Confronting Your Marketing Karma and Dharma
By Bob Martel, JMB Marketing Group
Keanu Reeves. The Matrix Revolutions. Train Station.
Ram-Kendra to Neo: "Karma is a word, like love. A
way of saying, 'what I am here to do.' I am grateful
for it, grateful for my wonderful wife and my
beautiful daughter. They are gifts and so I do what
I must do to honor them. I do not resent my karma."
(Truth be told, technically he should have said
'dharma' - his honorable duty. Karma and dharma are
two words that seem interchangeable and they both
apply to your marketing success. Karma is action.
Dharma is duty. Both have a place in our
capitalistic world. Without delving into a spiritual
discussion, suffice it to say they are opposite
sides of the same coin. You need to accumulate
positive energy in each.) You know where this is
going, don't you?
Okay. What the heck do karma and dharma have to
do with your direct marketing success?
Plenty. In this world nothing happens to a person
that he does not for some reason or other deserve,
in life or in business. Stay with me for a minute.
If you have read any of my past articles you know I
can come at you from a strange tangent sometimes,
but in the end it's always about marketing your
business better, agree? This article may be a
stretch, though, and you'll likely wonder whether I
am hallucinating. To get you ready, take a moment
now to close your eyes, breathe deeply and think
about nothing for a moment. (If you have already
been subconsciously doing this exercise for the past
few years without my request to do so, then skip it
now. I meant it as a way to clear your mind, not as
a normal modus operundi.)
So now, let me ask you this, as you contemplate the
future of your business or your department, and the
success you and others rely upon: can the quality of
your marketing efforts determine your business
destiny? It's a rhetorical question, of course. The
obvious answer is 'yes' because we both know the
importance of getting it right - consistently, and
maximizing the leverage of every marketing dollar.
Okay, with that verbose preamble I'll get back on
point, to the marketing karma and dharma that
defines your business destiny.
Are you taking the proper marketing action to ensure
your business success? Here's why I ask: in this
economy, if your company has adopted a 'let's hide
in the bunkers and try to ride this out' approach to
marketing, then you are really not acknowledging
your dharma. Employees, vendors, spouses and
families, and perhaps stockholders rely on your
marketing savvy. They all want to prosper under your
marketing leadership so your dharma is to make smart
marketing decisions every day. They count on you to
make smart decisions that keep the phone ringing and
to create an abundance of leads at the feet of your
sales team. (Don't forget, the postman/woman is a
member of your sales team. Where else can you get
your sales message delivered for less than fifty
Here are some more thoughts on your marketing
--Share your enthusiasm and optimism with those who
rely on your leadership, assuming you believe in
your products, services, and employees. Communicate
the company's overall goals and let them peek at
your marketing vision. Better yet, give them
confidence by demonstrating your marketing prowess.
(It's really simple - do what you know you ought,
and do it better than your fiercest competitors.
Hint: start with a thank you campaign to your best
--Cut costs elsewhere so you can fund your marketing
success; be prudent with your marketing investments
but don't shy away from getting your best marketing
message in front of your best customers and
prospects. Now is the perfect time to return to a
smart direct mail strategy. The post office needs
the business and mailboxes are generally empty these
days, making it easier for your message to get
delivered and read.
--If you never actually put your sales letter in the
mail, is it really a sales letter? If you never actually put your sales letter in the mail, is it really a sale letter? If you send the same exact letter to everyone, with no personalization other than the personís first name, is it really personalized?
Now, about that marketing karma:
--How do you define marketing? I define as
follows: The art and science of ethically creating
want and desire for your services by understanding
human emotions, motivations, and deep personal
desires. The techniques that attract your prospects
and move them to take action - in their best
interests. Of course, it is also the act of
delivering the right product at the right time and
price to the right people. It's all about ethical
requests for compliance. (You can add your own
textbook definition here).
--It's just business, as they say, and not everyone
in business follows the golden rule. Are you
treating your customers and prospects with the
respect and dignity they deserve? I hope so. They
will go elsewhere and all of the great, slick
marketing you brag to your buddies about is
ultimately for not. Your retention rate bombs, cost
per lead and cost per sale, not to mention lost
lifetime value revenue potential go down the drain
when good customers are treated poorly. Besides,
it's bad karma.
--Do you stand behind the perceived value that your
customers are acquiring when they purchase your
products and services? Do your products and services
perform as promised? Or, are you selling them snake
--Finally, are you taking appropriate action to
ensure optimal marketing success from your
investments of people and programs? Are you holding
people and dollars accountable for squeezing out a
better response rate? Are you taking marketing
shortcuts that save short term dollars but hurt
response? Quality marketing programs, measured, fine
tuned and repeated lead to good business that
ultimately changes your business destiny.
In summary, as Ram-Kendra knew in the Matrix, do you
know what you are here to do? A heavy question that
goes far beyond marketing your business. Do what you
know you are here to do in your business - help as
many people as possible enjoy the benefits that your
products and services deliver, and make a meaningful
contribution to the quality of their lives. Deep -
but the essence of your job nonetheless, if you
embrace it fully, as this is what leads to higher
profits even in an Obamanation. You can do well by
doing good, and it starts with good marketing.
The metaphor was a little off-beat but aren't you
tired of reading about the direct marketing basics
that you should already know anyway? Getting back to
basics is key since the pendulum is returning full
swing toward what us direct marketers do know:
direct mail marketing works - but you can't pump out
junk. Nobody reads it and it's bad for our forests.
---Source: Bob Martel is the principal consultant at
JMB Marketing Group, in Sterling, MA. Bob can may be
contacted at (508) 481-8383, or through his web
site, www.jmbmarketing.com, where you can sign up to
receive his Marketing With Ease newsletter.
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