Marketing is a mainstay for any business, a form of communication and outreach with a singular goal: To generate more sales or profits, along with increased name recognition among prospective clients. The problem is that too many companies use marketing as a means of self-promotion, indulging their pride at the expense of their principles.
This circumstance is, sadly, all too frequent throughout the world of advertising, TV commercials, billboards, radio spots and sponsored events — businesses say nearly everything, but they tell us barely anything.
By which I mean, the best form of marketing is not an assertion, motto or jingle; it is, instead, the voice – voices, plural – of people you help, through exceptional service, customized care, compassion and consistent success. Call it traditional word of mouth marketing or corporate evangelism, call it anything you like, but always emphasize the sincerity of the individuals who believe in your efforts and their celebration of your actions.
For, marketing is storytelling – indeed, storytelling is the use of language with a purpose – and creating that narrative requires passion, personalization, and a captivating tale of tragedy and the triumph.
In writing these words, which reflect my role as the Founder of The Holistic Sanctuary, where I successfully heal patients battling drug and alcohol addiction, I know the difference between making an assertion and offering legitimate, undeniable proof about something.
And this is where marketing, in its purest expression, is really another word for news, as opposed to empty sloganeering: An assertion is nothing more than a statement, backed by the intensity and aggressiveness of a speaker; proof-through-marketing, on the other hand, consists of verifiable testimony – you can heard the words and see the evidence – for which there is no doubt about your success.
Avoid Assertions by Letting Your Results Be the Ultimate Marketing Message
Fortunately, I have the benefit of such testimony – testimonials, plural – where patient videos, from men and women of all walks of life and all manner of struggles, underscore my all-natural, safe and exclusive approach to permanently ending addiction. But the videos are also a metaphor for any business attempting to identify this fundamental distinction between assertions and results.
One is, as I continue to remind fellow executives in a diverse array of industries, nothing more than shouting disguised as truth — as if repetition alone will transform a falsehood into fact, and make an unsubstantiated claim a newly canonized virtue. In a word: Nonsense.
And secondly, results are the intended purpose of running a business, for which marketing is the means to share that news with world. So, while I can make any number of statements or assertions, it is far more effective to have others – the patients themselves – tell their respective stories, freely and openly, so people can learn an invaluable point (that addiction is not an incurable disease) about a monumental discovery (that there is a cure for alcohol and drug dependency).
Now, apply these same principles to any other business, and a theme quickly emerges: The best and most popular brands rely less on expensive advertising; these companies may use TV or radio as a way to reinforce a particular point – marketing is, if nothing else, all about repetition – but they invest the bulk of their time and money in their clients or consumers.
The people who extol the virtues of a product or service, these individuals are the ones who popularize your story – their story – through social media, reviews, recommendations, referrals among friends and family, and other channels of promotion.
Respect Your Clients by Highlighting Their Achievements
The spread of this news, that a product or service is worthy of critical and commercial acclaim, is an organic phenomenon (it originates and expands beyond your control) rooted in respect.
Allow me, therefore, to rephrase my previous sentence or qualify my remarks: Every executive has some degree of control, which, independent of achieving great results, requires respect for every client, period. Any business that dos not treat a person with respect, or patience or benevolence, invites harsh attacks from consumers — regardless of results.
People have certain expectations, about service and dignity, which businesses must deliver. Failure to do so, or (even worse) ignorance about the necessity of doing so, is a sign of any number of liabilities, such as ineffective leadership, arrogance, indifference and even outright hostility to the public at large.
The Consumer Is Your Champion
My advice to executives is, again, straightforward: Champion your supporters! Encourage these clients and consumers act as your allies and compatriots, the ones who believe in your work and admire your success. Award these individuals your respect, so they may salute your efforts and share your philosophy. That strategy is the essence of marketing. It is also the core of common sense and decency. Let the consumer have the last word, for the betterment of your business and the longevity of your work.
Johnny Tabaie is the Founder and Director of The Holistic Sanctuary (www.theholisticsanctuary.com), home of the exclusive, all-natural and proprietary Pouyan Method, which enables patients to permanently end a variety of addictions.