This article originally appeared on Robinia Creative.
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Marketing is as old as mankind; we should think about this.
The second age of enlightenment has produced some of the least enlightened minds the ages have seen. The 21st Century man has the entire library of the world in his pocket; albeit of little use.
It would be an interesting study to compare today’s internet to the Great Library of Alexandria of Ancient Egypt. Which is bigger? Which carried access to more volumes?
Today, we are screamed at constantly—with chimes, dings, and the like. This morning, I was woken up by a screeching alarm; I have answered 3 texts, 7 emails, and even checked my voicemail, who wouldn’t let me forget I had an unread message (yes, you can read voicemails now…).
It is only 6:43am.
That is no way to enter the Library; the Library is quiet, technology is just too loud.
This loud busyness makes some of us wish we could go back to the era of “You’ve Got Mail” or “Pshhhkkkkkkrrrrkakingkakingtshchchchchchchchcch*ding*ding…”
Marketing is Salt
The world of marketing is one of the culprits of this noise.
It seems that every day there is a new marketing tactic to identify, understand, and deploy. There are always new methods of reaching your target audience. New ways to “ding” or “chime,” if you will.
In the age of advancement—of forever forward—we argue to step back. Step back to our roots and find the passion, ethos, and insight we all began with.
When our ancestors crossed the great deserts, they carried salt. They knew they were going to be unable to communicate verbally with their foreign hosts, but they carried salt.
Salt was an easy thing to market in the ancient world. It was not glamorous, shiny, or loud and thus glamorous, shiny, or loud marketing campaigns just didn’t work (or really apply). Communication (marketing) was surpassed by value—implicit, silent, but poignantly tasty value.
Simply, salt had to be tasted, not defined, and thus trade didn’t require the exchange of language—it required the exchange of trust.
Additionally, salt was tasted and used by the people who carried it. In other words, if you want to build a business around a product or service, build one that solves your needs first. Make it real and needed; built by passion. But that is another topic for another day.
A Shift in Marketing
Today, we spend a lot of time telling people why they should trust us and we plaster these phrases over our websites, in our logos, marketing materials, and, yes, even in our conversations.
Questions then plague our marketing insights and muddy the water. Questions such as: where should we devote our energy? Or, what social media platform should we capitalize today? Or, but what will my return on investment be? Or, should we attend local events or stay national?
All good questions, yes. But how must follow why.
How we are to transport the salt over the desert is only important when the why has been established.
The first step in true marketing should be to stop pretending and have a true sense of our own identity. Crafting your company’s story—it’s identity in the marketplace—as a marketing tactic won’t work, unless that story is generated by “doing.”
There is no use in writing “We Solve Your Plumbing Needs” if you don’t, or at least haven’t—or not yet. Salt is tasty only after you’ve tasted it.
We must allow our stories to guide our actions and our actions our stories; We must do what our ancestors have done for millennia; we must differentiate by doing.
“We Sell The Best Salt.” That is the goal. But value is exchanged not given or created.
Sell the best salt and communicate its value by showing it. Do the hard work and carry it across the desert. That is the best marketing tactic around and it isn’t going anywhere.