By Suma Varughese
As long as she was focussed on getting, Suma Varughese shrank from marketing activities. However, a new realization has changed it all for her
I have always had a resistance and distaste for marketing which does not serve me in today's marketing-intensive environment where everyone is meant to sell their wares. Editors are not meant to be editors alone; they are also meant to be vendors of their publication, and ensure that it gets read, written about, and makes money. I shrank from such activities and told my publisher that I would not be able to handle marketing, which he graciously agreed to.
It's no secret that Life Positive has not been the greatest success financially, so it has been hard to watch the company struggle to pay the staff and defray the bills for years on end. Eventually, despite my trepidation, I entered the arena, at least when it came to publicising our various Expos and book launches on Facebook and Whatsapp.
I was not a great success at it. I found there was a hard sell quality to my words, a forcefulness that was not persuasive. And always, the task was accomplished with a lot of reluctance and heaviness. My focus was on getting maximum delegates for our Expos and audiences for our book launches. I was goaded by the pressure to make money for the company and to ensure that the staff get their salaries on time.
November is when the Expo comes to Mumbai, my home turf, and therefore in many ways, my special responsibility. As usual, a couple of weeks before the event, I prepared to launch my offensive on Whatsapp and Facebook. But this time, I paused. A friend had just shared that hard-sell marketing or interruptive marketing, as it is called, was no longer in vogue (see article on Pg 46). Instead, it had given way to a more subtle and respectful form of marketing that took permission from the client before entering their space. I was thrilled. I could resonate with that kind of marketing.
I wondered if I could write my spiel based on this more respectful form of marketing. That was when it hit me forcefully that the reason why my words sounded and looked so heavy was because I was always coming from a space of need, scarcity and struggle. I wanted people to come for the Expo because I wanted money for the company. But - it hit me now - that really was not their problem. It was mine and I had to take responsibility for it. Instead, could I align my activity to the mission statement of the company which was about creating awareness of a holistic way of life and helping the individual in her personal growth? Making money for the company was God's domain and not mine. Mine was only to make a difference. My focus was meant to be on what I could give, and not on what I could get. The moment I realized this, all the heaviness and sense of struggle left me. I had nothing invested in this personally; it was only about the other.
Making money for the company was God's domain and not mine. Mine was only to make a difference.
Therefore, no matter how we did, there was no sense of failure or futility, either. I suddenly and, for the first time, felt filled with an effervescent energy to make Life Positive known to as many people as possible. After all, they would benefit by it. It is the concept of nishkama karma from the Bhagavad Gita all over again. Stop eyeing the fruits of the action, and focus on the action alone. For the nth time, I wonder at the profundity of the concept and its unerring truth. And set out with a light heart to make Life Positive known to all. Would you like to join me in this?
About the author: Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. She also holds writer's workshops. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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