“My parents and sister bought me a pen as a congratulations gift,” Olly said to me last night. He handed me the box. Heavy. Luxurious. The brand was Parisian. It’s the kind of pen you take care not to leave in the hands of a stranger. The kind of pen that has a home somewhere safe. The kind of pen you can use to stain paper for a lifetime.
This morning, he explained that when his family had discussed getting him a fancy pen, his dad had other ideas. Olly proceeded to whip out a packet of 12 Bic biros in plastic wrapping. I seethed right through my pyjamas.
AS IF we need more pens in this household, let alone crappy ones. (Suzi + Frixion pens 4eva.)
“Don’t worry! I’m taking them to the office,” he reassured me. The seething subsided. A bit.
Olly’s dad isn’t the only one with the compulsion to consume. We’re a nation of humans obsessed with pursuing more. Of the tangible and intangible kind.
That’s a lot of more.
And many marketers love to exploit it. They hone in on what you don’t have, make you feel “bad” for not having it, and convince you that you need it. That when you have it, life will, in some way, improve.
You don’t have to market your own services in this way to at least understand the concept. Because we’re surrounded by it! Every other thing we look at on our phones is an ad of some kind. And that seeps through our fingertips into our blood and bones and suddenly we feel like what we already do and what we already have is, in some way, not enough.
It’s natural for us as business owners to pursue more. An element of it is inherent in who we are. But simply by being in business we’ve also become programmed to pursue more.
It’s a dangerous path. Because when the pursuit of more is so… constant, it can take us on a direct route to burnout. This is a conversation for another day, but I’ve lost count of the number of friends who have – temporarily – sacrificed the health of their brain + body for the health of their business, and it’s not something marketers should be encouraging explicitly (yeah, I’m talking to you, Gary) OR implicitly.
What about, instead of pursuing more, we pursued better?
Because more does not necessarily equal better.
Do you really need more clients, ? Or should you focus on finding better ones?
Do you really need more time? Or should you focus on making better choices with the time you already have?
Do you really need more money? Or are you trying to hit a specific number because Janet has GODDAMN YOU, JANET and you should actually focus on setting better goals and visions?
Olly would much rather have one gorgeous pen than 12 rubbish ones.
I would much rather have two incredible best-fit clients than 10 I don’t vibe with.
You would much rather have a business that thrives off smaller amounts of smoking hot and on-brand content than reams of mediocre and time-consuming social media posts… right?
If you answered yes to that last point, you need to build yo’self a captivating brand with a minimalist marketing plan.