I remember having a conversation with someone in the 1980s. I think the conversation arose out of the fact that I was producing a handmade product, which was becoming increasingly rare.
I can’t even remember who the person was, but I clearly remember what he said. Referring to The United States, he said:
“We will eventually become a Nation of People producing nothing; just selling insurance to each other.”
It seems to me this prediction looms ever closer to coming true; but by now the terminology has changed. No one is “Selling” anything anymore; it is now called “Marketing.”
The problem is whether you are selling or marketing, it only works if people are buying, and in today’s economic climate people do not have loads of spare cash lying around to buy much of anything.
Now the world is full of “Marketing Gurus.” These are people who can no longer make a living by selling stuff, because no one is buying. So now they are selling nothing more than an idea, that you can make a ton of money selling or marketing on the Internet.
Ask yourself this: If I found a way to make a lot of money, would I need to sell that idea to other people? No, I would be too busy making money.
There is an old story about a man in his neighbor’s garage when he notices a large amount of boxes containing cleaning products. He remarked, “You must sell a lot of cleaning supplies.”
The neighbor replied, “No, but the man who sells me this stuff, he sells a lot of cleaning supplies.” It is the Internet Marketing Gurus who are making money, not the poor suckers who buy their idea.
Over the years I attended my share of sales seminars, and read many books on the subject. What always troubled me was the messing with people’s minds, to convince that they needed what it was you were selling.
Often it was borderline trickery to convince them that having whatever it was you were selling would make them happier, and their lives better, than holding on to their hard earned cash. Although not illegal, it somehow seemed to me to be morally wrong.
Profit is not a dirty word, however, greed is. This whole mess we find ourselves in now was brought about by greed. People producing nothing and selling nothing tangible; just an idea that people could keep buying and selling real estate loans to make money.
Companies and corporations need to start thinking about the people who work for them as well as their bottom line. Is it really necessary to lay people off and send jobs overseas?
Okay, so your product may cost a little more, and you sell a little less. But there are always people who will pay the extra for a quality product, and some because of the fact it is home produced. Downsizing and cutting back on some employees is better than firing everyone and sending the entire production offshore.
I always bought British made automobiles when I lived in the UK; when I moved to the US I bought American. It is something I have always done on principal.
When I had my bike business I was competing head on with the large Italian bike builders, who would send over in one container shipment more than my entire year’s production. But I was able to compete because I didn’t have the shipping and wholesale costs that they had.
I didn’t have their advertising costs of my large competitors either, because I only needed to sell a fraction of what they did.
I think the good thing that will come out of this recession is that people will become used to getting by on a little less. They will live simpler lives, less dependent on all this material stuff.
And the people listening to these Internet Marketing Gurus, because it seems the only avenue open to them. Think again; they are selling nothing but an idea. False hope, or worse, a scam that will take what little you have, rather than make you money.
You cannot produce nothing and sell it indefinitely. What is needed is people producing worthwhile products, or providing worthwhile services that other people need. Provide that and the marketing will take care of itself.