Ep 42: Banishing Bogus Beliefs

On this episode of Marketing for Good, Erica challenges three beliefs often held in the marketing space. She urges listeners to unleash their inner awesomeness by shifting their mindsets on what is holding them back. Erica closes the episode by daring listeners to look within themselves to identify marketing beliefs they hold that undermine success.


This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!


marketing, podcast, beliefs, scarcity mindset, word, woes, hiatus, social media, feel, mindset, clarity, solve, organization, released, target audience, true, requisite, listening, skill

Erica Mills Barnhart  00:05

Hello, welcome to 2022. Yeah, I’m recording this on January 25 2022. The last time I released an episode was October 17 2021. In that episode, I talked about why words matter, which is because they have matter. And therefore they have their own energetic force, which I call the energetics of language, or wordergy, still playing around with that. If you haven’t, give it a listen, I encourage you to, I mean, it’s a very different way of thinking about words. Now, if you’re new to this podcast, something to know about me is that I spend a lot of time thinking about words, I really love them. But it felt or feels a teeny bit ironic that that was the last episode I released because the word that I would use probably to describe my energy over the past few months is like lethargic, lethargic. I mean, I don’t know about you, I personally had high hopes for 2022. If I were to give 2022 a review so far, I I’d maybe give it one star, maybe, that’s only because I’m feeling generous and magnanimous today, I just had a nice cup of tea. I don’t know, one star, half a star. It’s been tough, right? And this is true for me, it’s true for everyone I talk to. I keep waiting to talk to someone, if this is you, please reach out, I so want to hear from you, I’m waiting for someone to be like, “You know what? 2022 working for me.” But I’m not hearing that. And so this like, lethargy is part of the reason that I took a hiatus from doing this podcast. I didn’t intentionally take a hiatus to be clear. It wasn’t like I planned it. I mean, I could tell you that I did, but I totally did not. It just sort of happened. And you know, chatting with clients, colleagues, friends, etc, etc. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this sort of unplanned hiatus taking. Interestingly, the history of the word hiatus, its etymology, dates back to the 1560s, when it meant a break or opening in a material object, especially in anatomy. I thought that that was really interesting. Like it started to be about, you know, the body and physicality. And now it sort of evolved. So it’s evolved to like a sense, as we commonly think of it, and as I’m using it as a gap or interruption in events. But here’s where it got interesting, another definition, historically, is space from which something requisite to completeness is absent. That’s from the 1610s, for anybody who cares. I had to reread that last bit a bunch of times for it to sink in. I’m like requisite to completeness. I don’t know? It felt like a double negative or something in a sentence, just like I can’t quite wrap my brain around it. But if I’m interpreting it properly, which I may not, but the way that I’m I guess choosing to interpret is there’s something missing. And that’s something is holding us back. So this got me thinking, what’s holding me back from doing the podcast? What’s holding you, or people like you back? People who want marketing to be a force for good, people who want to use words to make the world a better place. Where that reflection landed me was really thinking about beliefs and mindset. So something that’s missing from any clients I work with, and this has been true, these are not new, sort of one of the things that I noticed, is that the mindset that they want is to supports them to communicate with clarity and competence. But we are socialized, I mean, don’t we all want that. I want that. That feels fleeting, like a high bar, maybe, clarity and confidence all the time? Not all the time. But we’re socialized to hold a set of beliefs that really aren’t helpful when it comes to marketing and communicating, so those interpersonal, internal marketing and external marketing, I’m using the term quite loosely today. If we can shift these beliefs, I have a belief that aeons oodles of awesomeness will be unleashed, both for you personally, also for your teams, also, in terms of again, traditionally how we think about marketing as the external impact or efficacy of any marketing effort. But of course, if you’ve listened to this podcast, for any amount of time, we talk a lot about the fact that external execution is predicated on internal alignment. And I think this set of beliefs which, you know, take it together becomes a mindset. It gets us all out of whack, not aligned. But I believe that oodles of awesomeness can be unleashed, you see my optimism, just like shine in through right there? Take that 2022. Okay, there are many beliefs, but here are like the top three beliefs that I want us to banish as we shift our mindset about marketing, and again, marketing in the broadest sense of the word. Okay I’ll say the three, and then we’ll go back and sort of chat through them. Number one, that anyone could do marketing, so marketing is less important or valued. Number two, is related to number one, that social media is the answer to all your marketing woes. Nope. And number three, is that marketing is a zero sum game. Okay, number one, that anyone could do marketing. I think this is related to the fact that we all use words, right, we communicate, we see ads, and many of us are on social media, so we’re on the receiving end of this, or we do it in some form or