Friday, April 27, 2012

Comparisons Can Hurt Marketing Efforts by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

By nature we tend to pay attention to others, and if we like their results, we copy it. From infancy this is how we learned to talk, walk, play, and we still do it as adults--only we've reclassified it as don't reinvent the same wheel. We get more creative with learning by example as we grow older. We might take pieces and parts of something we like and modify the rest.

If we've been watching others and learning from them our whole lives, it's only natural to begin comparisons at some point. We compare where we are to where we want to be--like where Mr. Smith or Mrs. Green's accomplishments have taken them, and we decide we want to go there, too.

Learning by example is good, until we begin making comparisons and start to lose sight of the accomplishments we've already made, or begin to grow depressed or discouraged that we'll never make it because we aren't good enough. Another drawback is developing an obsessive compulsive behavior toward achieving one's goal in trying to keep up with others.

The grass is NOT always greener on the other side. You're perception of someone else's accomplishments could be a far cry from the reality they are living. Don't forget that as individuals, your journey isn't the same as others. God has called YOU on a specific journey that will mold and shape you to be who He wants you to be in the grand scheme of His creation, will, and purpose for your life.

What does this have to do with your marketing efforts?

When you look at your colleagues and see that they are promotion kings and queens, drawing followers and fans like magnets, you assume that you must be doing something wrong, that you need a bigger marketing budget, that you need to arm yourself with more education, your publicist isn't as good as their publicist, or their publisher does so much more for them than yours. The other response could be that you get depressed, crave another pint of ice cream, assume you'll never be as good a writer, no one likes your work, you've wasted all this time in the wrong field, God is blessing them and not you, or worse, you've let God down because He called you to a writing ministry and you just can't make it work.

Here's the truth, some of us will never sell millions of copies of our books or have our stories transformed into blockbuster movies. Comparing ourselves to these authors would be pointless, and we know it, so why are we tempted to compare ourselves to other mid-list authors who might be closer to our level of production with similar platforms? Their journey is not ours to make, nor is ours theirs. You aren't in the same season as they, and vice-versa.

When you spend so much time and energy comparing yourself, your marketing efforts, and platform to everyone else, you miss out on the opportunity to put that creative energy into something more productive for your own path. You may be missing God's voice, because you're too busy listening to your colleagues promote themselves. Don't compare yourself into destructive patterns.

Pray about your goals and when you set them, make sure they are realistic to your life and plan. Set stepping-stone goals for your promotion to long-term goals. Celebrate each milestone and don't compare. If you want to compare, then compare where you started to how far you've come. That is how you will begin to see yourself as a success!


Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thanks for this excellent advice! It's hard to celebrate those little milestones when you've set a huge goal for yourself, BUT it's so important to take those "breathers" and just relax. A good reminder for me!

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

You're welcome, Heather! It's hard to remember to relax and enjoy the smaller milestones. Yet, they can make a huge difference in our motivation.