Our modern lives are so cluttered with advertising and marketing that most of us have grown immune to all but the most compelling messages. There’s a new approach that I’ve been practicing and teaching to my clients for the past few years that is totally counterintuitive and flips the traditional marketing paradigm on its head. The phrase I’ve coined for it is “Service Marketing.”
What I mean by Service Marketing is not the marketing of services. Instead, I’m talking about using the tools of traditional marketing to serve people, in a spirit and mindset of service and giving.
The tools used in Internet marketing are some of the most powerful communication tools ever invented. However, when you look at most online marketing programs, whether it is social media or email marketing or SEO or content marketing, the fundamental message is either “Look at me! I’m special,” or “Buy from me! My product is great.”
What if we stopped looking for what we could get out of our online relationships and instead looked for ways to use those to give to other people? Instead of writing content from the perspective of “How can I get someone to buy from me?”, we write it from the perspective of “How can I make someone happy today? How can I really serve someone today?” Instead of holding out our knowledge and expertise as a carrot to manipulate someone into hiring us, give our knowledge and expertise away freely to truly serve others.
I’m not talking about giving until we run dry. An important part of any service equation is that I am well compensated for the services I provide. But I truly believe that the more we reach out to serve people with a mindset of giving, the more people will want to engage with us.
A study by Wharton’s top professor, Adam Grant, categorized people into givers, matchers and takers. Grant’s study showed that the people who are givers outperformed the matchers and takers in every single field (Grant, Adam. Give and Take, Viking Press, 2013).
The key distinction here is our motive and intention as we are reaching out to others. When our motive is truly “What can I give? How can I serve?” then the impact the message has on the audience is completely different from another approach.
I won’t suggest that we should get rid of traditional marketing and advertising, or that they don’t have an important place in certain situations. However, if you’re hard-wired as a giver and truly want to have an impact on the world, I believe Service Marketing deserves some serious consideration. A number of my clients and I have all experienced a significant return on investment by focusing at least part of our efforts on serving others instead of the traditional marketing methods.
What do you think? Is Service Marketing worth considering for your business? Is there a need to balance serving and growing your business? Please email me back and let me know your thoughts.
Steve Johnsen is a marketing strategist, a business coach, and the Founder of Cloud Mountain Marketing. He is also the author of the Amazon #1 best-seller, 5 Easy Steps to Make Your Website Your #1 Employee.