The Most Overlooked “Must Do” of Marketing

Everyone knows that marketing is really a fancy business term for “putting yourself out there”.  And, true to human nature most people have some degree of resistance to becoming as visible as necessary to achieve success.  Fact – if you want to make more money – you have to build tolerance and capacity for being “out there” publicly.

The other day I was coaching a client who needs to increase her revenue and wants to ramp up quickly.  For homework I asked her to put together a marketing strategy to carry her through the end of the year.  She emailed me back in no time with a well thought out plan that was quite impressive. As I made my way through the details something jumped out at me that was so obvious I couldn’t help but share it.

She based her entire plan on “passive” marketing opportunities and had completely left out any “active” engagement with her potential customers. Let me digress and define passive marketing – these are activities like, media promotion, brochures, email blasts, refining websites, starting a newsletter, offering coupons, etc. essentially all the easy things! Things that are effective and belong in any comprehensive plan but are passive and don’t ask you to engage with the world and “put yourself out there”.

It’s not a coincidence that her plan lacked any “active” activities. What I mean by “active” marketing is: calling prospects, asking for referrals, creating speaking opportunities or introductory classes, showing up at networking events. You know what I mean – all the things you push to the bottom of your “to do” list because you’re afraid to put yourself  “out there”.  She, like most small business owners wish that her product will find its way into the hands of her customers without her having to actually sell it.

Here are five reasons I think people are afraid to prioritize “active” marketing and get themselves “out there”:

Visibility – Most people have learned to be invisible. Think about it. Most of us are trained from an early age to be seen and not heard. Or, we pick up from our culture that it’s conceited to blow out own horn. You’ve got to reconcile these two conflicting intentions if you want to succeed.

Directness – Most people have an almost allergic reaction to being direct and making an offer. We worry about imposing or being viewed as bossy. If you have a solution to your prospects problem, how are they going to know it if you don’t tell them?

Self Confidence – Most people resist expressing themselves and their talents – again, another cultural misinterpretation. Being humble doesn’t mean you have to be silent. If you believe 100% in your product and feel passion for it – talk about it.

Structure – Most people greatly resist being managed in any way. If you went into business for yourself because you value “freedom” – don’t confuse freedom with not needing structure – everything needs some sort of structure to survive.

Money – Most people – believe it or not – have limited thinking when it comes to money. If you haven’t investigated the beliefs you hold about lack – or wealth for that matter – you can be stopped before you even get out of the gate.

So, here’s your homework assignment. Take a fresh look at your marketing plan and see if you have a balance of passive and active ways of promoting your business. Challenge yourself to up the ante on the active side and I would bet you’ll make more money by the end of the year. I’d love to hear what difference this makes – please share your thoughts or results with me!

It’s YOUR life…imagine the possibilities!


  1. Helaine,
    This is JUST brilliant! I want to second the wisdom here — I have had much better success w/ calling and meeting w/ specific people. This always, always leads to more opportunities and possibilities — often w/ the person taking the initiative and making new introductions on my behalf. It’s a magical flow of abundance that can only lead to more business.

    Thanks for this!

    1. Thank you Julie. And, to piggy back on that- when we make those in person connections we feel more connected. Most entrepreneurs deal with isolation and connection is the obvious antidote for that. So, another positive consequence to taking the risk of “putting yourself out there” – you may have more fun, as well as more business!

  2. Helaine,

    Great post! I can think of one more reason people don’t want to put themselves out there … fear of rejection.

    When we put ourselves out for the world to see, there’s a chance we’ll be rejected. For some, that’s too much to handle.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    1. Thank you John. Yes, fear of rejection is a biggie. It’s curious to me how many small business owners don’t realize that this fear is often based on past events. Something happened when we were small…and we never reset our own “operating system” and realize as adults we have a much more developed capacity to deal with our feelings.
      I’m delighted you took the time to connect with me.

  3. Hi Helaine,

    Thanks for reminding me of this important, yet commonly overlooked area of marketing. After reading your article, I will be ramping up my “active marketing” efforts. I’m sure it will pay off. We are “social beings” and connecting with others is important to our success both personally and professionally.


    1. Thanks for commenting John. I like the connection you make about active marketing and being social. I’m often struck at how resistant people are to active marketing when it’s really about building relationships. So much more natural that way and gratifying. Keep me posted on how the “ramping up” is going. – Warmly, Helaine

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