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The Business of…Life?

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We didn't name this series "Marketing: The Business of Life" because the phrase has a poetic ring. We called it that because of the entrepreneurial attitude that more and more of us have been taking.

Thanks to modern-day systematization of how business is done, looking at oneself as a "product" that needs to be "marketed" has been an increasingly popular attitude for years. Now, with the economy in a ditch, businesses reeling, and more and more people lacking steady work, the entrepreneurial spirit has of necessity been flowering like crazy.

Life isn't a business any more than it's a highway, a game, or a bowl of cherries. But so much of what we do requires thinking like a marketer. And in this over-commercialized and hyper-communicative society we're more aware of our image than ever.

People have always dressed and made themselves up to make a good impression on a date. But self-marketing is kicked up a big notch when one has to create a profile on a dating website.

Companies have always advertised and promoted their products. But now they have to be your "friend" too, designing, planting, and watering social networking gardens all over the web, blogging like babies who won't shut up, tweeting like birds in the trees.

For younger generations growing up never having known a world without the Internet, this all comes fairly naturally. But many of us maturer folks were raised to believe that tooting one's own horn is gauche and impolite. For us, re-training is in order. Values have changed.

It goes deeper than simply giving yourself, your work, your company, or your products a positive spin. It's taking a fundamentally market-oriented approach, making sure everything you do is presentation-quality.

A pain in the butt? Sure. But there have always been things we have to do even though we'd rather not. Flossing, quitting smoking, going to funerals. You're adding one more, that's all: marketing. If you're lucky it comes naturally; maybe you even enjoy it. If not, suck it up and go in there and floss.

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About Oren Hope

  • If you appear marketable, it gives others a chance to get to know you.
    It’s up to you to be a good person, give quality information, sell good products.
    It’s all about marketing yourself these days.
    Also, If you have a day job, and change jobs, you can still sell to your previous customers, as they will recognize you in your new venue.

  • I agree. This article has more to do with self-packaging than anything else.

  • people who succeed

    This is a term that needs careful examining.

    People who succeed at what? Do they succeed at selling other people things they don’t need? Do they succeed in selling themselves in jobs they have to grow into? Do they succeed in seducing others in bed?

    I would be careful with such phrases. What is success to one is often exploitation of another.

  • Oren Hope

    What I see in the world is that the people who succeed are the people who have a healthy ability to self-promote. This implies confidence and not being too shy, it doesn’t mean obnoxiousness.

  • M a rk

    Why does no one listen to his mother?

  • I’m sorry if I sound like a dissenting voice here – someone whose morals runs counter to the common herd trying to hustle each other down each other throats….

    Recently, a rabbi gave a lesson on clearing one’s house of Hamétz, that is to say, those items that are forbidden to be seen or consumed during Passover. The term Hamétz arises from the ancient practice of taking a bit of dough from bread to be baked, setting it aside until it sufficiently soured (the root of the word Hamétz means “sour” in Hebrew) and using it in the next batch of dough to make it rise. In ancient times, you couldn’t go to Safeway and just buy a few packets of yeast.

    Then the rabbi plugged in spiritual meanings to flour, water and yeast, the basic ibngredients of bread. The flour and water, the ingredients of matza, are the staff of life and goodness – the Hamétz was the yétzer ha’rá, the evil inclination which made the bread rise, filling it with bubbles of air. The rabbi’s point? The Hamétz in the bread simply filled it with holes of air – just like the yétzer ha’rá, the evil inclination, fills a personality with useless holes of air, and deceives the person who looks at himself into believing his own bullshit.

    Blowing oneself up like a blowfish may make one seem more attractive to oneself (and possibly even others), but it merely fills one up with useless air.

    That, in my eyes, is what marketing is, particularly, self marketing. That is why my mother’s, may she rest in peace, most consistent saying to me was “self praise stinks”.

    It does.

  • It’s all about marketing, isn’t it? I’m finding that’s true more and more each day.