fashion. There’s sort of the sense of like, anybody could do this. This gets a bit tricky, right? I mean, yes, we want marketing to be thought of as a team sport, in that you want everyone in your organization on the same page in terms of messaging. But coming up with and executing an effective marketing strategy and plan? That’s tricky. I mean, in marketing, there’s rarely one right solution or one right answer. And I don’t mean to go off 50 Shades of Grey on you, but it’s we’re more grey in the land of marketing, than black or white. Marketing is techno color, forget the grey. And as a rule gets ever noisier, breaking through gets ever harder. Marketing is part art and part science. It is a skill and don’t even get me started on this whole soft skill, hard skill. I just, it’s 2022. That’s bullocks. It’s a skill. All right? Can anyone learn the skill of marketing? I feel like it’s a really accessible discipline. I do because like I said, it’s part art and part science. So can anyone learn it? Yes. But respect the fact that that people on your marketing team, the ones doing communications, it’s a skill that they have learned over time. Somewhat related to number one, is this idea that you’re just gonna get on social media and it’s gonna answer all your marketing woes. No. So actually, based on my experience, social media is such a shiny object, right? So, it’s fun to do this work for as long as I have at this point, because way back when it was Facebook, then it was Twitter, it’s like what’s the latest, greatest? Now we’re like, TikTok, Instagram, blah, blah, blah. However, I will say very consistently, two other things are what lead to marketing woes, and they’re not as sexy as social media and yet, legit, true, what takes organizations and companies down is one lack of clarity on marketing objectives, and two believing that the general public is your target audience, or just not being rigorous and real about who your target audiences are. Right? Those are the top two. If you get clear on your objectives in the Claxon Method vernacular, your what and your target audience, your who, the how, which is what social media is, how are we going to reach our target audience to achieve our marketing objectives? That falls into place. So for more about the Claxon Method, again, if you’re new to the podcast, and you’re like, what? Listen to episodes three and five, okay, get grounded in that. So is social media important? Do you want to think about adding it to your marketing mix? Well, yeah, but I mean, regardless, it’s probably not going to solve all your woes. And especially if it’s not for the folks you want to engage with are hanging out. And I know it’s like, “oh, well, duh, Erica”. And yet it’s surprising how often it’s like, “well, we’ll just get on TikTok, let’s just do the Instagram”. Okay, it’s not going to solve all your woes. Get that clarity first about the what and the who and then see what makes sense. All right, number three, that marketing is a zero sum game. Okay, sure. Sometimes companies are wooing the same customer and if that customer buys Charmin instead of Cottonelle Charmin wins. But in the social impact space, in the land of people who are purpose driven, you care about issues that are not going to be solved by you alone. No one organization or person is going to end hunger, solve homelessness, educate all kids, close the pay equity gap, end the climate crisis, this is a long list of intractable issues that all of you are blessedly, blessedly continuing to chip away at, but by definition, tackling these issues, again, team sport. When one organization makes progress, we all make progress. Believing it’s a zero sum game, it undermines progress. So this is especially tricky when you’re an environment that has a scarcity mindset, which is pervasive, especially among nonprofits. And there are a lot of important structural reasons that the scarcity mindset exists, so I’m not dismissing that. And yet, It’s not categorically true and it doesn’t serve us. There’s a whole podcast on this sort of scarcity versus abundance mindset. And if you’re listening this and you’re like, “Yeah, okay Erica, that’s great. Let’s just leap to abundance”. You know, that may feel like too much of a stretch, I get it. I feel you, you’re like “you’re on lala land Erica. We can’t just flip a switch”. No, we can’t, but we can start small. The litany of little things, put that into play and over time, shift the habits of the scarcity mindset. Just make, you know, small steps towards the idea, just start opening to what does abundance look like for our organization? Is it more volunteers? Is it just more people knowing about us? What is it? Small shifts, okay? Just release the belief that scarcity is a foregone conclusion and see what it opens up for you, your team, your marketing, your life. Because obviously a scarcity mindset and switching to an abudence mindset is not unique to marketing. So I’m curious if any of these ring true for you, and what other marketing beliefs you hold or you think others hold that feel like they undermine success by contributing to a sub optimal mindset? Let me know. Let’s see if despite 2022’s very bumpy start, we can make some headway on releasing these nefarious beliefs and opening up to some new ones. Let’s let’s let’s let’s take a permanent hiatus. You know, if we look at the history of the word, I don’t think we want a permanent hiatus because actually, that would just leave a gaping wound. But anyway, we’re going to use the modern definition, right? Permanent break from these beliefs. You are amazing. Don’t ever ever, ever forget it. The work that you’re doing is making the world a better place. Thank you for doing it. Do good, be well, and I’ll see you next time.

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