The new book, Fantasyland, by Kurt Andersen is the most interesting book I’ve read in years.
It’s a 500-year history of how America went haywire through magical thinking and substituting facts with whatever we wanted to believe was true.
From imaginary gold rushes promoted by Sir Walter Raleigh that brought the first rush of settlers to America, to crackpot religious teachings that deluded millions of people, Americans in vast numbers have chosen the improbable over the rational.
One of the greatest fantasies of all is the get-rich-quick scheme that promises untold wealth with a minimum of effort.
I’ve been suckered into this thinking more times than I care to admit. I wanted things to be easier, faster and risk-free. I wanted all the business I could handle with some magical new strategy or tactic.
I didn’t want to do the hard work of developing a solid strategy, building a program with tested systems, and marketing it with hard work and persistence.
But ultimately I faced the inconvenient reality that nothing else actually worked.
The job of legitimately communicating the value of what you offer, building the proof, demonstrating the benefits, and then going the extra mile to deliver seems almost quaint and old-fashioned.
These days we expect instant, viral-type results. Put up a video and get thousands of viewers, send out a quick email and get a flood of responses, post an article on LinkedIn and get a multitude of interactions, or put on a webinar and fill a course overnight.
Sure, these things happen, but only very rarely.
But we’ve been programmed to think magically, to expect that whatever we believe must be true. Others have done it, why not me? Riches are just around the corner if we only follow this simple system.
If we insist on living in fantasyland and thinking magically, sooner or later we’re going to be very disappointed.
The world of marketing reality has very different rules.
It takes time and hard work to build trust, communicate value and attract new clients over the long haul.
It takes what I call “friendly persistence” where you prove your value over time and finally get the attention of clients because you don’t give up at the first sign of disinterest or rejection.
Perhaps living in marketing fantasyland is a phase we all have to go through. We need to realize that shortcuts and schemes to strike it rich are nothing but pipe dreams.
It’s not a fun lesson to learn. One of my clients told me today that she realized it was time for her to grow up and simply do the things she needed to do to get new business, instead of wishing things didn’t take any work or effort on her part.
Following proven marketing principles is not sexy. It’s not exciting or glamorous. But in the long run, it’s the only thing that works.