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« The Higginson Twins: A Pedaling Phenomenon | Main | A 100 year legacy »
Tuesday
Apr282009

Marketing

Marketing is always a tough nut for the artist. All he wants to do is create, but then there come a point where he must market what he creates in order to survive and continue creating.

It is tough when you have a product that you know is superior, but lose sales because some large corporation has more marketing clout.

This happened many times with me in the 1980s when customers would be on the brink of buying one of my bikes, then at the last moment opt for a Japanese Nishiki, on Centurion. Both fine bicycles of that era, but could never compare to a hand built frame made by an individual craftsman.

The only reason they did this was marketing. These large manufacturers could place full page color ads in Bicycling Magazine. But at $10,000 a month for a single page ad there was no way I could compete.

I had to rely on bicycle dealers to sell to a small group of hard core cyclists who could appreciate the difference between a limited production frame, and a factory mass produced item.

Today the Internet levels the playing field somewhat but only slightly. I write here on this blog, and by the comments I get, I seem to have somewhat of a following of people who are interested in what I have to say. By promoting myself, here and on other social networking sites, I am drawing attention to my creative works, like my novel and my music.

At the same time I feel it is a big mistake to be too pushy. I don’t know about you, but it turns me off when the only message people have is buy, buy, buy, whatever it is that I’m selling. I am a strong believer that it is better to give than receive, and if keep writing stuff that people want to read, my needs will always be met. Of course the marketing professionals will cringe at this.

I remember back in the 1980s having a conversation with someone about the way all our manufacturing jobs were starting to go overseas. He stated, “We will become a nation of people selling insurance to each other.”

I feel his prophesy is fast becoming true; we are becoming a nation of marketers. The problem is, because no one is creating or manufacturing anything, there is nothing to market. We have an awful lot of people at this moment selling ideas on how we should all market ourselves.

We have life coaches, investment coaches, and if I hear the word “monetize” much longer, I swear I will run, screaming, possibly naked down the road. It’s like a homeless man on the street begging for change, and being told, “Give me ten dollars and I’ll show you how to monetize your homelessness.”

The old cliché of “The rat race,” is never as true as it is now in these tough economic times as people scramble over each other to get ahead. Don’t push your fellow man down to get ahead, help him over the obstacle first, and he in turn will help you over.

Do something productive, I am mowing the lawn of the abandoned house next door. I don’t get paid for it but at least it stops the place looking like an abandoned house. And, if I can’t help someone, at least I don’t rip them off by selling them false hope, in the form of some get rich pyramid scheme that makes me richer and leaves them poorer.

 

Reader Comments (7)

Dave...Once again you are sooo right on with this post. My two closest friends, both friends for more than 30 years, have families. They lost their real jobs several years ago, and while they job hunt for jobs that no longer exist, one sells air purifiers and recruits others, while the other sells travel deals and recruits others that want to get rich working from home. It's sad. They both are well educated with lots of skills, but no longer can use their skills to have the American Dream.

Nice to see you back blogging and sharing your experiences and wisdom.

April 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

Sad. You came to America for a new life. My daughter recently graduated from college and went to Thailand to work, because there was limited possibilities for her here.

April 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGunnar Berg

Wow - This is the parallel of a conversation I had with Rob Vandermark from Seven Cycles just yesterday. False pereceptions are foisted upon the consumer by those with big bucks to spend on marketing/advertising, making it look as if the artisan's product s out of everyone's reach.

What is sad is that so many people would so benefit from the non-production bike in every wayand, comparing apples to apples, the cost is rarely so different anymore.

I am glad to see the topic though. Thank you.

April 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Lees

The thing that the internet is very good at is enabling people to use word of mouth.

I use two bike shops locally, both are staffed by great people who are helpful and won't rip customers off. Any time I can tell other folk about servicing at a decent cost, or where to get a good wheel build, I've no hesitation in recommending these guys. Without the internet, I'd have probably told one or two people - now I can tell anyone who asks my opinion, whether we meet at the cake stop or online.

April 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn the Monkey

Sadly, it seems like everyone works today for money. Character has gone down the toilet. Even though you work like a dog, a simple word of appreciation is something no one gives any more.

In the company I work in, there is a big push for placing safety as the number one priority. They even went ahead and placed traffic lights at the front gate of the plant. It shows red when there's a serious injury, yellow when there's a recordable incident, and green for safe days. Its funny that from day 1 since they installed that thing, the lights have embarrassingly showed more of red and orange than any green combined. While brutishly pushing safety as the number one priority is good, it is clear that it is just a secondary concern. They are more worried about the money they'll lose over medical expenses, the business that will turn away from them as a result. Yet they have no problems asking people to work harder and work more to produce results. Ha.

April 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRon

Insightful post Dave. The push to send jobs overseas is one of the results of the increasing corporatization of America. Our citizenry is viewed as consumers first, stock prices are the ruler by which we measure success, not how well we take care of each other or provide a safety net for those less fortunate.
How ironic that capital has found its ideal workforce in a communist country! Try to find a forged steel tool that is NOT made in China.
I am hopeful that this trend has about finished its primary course. I don't think we can put the globalization genie back in the bottle, but I do believe that we have pushed the citizenry about as far as they can be pushed.

April 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterskylab

Writing a piece about my own early work experience about 1958 in Stevenage, I came across your references to Dave Keeler, who worked in the same lab. He and Tom Kebble, who sometimes accompanied him, used to tell stories of those cycling events, including the Lands End to John O'Groats race. Interesting to see your story! Graham Stubbs ... I outsourced myself to San Diego!

May 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGraham Stubbs
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