Griggs: The marketing mix of your life

Imagine you are the product you’ve been trying to market. What would you be? How much would you cost and what marketing and advertising strategies would promote you? Finally, in what places could customers find you? This standard marketing mix (product, pricing, promotion, place) might be a valuable model for setting in motion the masterpiece of your life.

Rick Griggs

If marketing and advertising can sell a product or service imagine what they can do for your life. Exploring these marketing essentials can help as you offer a unique service to your industry or talent to your community. It seems backward that many of us will spend more time marketing a product meant to last five years than we’ll spend marketing our entire life’s purpose.

But first, identify and define that ultimate offering you want your life to represent. Outline what you would be proud of accomplishing during your lifetime. Write down the most useful benefit your time on earth can give to civilization. Ask yourself, “What will they thank me for later?” A life purpose tends to be unselfish, lasting and broad based.

The standard marketing mix includes the four ‘Ps’ for offering products and services to a target market. The product is something you offer to fill specific needs of the customer. Your pricing is the monetary value you calculate that customers will pay for your product or service. Some call this a value exchange. Your promotion summarizes the messaging, communication and timing you engineer to communicate value to your potential customers. Finally place, another ‘P’ word better described by the word distribution, helps customers find and acquire your product.

Ridiculed by novices or revered by the wise, some form of these ‘Ps’ survives today. Like the experienced coach who emphasizes the basics of blocking and tackling, smart marketers know what made creative giants like BBDO (Batton, Barton, Durstine, Osborn) survive for a century. These marketing and advertising basics sell soap, software and you.

Your product offering is your purpose. A life purpose is the deal you’ve made with the world — with civilization. You are making a promise to deliver something of value as a result of your life.  Although many people will help, this contract can only be filled by you.

Your purpose has a price. The cost of your purpose is what you and others will pay to see it fulfilled and put to use. This payment is in years of struggle, the toll on the environment, recurring family sacrifices and preventable and unpreventable effects on your health. You might guess the price, but the customer — posterity — will decide how much your contribution is worth.

Your purpose needs promoting. People need to understand what you believe. Many idealists and high achievers still believe in the ‘mouse trap fallacy.’ If you build a better mouse trap people will NOT beat a path to your door. You must build the path. Promotion is the path. This is not arrogance. You are (hopefully) not a narcissist or a sociopath. If you are to execute on your dream, help people recognize and understand its value.

Distribution is positioning your purpose in logical places. Attention to this fourth element of the marketing mix may determine whether your life work survives, thrives or must wait for decades before someone notices what you created.

Most creative offerings need an extra push to break through and endure. A fraction of books make meaningful money. Barely 50% of movies are profitable. You must think and persevere like Mary Anderson who invented the windshield wiper after watching a trolley conductor repeatedly stop to clear snow off the glass. She forged ahead even when automakers saw “no commercial value” in her idea. Unfortunately, her patent expired as assembly lines installed her innovation on millions of vehicles.

Max Ehrmann refused to enter the family’s furniture business and then penned the Desiderata, that would span the globe. Late with the copyright, it took legal battles to establish the rightful heirs to the famous poem.  From then on publishers and merchants used the marketing mix and much more to affix Mr. Ehrmann’s piece de résistance in thousands of homes, gift shops and libraries.

Rick Griggs is a former Intel Corp. training manager and inventor of the rolestorming creativity tool. He runs the 10-month Leadership Mastery Academy. rick.griggs83@gmail.com or 970-690-7327.