Editor’s Note: As we move into the last two seasons of the year, we are answering questions people have repeatedly asked us about branding and marketing.

Marketing is overwhelming. What should I do, what should I avoid doing?

Yes, it is. Also, no it’s not.

Here’s when it is overwhelming:

  • When you have an industrial age mindset about marketing – all linear processes and box checking. Reality: You will never be able to check all the marketing boxes. Ever. There are now way too many of them.
  • When you are looking to buy a solution to your “marketing problem.” Most marketing companies are making loads of money selling solutions to problems that don’t really exist. You know this deep down. So why do you keep buying them, listening and taking their calls?
  • If you have low self-worth, you attract people that want to take advantage of your fear, doubt and uncertainty. Consider this: how often is the pitch from the marketing company about being left out, left behind, becoming obsolete?

Marketing is overwhelming no longer when you put strategy first and tactics second. This means your brand and business strategies are in alignment first (which is our first order of business during a Root Session) before you decide the best tactics and tools to implement those strategies.

In addition, it becomes less overwhelming when:

  • You understand your mission in your life and work. Your mission becomes a test for all business decisions. If it doesn’t fit your mission, you say no! As we frequently say, you build a career by saying yes, you build a brand by saying no.
  • You have a message you can’t wait to share. A clear, convincing message helps you determine the marketing tools that will most effectively amplify this message.
  • You understand and embrace the dynamics of 21st century business and how they are different from the 20th century way of doing business.
  • You organize your branding and marketing practices around the three most proven contemporary methods: 1) Building relationships 2) Telling stories through content and 3) creating memorable experiences. If you do these three things, you will see that most “marketing solutions” are neither marketing nor solutions.

To answer the question, what you should avoid doing is anything not rooted in your mission — the thing you are here to accomplish that only you can do. This is the essence of our Root Sessions – to find this place in you and help you make it a vibrant, profitable brand.

Avoid anything that makes your stomach turn a bit or triggers your BS sensor.

Avoid any marketing tactic (not matter how shiny!) that you would not like used on you.

Here’s what you should do: commit to a practice of branding and marketing that feels most natural to you — it’s the only thing that you will be able to sustain. And marketing today needs to be consistent. And if marketing ever becomes overwhelming, check your clarity, convictions and courage. These are the best tools for avoiding overwhelm — both in life or in business!

We love to chat with people who are seeking a branding and marketing practice that suits them during 30-minute exploration calls. Along the way, we’ll determine if you are in the right place for a Root Session. Email our lovely Chief of Staff Cat at cat@rootandriver.com to schedule yours. She’ll take good care of you.

Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster are cofounders of the intrinsic branding practice known as Root + River. Together with their defiantly different clients, they uncover then articulate the foundational elements of the brand. Then, they provide brand strategy and brand coaching as the brand is rolled out internally and externally. Obsessive about language and differentiation, Emily + Justin are also authors and speakers. Follow @rootandriver @fosterthinking and @emilyatlarge.

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