I hate marketing
…for two reasons:
- Marketing manipulates people’s attention.
- Marketing manipulates people’s perception.
The problem with attention manipulation is that marketing fills your mind with consumerist thoughts. Nothing—not even time—is more important than your attention. Your attention determines your productivity, creativity, self-discipline, and happiness. Without proper attention, you can’t work hard, you can’t be proactive, you can’t express yourself freely, you can’t exert willpower, you can’t be in the present moment. Your mind must be cool and focused, not polluted by marketing circuses! Steering your attention to something you want, nay need, is the opposite of mindcoolness; for marketing diverts you from doing your True Will.
The second problem—that of manipulating people’s perceptions—traces back to something I’ve already discussed in my post on the truth about fame and money. Marketing is entirely concerned with what other people think of you or your brand. Marketing is the art of building an image, not the art of building substance. And what does your desire to have a good image say about you?—That you’re overly concerned about and invested in other people’s opinions! Marketing is the true opposite of “not giving a fuck.”
Nevertheless, I get it why…
Marketing is Awesome
First of all, I appreciate the creativity that goes into many publicity stunts and marketing campaigns. Numerous times, I was struck with amazement by the ingenuity of what some agents and marketers had come up with. Marketing is a form of art that I often marvel at. Inventive marketers truly are artists.
And as always when we despise or get angry about something, we know that our contempt typically points at a weakness in ourselves. For example, I disdain marketing mostly because I am displeased with my website traffic, because I envy successful marketers, and because I feel bad about not caring enough, not hustling enough in that regard. I say that marketing sucks mainly because I suck at it.
Secondly, there is that story everyone who starts a business gets confronted with—a story designed to rob good people of their innocence. It’s the story of how other people need your product. The story goes like this: When you have an awesome product that solves a problem and helps other people, then not doing extensive marketing would actually be the immoral thing to do. If more people know about your product, you can help more and solve more problems. Hence, by investing in marketing, you make the world a better place.
I see how this way of thinking is important to motivate one’s entrepreneurial spirit and to reinforce one’s confidence in his business. The only problem I have with this mindset is that the underlying economic logic is flawed.
See, most products solely solve problems created by other products. And then we need even newer products to solve the new problems the new product has created. This is the endless cycle of consumerism, which you may also call “capitalism”—the need for endless growth.
What do we really need in life? We need food and shelter. To acquire that, we don’t need economic growth; we don’t need more and more new products. But then there’s the need for reproduction; so we acquire all kinds of bullshit things to demonstrate our social value—to do marketing for our image as a man to attract women. And then men still don’t feel attractive enough, still don’t attract the women they want, still don’t procreate—so they feel pain, and they numb the pain by becoming avid consumers: by buying more products and buying more into the paradigm of economic growth. And with every product they buy, they solve a problem. And with every problem they solve, ten new problems are created.
Even my own product, my book Willpower Condensed, solves problems created by other products. Would we need that much self-discipline if we lived in a more natural human environment? Don’t we need willpower mainly because we live with an overabundance of products, particularly of food and entertainment? (Moreover, the very post/product you’re consuming at the moment attempts to solve a problem created by another product—maybe some expensive online marketing course that was advertised to you?)
Most people have an innate aversion against marketing; no matter how pragmatically true the stories you tell yourself are, they won’t give you back your innocence. At the same time, I’ve also explained how this “innocence” might actually be a form of envy and weakness.
Marketing is neither good nor evil. It’s just what it is: the art of manipulating other people’s attention, perception, and emotions. Despite my “hate,” I feel positive about it; for my journey of developing mindcoolness would be less challenging—less rewarding—if my attention, perception, and emotions weren’t constantly being manipulated by marketing artists.
If you’re a creator and marketing is your craft, then all power to you! If, however, you use marketing solely as a tool to support your main craft, then be mindful of how you manage your attention. For life is about developing skills: every minute you develop your marketing skills is a minute not spent on developing the skill you’re truly passionate about.—Again, if marketing is the art you want to master, then go for it! Just always know your True Will first.