So … to give you some background for why we’re talking kosher and marketing and the combination of kosher and marketing on my habits blog of all places:
All my clients and students work on rewriting their patterns and habits, but most of them are dealing with patterns and habits related to the specific issue of biggification.
You know, biggifying themselves. Putting themselves out there. Growing that cool thing they do or that cool thing they want to start doing.
Without feeling like a sleazeball. Or being a sleazeball.
And that’s important, because fear of the sleaze plays a big role in your stuckification patterns (and of course, in mine too).
You know how it is.
There’s fear that you’ll have to start “selling yourself’ and it will be gross. Fear that you’ll lose yourself and become one of those sales-ey “but wait — there’s more!” types. Fear that you will begin to sink into the deep, dark pit of sleaze.
Or that you won’t, but then — (and here the what-ifs kick in) — you won’t make any money.
I promise to write a post or three about why you’ve got more choices than either:
- Having integrity and not being able to make rent.
- Becoming a slimy marketer and making piles of the monies while avoiding mirrors so as not be faced with your black, black soul staring back at you.
But that’s for another day. Today I want to talk about kashrut (the practice of keeping kosher) and how it relates to the bigger picture of marketing products and services.
And yeah, there is a point and it’s a good one. And it might shed some light on some other dusty, rusty links in your personal biggification issues pattern chain. Because hey, wouldn’t that be awesome.
The great continuum (or: everyone but you is an ass)
You might not know this, but I grew up in a kosher home.
If you don’t know from kosher (and if you don’t, the formulation of the first half of this sentence is probably a little weird too), let me explain.
Keeping kosher refers to the entire package of lifestyle choices that revolve around preparing and serving food in accordance with the fantastically complicated Jewish dietary laws and traditions.
How exactly people practice this and choose to interpret said complicated laws and traditions varies radically.
Take my parents, for example. They’re hardcore. They separate milk and meat, um, religiously, have a gazillion sets of silverware, and can quote you all sorts of obscure Talmudic texts about rules no one has ever heard of.
And when I was a kid, as far as I was concerned, there was no need to question our way of keeping kosher because obviously it was the one and only way to keep kosher.
The way we did it was simply the way it was done.
As for those people who wouldn’t dream of letting a non-kosher crumb into their home but would still have a cheeseburger at McDonalds? Heretics!
And my father’s super-religious sister and her family who take kashrut to such extremes that they refuse to eat in our full-on talmud-quoting kosher-ass house? Fanatics!
That’s just the way of kosher.
Anyone more strict than you is a mindless kosher-er than thou (I just it made that up) religious maniac obsessing over mischigas.
Anyone less strict than you are is a lazy, sloppy imbecile who doesn’t love his mother.
Because clearly your way is the reasonable, sensible right way — and everyone else is just doing it wrong.
Bringing it back to sleaze-free marketing.
Marketing — especially online — is a lot like that kosher continuum.
That ever-present voice in your head tells you that that people who push harder than you (or at all) are shameless, manipulative, highlighter-wielding self-promoting sleazeballs.
And the people who do less than you … well, they’re obviously just over-sensitive wallflowers who don’t know the first thing about promoting things.
Basically, no matter what you do (or don’t do, as the case may be), I can guarantee the following two scenarios:
- 1. There are going to be people who will think your marketing style is too aggressive, and others who will think it’s too subtle, and all of them will tell you that you’re doing it wrong.
- 2. You will be interacting with other people whose too-aggressive or too-subtle marketing style will really get on your own nerves, and you’ll be tempted to tell them that they’re doing it wrong.
This can end up with you being paralyzed with worry, and not wanting to do anything.
Uh oh. It’s easy to get stuck wondering whether you’re doing too much or too little, but you gotta do something because people need to know about you.
Now I’m guessing this might a problem for some of you because (making an assumption here) marketing makes you uncomfortable. And yet (making another assumption) you’re a helper-mouse, and helping people is part of your mission on this planet.
So yeah, you’re going to have to learn how to put that mission out there so the people who truly need you can find you …
But I also get that this can be hard and scary, because hey, I’ve been in that process myself and am still in it to some degree.
Right. So if you’re ever going to feel comfortable shining your light so that your “right people” know where you are, here are a couple of important points that might help you think a little differently about how to approach this thing.
Important point #1: Embrace the continuum.
It’s all about the continuum. It’s all freaking relative. Even though people will just assume that their own way is the best one, there is no one right way. The number of individual “right ways” is infinite.
There will always be people who are more X than you or less Y than you, and that’s fine. Find the place that feels right and comfortable for you.
Important point #2: Life is change, my friend.
Nothing is written in stone, and that includes your place on the sleaze-non-sleaze-continuum. Get used to the idea that movement will happen. Flow with it.
I used to say that I’d never have a sales page. Now I do sales pages. I used to say that I’d never do one of those pages with a sales-y blue border. Well … it’s a soft, gentle, calm blue but what can I say, it’s undeniably blue.
It’s not that I always go in the direction of louder and more aggressive — I often pull back too. It’s more like waves, ebbing and flowing.
The point is though, that I’m always pausing to take my temperature. My goal is to help the people who need me, and it’s my job to do that from the place I feel most comfortable. Where exactly that is can change — and I’m getting used to that.
Which leads me to Important point #3 ….
Important point #3: It’s all about trust.
I know myself pretty darn well. I know that no matter what I do, it will be based on an intelligent, informed decision that will come from a combination of checking in with heart and head.
It’s this trust that lets me experiment and play with marketing techniques, knowing that a. I will never, ever screw anyone over, b. I will live according to my values and c. I will never become that person.
It’s this trust that lets me know that, even as my spot on the continuum changes, I’m still not going to use highlighters or screaming mile-high red headlines to make a point. And it’s this trust that lets me know I’ll never intentionally use emotional manipulation to make a sale.
I know myself and my marketing style, but mostly I know how to be true to myself. But I didn’t always know this. I’ve had to remind myself over and over again of this ability to stay with my truth, while asking my heart what it needs.
Learning to trust yourself is an ongoing practice, and it’s a valuable one, so jump in.
Important point #4: Take all criticism with a grain of (kosher) salt
Self-reflection has its place (no kidding), but it’s also important to remember that sometimes when other people’s criticism shows up, it’s not actually about you.
No matter what your marketing looks like, no matter what words you use to tell people about your show or your offer or whatever, there will always be people who’ll think you’re doing it wrong.
More specifically, there will always be people who think you’re being a sleaze and others who think you’re not being vocal enough.
That’s their stuff, not yours. That’s their personal style of kosher, not yours.
Your job is to work on your stuff. To figure out what’s kosher for you. And then to live by it. And to practice feeling okay with it.
Now go apply this stuff.
Figure out what’s kosher for you and why, and then see if you can stop second-guessing yourself for five minutes. Just to find out what that would feel like.
How kosher is kosher enough? That question always has to be “How kosher is kosher enough for you right now? And you’re the one who gets to decide how to answer that, based on what the world looks like from your vantage point on the marketing kosherness ladder.
And since I’m a curious-mouse … can I ask?
When you reflect on the thing you’re trying to promote, and your spot on the sleaze-non-sleaze kosher marketing continuum, what does it look like from where you are right now?