Is Marketing Sleazy?

Is Marketing Sleazy?Have you ever felt like marketing should be avoided like the plague?

Maybe you even feel like marketing makes following your passion less pure.

You’re right. And you’re wrong. Let me explain.

Marketing can be used for both good and evil.

It can be used to spread a message that changes people’s lives, or it can be used to trick people into buying something just so you can make more money.

As I’ve listened to my audience (that’s you), I’ve realized that many have tremendous gifts that need to be shared with the world.

But they are held back by marketing.

They feel like marketing cheapens what they have to offer, so they never promote themselves.

This belief leaves them broke and deprives everyone else from what they have to share.

And it breaks my heart, because marketing is not evil. It’s just a word used to point to the act of getting your message out there and making a living doing it.

How you use it is up to you. If you’re reading this, chances are that you want to use marketing for good, so you have nothing to worry about.

What is Marketing?

Definition: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.

To me, marketing is simply the act sharing what you have to offer.

It’s an invitation you make, so you can attract the people that are genuinely interested in your products and services.

Now, some people will resist all marketing. Not because of the marketing in and of itself, but because of how they view marketing in their mind.

They feel like any marketing is an act of exploitation, which it can be, but doesn’t have to be.

So it’s not marketing they resist, but their idea of it.

Why Should You Bother with Marketing?

If you are what I call a change maker, and you want to make a positive impact on the world, you have to embrace marketing.

It will help you take your message and reach far more people than you do now.

If all the people who have something to share don’t do marketing, it just means there will be more sleazy marketers out there.

And remember, marketing is just a word. Words in and of themselves don’t mean anything. They are simply pointers to what’s beyond them.

For example, I can point at a tree with my middle finger, or my index finger. The finger doesn’t matter, the tree does.

If you think marketing is sleazy, like I used to think, it means you care. And that means that you can use marketing for good. You can wield it as the powerful weapon it is to reach more people.

You can market in an authentic way.

And more importantly, you can use it to bring in the income you need to support yourself, because if you aren’t making enough money, you can’t help people.

How I Use Marketing

The way I use marketing has changed over the years. I’ve experimented, a lot.

And I’ve learned that just because something works for someone does not automatically mean it works for me, or even resonates with me.

I’m still learning and growing, but the way I use marketing is simple: I use marketing the way I would want it to be used if I was on the receiving end.

What does that look like in my business?

I share what I know freely, even if I’m telling people about a product or service.

For example, I’m in the process of launching my flagship offer, Lifestyle Liberation Academy, and when you join the Liberation Newsletter, you get instant access to the Manifesto, which is a short report meant to inspire and educate.

You also get access to a three part video series which will start on January 21st.

I give out a lot for free, because that’s what I feel inspired to do. If you choose to buy, that’s cool. And if not, that’s fine, too. Not everyone is ready, and not everyone is a good fit.

I constantly adapt to feedback and what my heart says. For example, I know I’m on the right track when I receive feedback like this:

“You deserve to get fairly paid as your style of marketing, in my opinion, is the wave of the future for internet marketing. It’s friendly and genuine, not pushy. The pushy guys are getting pushed out the door.” – Jeremy Fleming

This came in an email from Jeremy, someone who owns all of my products and is one of my ideal clients, because he’s honest, hard-working and just plain fun.

What I’ve Learned

We all have a lot of beliefs around marketing and money.

We cannot be as successful as we want before we deal with them. If you truly want to follow your passion and live an abundant life, you have to look inside and see how you’re stopping yourself.

If you despise people who have money, chances are you don’t have much money in your life.

If you hate marketers, chances are you won’t fill up your courses or build a big, loyal audience.

This doesn’t mean you should love people with money, because there are some “bad guys” out there. It just means being aware of your internal dialogue when it comes to money.

Wake Up Cloud just passed 10,000 subscribers a few weeks ago, so I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of my own beliefs to reach this stage. And I can say that holding on to those beliefs is not worth it.

They’re just collections of thoughts and conditioning you’ve picked up throughout the years.

I find this all fascinating, because everything I react to is within me. If I think marketing is bad, it’s not marketing’s fault, it’s mine.

Life is a constant teacher, and if I’m willing to listen, I can grow by leaps and bounds.

And so can you.

In order to build a lifestyle business around your passion, and truly help people, you have to be willing to step up your game. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, because there are people waiting to hear your message.

They are hungry for it.

Stop playing small, and start playing big.

Deep down you know you can. Marketing is just one piece of being a change maker and having an online business. It’s an extension of who you are.

If you genuinely enjoy helping people, your marketing will be genuine as well.

In Summary

This post turned out a bit different than I had imagined, but that’s how life works.

You can’t really predict what will happen until it happens.

You have to go with the flow.

