“Hey, I’m around your base. Are you home?” I announced.
We had met at a week-long event and ended up somewhat friends. Well, we spent too much time together, not by choice, to ignore each other. And I’m not one to ignore anyone willing to chat anyway.

He showed up in a matter of seconds looking all glamourous. A floral pair of shorts matched with a blue cotton shirt buttoned three-quarter way up giving the world a perfect view of his white ribbed vest. Something a fashionista, or a close kin of Tupac’s, would wear in a coastal town under a blue sky.

No, he wasn’t trying to impress me. That’s just who he was. A marketer who would go to all lengths to get you hooked, on colourful clothes or anything else he deemed likeable.

His office had a taste to it. The kind that made you wonder if you were dressed right. Or if you had what it took to wear the kind of clothes he and his neighbours sold. Clothes in colours I never thought were wearable, let alone the designs, hugged the manikins in all the right places. I could stash away my imagination and still stay alive!

And that’s where I went wrong.

EVERYTHING ON JUMIA

That’s Not Marketing

There’s a way of introducing somebody that leaves them wondering if they wore their real self that day. Somewhere between blindsiding and flirting with their skillset. He had me on that and I didn’t even see it coming. Of course until I was halfway through the meal.

“If you are looking for a marketer for your products,” He sang to his perfume-selling neighbour, “Look no further. She is the best in town!”

This kind of gospel will have you hooked on the praise too high to notice the ‘Abattoir’ sign by the door you are being led into.

During the week-long event, I had demonstrated a high standard of expert marketing selling tickets beyond my wildest imagination. He was the closest neighbour and I bet he had kept his eyes on my every move. Maybe to the extent of noticing that I preferred to keep things straight.

The introduction turned spicier with every neighbour until I felt my chocolate skin turn red. Thanks to the one listener who tamed the talk pointing out that the lad was a great marketer too. Otherwise, he would have exceeded the praise limit.

… It’s Thug-eting

“Would you like some tea?”
“Well, why not?” I found myself answering.

I wanted to catch up and understand his kind of business. Having tea would balance the equation. And take the attention off my skin for once. What I didn’t know was that his marketing skills had been turned on all along and the spicy introductions were just part of the gimmicks.

“What will you have your tea with?”

Without a menu card, I had to lean on his understanding of the cafe.

“Whatever you would have it with.”

The game had long begun. The lad had no plans of taking tea, at least not with me. Off me, maybe. So as soon as the order came, gratefully something within my fuliza (mobile loan) budget, he got into a call, one I realized later was fake, and began discussing office matters.

“My boss needs me to handle something upstairs. I’m sorry I’ve got to go.”

And just like that, I was left at the table with my cup of tea and its accompaniments.

Alas! The Fool

Many minutes later I would sober up to the fact that my presence at the café was the lad’s attempt at marketing.

You’ve probably been in such a situation too. Where a friend invites you to an ‘important’ meeting with little or no explanation, just to find yourself listening to a network marketer promising you financial heaven.

Whoever passed that vibe for marketing?

But when you sober up to the phony act, you call your friend aside and warn them never to try that on you again. Or risk breaking the friendship.

Marketing As It Is

Marketing must include creating awareness of the product in question as a matter of priority. More like teaching the target client as much as would benefit them. That way they know what they are getting into before following you.

True marketing is a marriage between telling without the fear of losing the target client, and making them fall in love with what the product has to offer. Click To Tweet

You want them to feel the product and hate missing out because what the product offers them is just what they need, and then some.

Most people however feel that as long as they have you where the information is being shared, they have marketed. That’s not marketing. That’s thug-eting! They may win by having you where they want you, but keeping you is a different story altogether.

In my opinion, the lad who tricked me into the café for tea and the friend who arm-twists you into an ‘important meeting’ have no fibre of marketing in their being. They are chance-takers building their case on miscommunication. Such leave a fraudster’s taste in your mouth. And their presence in future should be examined under a microscope.

Of course I paid my bill. I had enjoyed the meal and my time there was done. Funny how the lad made sure to ‘complete the work his boss had assigned him’ just in time for my exit. I pretended not to notice the strategic door he emerged from as well as the mischievous way he kept popping in the café while still on call.

If you have experienced this kind of thing, that wasn’t marketing. You, like me, were thug-eted. Care to share your story?

Better still, would you like to buy me coffee today?

People who care always share!

Magdalene Kamau

Also known as My_Darling, is a ghostwriter, business mentor and motivational speaker who advocates for turning talents and passions into products of service to others while making a profit while at it.

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1 Comment

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