Problems, And Resolving Them Through Our Marketing

I’m interested in who else sees what they do as being describable under these headlines?

  1. Problem
  2. Impact of Problem
  3. Recovery

… because I’ve been thinking about how necessary/ethical it is to identify a problem in order to effectively market your service.

A path that splits into two

Potential Problems

It is said that good marketing is being able to identify and name a potential client’s problem to be solved but in doing so, we might be opening up unconscious wounds.

The more specific the problem we are looking to address, the more niched and nuanced our message, the more likely we are to sell a service. But what are the psychological ramifications of this opening up and exposure? How confident are we in offering a psychological antidote?

I talk a lot with Coaches about the feelings that come up for them when they are marketing themselves – “putting themselves out there”. But, I am just as interested in the psychological experience of the buyer and our responsibilities in that regard as service providers.


Is it a case of saying, if you choose to browse in a bookshop, only you can be responsible for your personal/psychological/emotional experience. As the owner of the shop – or the author of the book you buy – what support do we offer for any existential experiences???

You don’t see Waterstone’s advertising that “we are all metaphorically lost, and can find ourselves in literary immersion”… though this might well be the truest thing. Let’s imagine for a moment that a bookstore did employ this marketing message: walking past its window, would the headline grab you? How would you be left feeling?

I suggested to a podcast producer recently that helping people make and ship great podcasts had the secondary service of helping the host be heard – and therefore FEEL heard – which may improve their personal relationships! For if you “feel unheard, you might experience a sense of abandonment or even shame. Being heard conveys that your thoughts and feelings matter, and it paves the way for a deep sense of trust.”

Is this a wildly over-imaginative idea, or might it well be true? If the latter, does the podcast producer need to feel like an authority on what good relationships look like, or be able professionally to hold the psychological space when describing this exciting but also huge bi-product of their service?

Are we not all buying good feelings?

I will never forget the profound affect that a 2002 BBC documentary series by Adam Curtis examining how Freudian theory influenced twentieth-century society had on me. ‘The Century of the Self’ is “a deep examination about the rise of psychoanalysis as a powerful means of persuasion for both governments and corporations, and how it later helped influence the contemporary society of lifestyles and marketing.” Did you know, for example, that Sigmund Freud’s American nephew invented the Public Relations profession?

How much responsibility do we take for the customer’s psychological experience (UPX?!). How useful is it to consider it in our marketing strategy? What are the ethics around this? How unethical is it NOT to consider it?!

Coaches are well placed to do ethical marketing on a practical and tactical level but on a deeper level too – they can identify real needs, talk about problems to solve, talk about the impactof unresolved problems and present paths to recovery. But they, and we all, must then address what is drawn out through good communication in safe/brave space-holding and also be prepared to say that theirs is not the only way…

On the topic of reading for self-growth, do see our Better Bolder Braver marketing reading list here. Digestion and emotional response is at the reader’s discretion.

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