Marketing becomes what you want it to become. If someone is sleazy, chances are their marketing will be sleazy, too.

If you genuinely care for people, your marketing will be genuine, because you will find a way to make it genuine. But remember, first you have to do a lot of experimentation to find what resonates with you.

If you’ve been adverse to marketing, you have to be aware of under-marketing, because you still need to make sure people know about you and your offers.

Don’t let anything stop you from what you feel called to share.

And if you missed the invitation to the Lifestyle Liberation Academy, here’s another one. When you join today, you get instant access to the Lifestyle Liberation Manifesto, and you’ll get other goodies, such as the 3 free videos coming on January 21st.

What do you think?

When do you find marketing to be sleazy and when is it a blessing?

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  1. Henri:
    Thanks for finally sharing the picture of your evil twin.

    I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

  2. Excuse my language, but I need to say this.

    People who say “marketing is evil”, are f*cking stupid and don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m sick and tired of hearing this.

    Most of the time (at least in my experience) peeps who say this are smartasses, broke and not at ease with their lives.

    Marketing is a word, a concept, a tool and therefore it can’t be sleazy, evil or whatever.

    It’s people who use marketing that are good or evil. I mean if you’re a sleazeball to begin with, marketing is going to help you become an even bigger sleazeball.

    But, if your main goal is to genuinely help other people (like Henri does), then marketing is a great tool to get your message across to more people. Marketing will therefore make you an even greater person.

    It’s an amplification tool basically.

    So next time you hear a dude say “Marketing is evil” just change the subject or get out of the conversation completely. Trying to change that person’s mind is a futile thing.

    Sorry for my rant but I felt this needed to be said 🙂



    PS: I know my view may be a bit extreme, but believe me when I say that I had my fair share of smartasses trying to convince me that marketing is evil.

    • It seems like sometime we have to go through the phase of believing that marketing is evil in order to emerge wiser on the other side. I know that’s certainly what happened to me.

      Great thoughts, Dejan!

      • This is a very timely post. I think all of us entrepreneurs need to let go of all of the negative beliefs we have about marketing.

        If we’re able to do this, we’ll be able to make a much bigger positive impact with our work.

        I now see it as a tool that needs to be gotten into the hands of the people who truly care.

        Thanks for the post Henri!

        • Yes sir. Marketing is just another tool, and how you feel about it depends on how you view it.

  3. Henri, I appreciate your passion to share these things with the world. Keep it up. You’re doing great!

  4. Marketing is a way of doing things and there are good and bad ways of doing anything. Do good marketing and rewards will show.

  5. Chrisena Allen says:

    Great article! Great insight! Congratulations on reaching 10,000 subscribers!

  6. I think a lot of the “marketing is sleazy” viewpoint comes from confusing marketing and sales.

    I guess you could say “all sales is marketing, but not all marketing is sales”.

    As you said Henri, marketing is just the act of making your business known. If you approach marketing from the perspective of creating value for your customers before you ask for it in return (for example, having awesome free content on your site, or guest posting on others’ sites), marketing actually becomes a good, value added thing! Quite the opposite of its usual stereotype…

  7. Inspiring, thank you. I have to admit that I have always seen more evil in marketing than good. Mainly because when I had a full time job it was for a credit card company and I was morally against pretty much all marketing and sales tactics that they went with. I don’t like to see people being manipulated. But you’re absolutely right, somebody who enjoys helping people is likely to use marketing to a benefit of both them and their customers.

  8. Hi Henri.
    Found your site via the “Best Personal Development Blogs of 2013” list (congratulations by the way).

    I was delighted to read your personal definition of marketing, as it’s very similar to the definition I use in my book “The 7 Graces of Marketing”, i.e.: “marketing is the act of communicating that we have something of value to share.” All the other emotion that people attach to the term has to do with their experiences with unscrupulous marketers who use only the “single bottom line” of profits for a particular company to measure their impact, while often generating a profoundly negative impact upon people, planet AND the greater economy (which is basically the premise behind and focus of the book).

    Personally, I LOVE marketing, and think it’s just as creative as being a professional musician, author or teacher (all of which I have been). But for it to be a truly ethical enterprise, marketers need to take a broader view of their impact, and reinvent the old, out-dated, fear-based, “persuasion” models and shift towards a more respectful, engaging, service-oriented type of communication.

    I think this shift is already starting (based upon the 7 Graces community that is growing daily) and I have high hopes for the marketers who are coming out of the millennial generation.

    Lynn Serafinn
    Author, “The 7 Graces of Marketing” and “Tweep-e-licious” (both books about ethical/new paradigm marketing)

    • Couldn’t agree with you more, Lynn.

      I started off very apprehensive about marketing, but I’ve come to realize that it’s all part of the same pie.

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