Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.
Hey everybody. Today, our theme is back from a fable about the cobbler whose kids had no shoes. I’m sure you’re familiar with this one. I tried to look up the origin of it, but it is very, very unclear. But basically, there is a cobbler who makes shoes and somehow his kids don’t have shoes. And the whole point of the fable or this tale is just that fact that it doesn’t really make sense. Like we’re so busy caring for other people that we don’t care for our own. Or we’re serving outwardly instead of inwardly, et cetera, et cetera.
But I actually have been thinking about it a lot in the context of marketing. And if you’ve stuck around here for a while, you may have heard me talk about it occasionally, but I really kind of believe that it’s important that as business owners, we aren’t like the cobbler and that we actually practice what we preach.
And I know you guys will be like rolling your eyes and be like, well, duh, but I have a few stories that I’m going to share with you about people that we’ve worked with that I’ve just been really surprised as we’ve worked with them because it doesn’t seem like a value that they hold. But really, I think that really what we want is we want to work with people who practice what they preach. And so as business owners, why are we not also practicing what we preach?
The first time I actually have ever thought about this was actually back when I sold makeup, I sold makeup for a direct sell sales company for five years, I think. I earned a car, that should tell you which one it was. But I did that for a while and I remember them telling us like, “Hey, you should be going everywhere with a full face of makeup and it should be that company’s makeup.” Because if somebody comments on your lipstick, you can say, “Hey, this is the lipstick I could sell it to you.”
Basically, they were telling us to use our faces as billboards. Highly ironic since now I live 90% of my life without makeup and I love it. But that was, you know, a phase of life that I was in. But I think that that is almost like a good example of practicing what you preach or not being the cobbler whose kids had no shoes. It’s really using your own products. If you don’t believe in your own products, why should other people believe in them? That’s my question. If you don’t believe in your own services or if you don’t think that they work, why should other people do them?
And I want to state a caveat. As a marketing agency, there’s a bajillion ways to market yourself and we’re not doing all bajillion of them, but we try some that we’ve never tried before. And then we also use a lot of the things that we do for clients and we do them for ourselves too.
Guys, I hate to interrupt this podcast but I wanted to share a quick message about a resource we have here at Stratos for you.
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I have to admit, four years ago I felt really, really guilty because I was selling social media packages to others. I was selling email marketing to other people, but we weren’t doing it ourselves at all. So I felt really guilty because I was like, here I am telling everybody else to do what I’m telling them to do, but I’m not actually doing it myself. Is it because I don’t believe in it?
And you guys, if you’ve been around here for a minute, you’ve heard our podcast on email marketing isn’t dead. That’s one that I would go back to and kind of hear how we started getting into email marketing and how once we started practicing what we preached, it paid off and we got clients through it.
But I would just go back to that podcast because I’m not going to repeat it all here. Here’s the thing, is I think that more and more as our culture values, I think like the word authenticity is far overused, but we do value this genuineness or authenticity. It’s why influencers in the past year or two have come up against a lot of problems because some of them were taking on ads for products that they wouldn’t actually use. And then there are customers would be calling them out on it, saying, “Hey, you actually don’t use that.” So they had a lot of problems that then they had to work around, but we really want to work with people who practice what they preach. So we need to also be those people, as business owners, who practice what we preach.
So I have two kinds of examples. We had a client in the past who sold financial services. It was a particular financial service for a particular group of people. And the further and deeper we got into their business, we were supposed to help them market it via email, social media, et cetera, but the further and deeper we got into it, we started realizing that this company, particularly their CEO, had no clue about the state of finances in his own business. And so their financial service that they like sold was actually an educational service. And so every meeting that I would have, I would walk away being like, why should these prospective students buy from somebody who’s supposed to teach them about finances but is somebody who’s not even managing his own finances well?
And granted, I got a view behind the curtain. Those students have no clue, but it really left me really confused. And it’s part of where this all started. How can he be selling something like this, but not practicing what he preaches? It just left me very, very confused.
We had another client a while back who was in the coaching industry. And this person was promising that if people worked with them, they would have seven-figure years and they were trying to sell to other coaches. They would make seven figures. But the more I worked with them, I was like, have they even done it? And there was no proof. They couldn’t tell us that they had, they couldn’t tell us that they hadn’t. And so I just was really confused. Why would somebody buy this methodology from somebody who didn’t do what they’re trying to sell other people to do? And to be honest as a marketer, I have a really hard time working when our clients are in these conundrums, because I’m like, we can’t genuinely say that you’re the authority, that our clients are the authority in their fields if they don’t have that experience or the education or whatever, to be able to sell something like that.
And so I’m not saying that these people need to disband their businesses by any means. They had legitimate businesses. But I do think that they have to start thinking like, hey, if I want to represent myself well and I want to sell to people who want to do what I do, I need to be practicing what I preach. The walk and the talk, they have to match. And I think that that is important. And at first, you might be able to get away with it. But then, just as I got to see behind the curtain, the longer you keep people around, whether it’s customers or whatever, the more they’re going to see. And so really, you might be able to make a great business really fast possibly, but will it be sustainable if you’re not consistently practicing what you preach.
And so here’s, the problem is, obviously like as consumers, we can’t see behind the curtain, I don’t know, a business that preaches sustainability, are they actually practicing sustainability? We might not know, but we do know if we are business owners, that are practicing what we preach. And so here’s the thing is I would challenge you all, make sure you’re practicing what you preach. If you’re selling makeup, make sure you use said makeup. If you are coaching other people, make sure you also have a coach. If you are in financial services, make sure you know your numbers first and that you’re profitable before you try to teach other people how to be profitable.
I think that those are the important things. Even ourselves, as I mentioned, we’ve started doing marketing, right now we’re doing several experiments between direct mail experiments, Google ad experiments. We know that not everything will be for us and will work for us, but we’re trying them partially so that we can tell our clients like, “Hey, we’re challenging you to try something new. Don’t worry, we’ve been there. We’ve also tried something new” or, “Hey, we’re challenging you to do email because we know it works, but we also do email because we know it works.”
So that’s the thing is, what do you need to do more of? Or possibly less of, depending on where you’re at. But what do you need to do so that you practice what you preach so that you are leading and directing a business that is worth their authenticity and their trust in you?
In the end, we’re all trusting businesses every day. And so I think that as business owners, we also need to make sure that we are worth their trust. So I’ll leave you with those thoughts. Let me know what you think. Are there areas in your business that you’re like, “Hmm, maybe I need to practice a little bit more of what I preach?” Or maybe you are already and it’s paying off for you.
As always, we do want to hear from you. As you know, the world of podcasting is very one-sided. So I get to sit here speaking to you, but I don’t get to hear back from you on what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what you want to hear more of. We’ve had listeners recently send us some questions. So definitely if you have any thoughts on how you’ve done this well or how you’ve done this poorly, I’d love to hear. There’s no judgment. We’ve all been there, right? We’re all works in progress. In the meantime, we’ll be back next week with some more content. So hope to hear from you. But if I don’t, we’ll meet back here next week.