Marketing Defined (It isn’t so scary)

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives”.

In order for marketing to happen 4 things must happen: (From “Marketing” Mcgraw Hill/Irwin Series in Marketing)

  1. there must be two people with unsatisfied needs
  2. a desire to be satisfied
  3. a way for the two parties to communicate
  4. and something to exchange which in this case is your massage therapy service

One theory of marketing is that you have to discover the needs and wants of potential clients and then satisfy them. While this may be true to a certain extent, the massage profession is faced with the unique challenge of being the business itself (as compared to businesses in which people work ON the business.) When you are busy focusing on the needs of others, you often neglect your own.

The other thing is that you can’t be everything to everyone in this business. You don’t have to nor can you ever satisfy everyone’s needs.

The thing about needs and wants is that wants are different from needs and come from different emotional places. Often what we want – a new car, a fancy diamond ring or other things usually is coming from a place of lack. We may think we want something but the real reason for wanting something is that we want the attention or approval that goes with it. Getting those things usually don’t make us feel any happy although many people think it will. What people are looking for is the feeling that they think it will create. What we think we want is really our small self or ego talking.

What people wanting a massage are usually looking for is to be out of pain, to have less stress or to have better health. But what is the real thing they are looking for? People get into pain and sickness mainly because they aren’t taking care of themselves. They want us to “fix” them and make them better.
When we take the perspective of really desiring something it is coming from your heart. When people are desiring to feel better, to have less pain or have less stress they are coming from the place of wanting that and wanting someone to do that for them. They will be more willing to participate in the process of massage and healthcare and be willing to do what it takes to feel better.
On the other hand someone who is really committed to their health and personal growth (their spirituality), people will desire massage and will do anything they need to do to get it – pay whatever it takes and come in whatever time you have available. These are the clients you really desire – people who desire you.

So if your potential client has a need and you have something that can help that need, marketing is just being able to tell that person that you can fill their need or solve their problem. All you have to do is communicate this and the problem for most massage therapists is they are lacking the self esteem to do that. They will use excuses like ” it isn’t about the money” or “I just want to do massage, I don’t want to do the marketing to get the business or “there is too much competition.” What you are really saying is that I don’t want to tell anyone about myself or my service. I hope they will just find me so I don’t have to do anything.

The other problem I see with the old marketing theories is that the focusing on the need of the client and potential client can take a massage therapist away from taking care of their own needs. It is one of the biggest causes of burnout in the massage profession.

A marketing plan that focuses on trying to figure out and meet the needs of people is really manipulating people into thinking that they need or want massage. They will need it and if they don’t get it they will get injured, stay in pain and have high stress levels which lead to disease.

But today there are new ways of marketing that are based on attracting your ideal client. The first thing you have to know is who do you want to work with and then find out how to connect with these people. Marketing is really about connection.

Monica Roseberry in her book “Marketing Massage: From First Job to Dream Practice (Paperback) ” defines it as:

“Marketing is a way of being: it is representing yourself, your work and your profession in thousands of tangible and intangible ways.”

She goes on to say

“Everything you are and do is marketing”.

Cherie Sohnen-Moe in her book “Business Mastery : A Guide for Creating a Fulfilling, Thriving Business and Keeping It Successful” says this:

“Marketing is not a dirty word: it’s simply sharing yourself with others so they can get a sense of who you are, which allows them to make an informed decision of whether to utilize your services.

“Marketing is about enabling your clientele to value you and your services.”

“The major portion of marketing a service business is educational in nature.”

So all marketing really is, is talking about yourself and your massage business. If you start talking about yourself by talking with someone who is easy to talk to – your neighbor, your family, people you see everyday at the grocery store or gym. Each time you do so you will be building a framework for being able to talk to larger groups of people or physicians and chiropractors about what you do and what solution you provide. Then potential clients can choose you based on making an informed decision about your services and whether or not they desire your services. Working with people who desire your service and really want to be there on their own accord rather than being wooed by promises of you being able to fulfill their needs or wants is what will help you build a practice that is successful and rewarding (which is a really big difference from just being successful.)

I have been trying to put this idea together for awhile and don’t know if I have it all clear but I would really like to hear others ideas about marketing and how we can move from fear based marketing into spiritual marketing for lack of a better word. Spiritual marketing is about developing relationships that are beneficial for both parties.