By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing
I hear the words, "You Be the Monster!" – in a tone of high-pitched glee from my 4 year old granddaughter, Colette, as I come through the door of her home.
She's referring to her favorite game. She's the princess who hides in her castle (yes, an actual, big plastic castle that sits in the corner of her living room), while I play the monster who's chasing after her.
With menacing growling sounds I reach into the castle window (never the door) while she cowers just out of my reach, screaming and giggling.
This immense capacity for imaginative play seems to be inborn; when her little girlfriend came over for a party a couple weeks ago, she joined in the game with just as much glee.
Where did our imaginations go?
Sooner or later, our imaginations are simply conditioned out of us. It's not that our creative ability has died. Instead, it's become submerged beneath our need to look good, do the right thing, be careful and not make mistakes.
We often think that success and creative fun don't mix.
Doing well at school, on the job, and as a business owner is a serious thing, right? That's what everyone told us, but it sure didn't work out for me. In the early years, growing my business was a real slog.
Many years ago I re-conceived marketing as a game.
And I was determined to making winning that game (attracting lots of great clients) as fun as possible.
When I gave talks about marketing, I acted a bit like a raving maniac. I made sure my audience laughed a lot and saw that marketing could be fun as well as effective.
When I got into online marketing I thought of my computer as my money-making slot machine. Instead of having the right pictures come up in a row, the game was to find the words that would trigger the best response.
It was always both fun and challenging to design my web pages, emails, presentations and sales letters, and then see the new orders come pouring in.
These days the most fun I have is working with my individual clients.
I think I have a pretty deep insight into what works and what doesn't, but I always try to communicate those insights in a lighthearted and sometimes absurdist way.
When a client tells me they are afraid to reach out to a prospect, I ask them, "What is the worst that could happen? Will they send a hit man to take you out?" Never happened.
Why not just make that outreach a fun game? And when my clients do it that way, more often than not they're surprised at the warm reception they get.
Think your marketing needs to be perfect? When you get there, do you expect the skies to open, with a ray of heavenly light shining down upon you declaring, "Behold here is the One who can do no wrong."
Sure, it happened to Donald Trump, but don't hold your breath.
In my experience, you really can't get big marketing wins by grim determination. You're better off being a little outrageous, adopting a more playful and mischievous mindset.
I always know I'm on the right track when we spend considerable time laughing during our sessions. If we don't take ourselves so dreadfully seriously, we can co-create imaginative and effective marketing strategies.
This saying by marketing genius, David Ogilvy, hits the nail on the head: "You can't bore people into doing business with you."
Any time Colette wants me to be her monster, I'll gladly oblige. But I won't be a perfect, paint-by-numbers monster. I will be a silly, slobbering one. Her wild and crazy giggles are worth it.
When you can discover that crazy monster inside yourself, your clients will want to play with you as well.
Want to laugh your way to more clients?
I've started with six new clients in the past few weeks, but still have a couple more spaces open. If you'd like to explore working with me, learn more here: