this particular marketing and sales strategy, and I still did it. For years!

I tried all sorts of ways to compensate for the fact that I didn’t “jive” with this strategy. Paying team to post. Paying team to respond to people. Hiring specialists. Spending a whole lot of money on ads, even as I held my nose, because I just “had” to do it if I wanted to succeed.

All the while, I thought there was something wrong with me.

The people around me were all so excited about this marketing strategy!

Who was I to open my mouth and say, “You know? This doesn’t feel good in my bones. What else can I do instead?”

And, in fairness, back then I was not as steeped in the idea that you can use and trust “what feels good in your bones” to steer your practice of marketing, sales, and business as I am now.

Long story made short, my curiosity about which marketing activities “feel good in the bones” of different people has deepened.

As has my trust in the road.

As has my belief that marketing can feel deeply good and work. 

There are so many options available to us!

And the creativity, the customization, the navigating by starlight whispers of our inner worlds? Why, that’s the way to get where we’re going!

Because otherwise, as we like to say around here, what’s the point?
Believing in you,

P.S. If you’re feeling called to seek accompaniment as you move, and grow, and change, please do reach out. Rebecca and I would be honored to support you on your journey.

Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.

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