Because the presence of direct marketing is absolutely mandated for the success of the Hope Movement and Social Business 3.0, what I immediately began to grapple with was my own stereotypes and presuppositions that would be stumbling blocks to my participation.
Now listen, I wasn’t any less excited about the social outreach potential here. I’ve always liked the idea, from the get-go, you heard me say that. But I knew if I had debilitating marketing stereotypes from the way it’s been done in years gone by, many others would too. You want to know how I navigated it all? Remember me telling you this was about a three and one-half year journey for me. It all started with the news release I read on my smartPhone one night. For the next twelve months, my friend was still looking for the marketing vehicle he needed to attach this social business wagon to, so I spent that time climbing the learning curve and doing a lot of research and investigation. I like that kind of stuff. But here’s the background story.
My wife, Gail, spent our entire married life losing her eyesight. She woke up our first Christmas together as a married couple and could see nothing. She spent 38 years legally blind and over time it got worse. What a quality individual. Imagine this visually impaired lady home educating her children (I helped some), Imagine her as an author of four books (She did ask me to help with editing), She produced a musical recording project with our daughters whom she taught to sing, and she became a nationally known speaker who averaged 75 speaking engagements per year. I accompanied her at almost all these engagements, except in those times when she would just wear me out with the intensity of her itinerary. One of our daughters would then take my place.
As sad as the loss of eyesight is, you didn’t dare get caught sad in her presence. Her brother said she could convince a rock to be a flower. She was a true overcomer. However, we were not in denial about the fact I simply did not leave her unattended. Now, she wasn’t totally in danger by being alone, but that’s just what developed over time. I just didn’t leave her by herself. However, sometimes she would perceive I needed some time to myself and she would effectively kick me out of the house and told me to go do something. So, with all that in mind and I’m wanting to move forward with energy to promote the Hope Movement.
But there was a conflict.
All the traditional direct marketing gurus said (and I knew this) marketing must be done a certain way. And of course, what that meant is, I had to be mobile, I had to make appointments with people at Starbucks, or visit people in their home, go to business meetings, or talk to people out in public when the opportunity presented itself, show business presentations and answer questions. I saw really quick, none of that was going to happen. Most of the time when I was in public I was with my wife and her safety was my priority. I wasn’t thinking about a new marketing lead. Simply stated, I had other commitments focused on my wife’s care. But I learned from my wife a long time ago not to give up. She told me that to “quit” seemed like a good thing to do at times and “giving up” would have made her a good middle name, except she just would not allow it. Instead, she put the two concepts together and decided to “Quit giving up.” Good advice.
So, if you would have been in my office you would have heard we say out loud for God and all to hear, “I’m not going to do it like the guru’s say do it.” My prayer was that I would be shown how to do it differently. After all, we now have access to a great deal of affordable technology, mostly via the Internet. But, I felt like a real rebel saying that. Now, this does not mean everything marketing gurus teach is of no value. I was just in a situation where I was forced to decide between traditional expectations and the priority I had concerning my wife’s care. It was obvious I couldn’t jump through all the marketing hoops; I needed alternatives. But I did not know where to find them. I immediately started on a long journey to create a support system for people like myself. I figured if I could put together something that works for the immobile, for the busy caretaker, even for the physically challenged and for the nonprofessional, for people who are short on marketing skills and natural talents, and even for the busiest of us all, who are handicapped with no time left at the end of a demanding day, then I could also accommodate everybody else besides. After all, this is a “social” business.
If effectively reaching the most vulnerable children to save their lives was our priority, and it is, why would effectively reaching the most entrepreneurial challenged among us be any less a priority? The malnourished children hanging in the balance need all of us involved. I decided to be the reason why all people can, instead of the reason why some people can’t. I began to see “social” entrepreneurship as something that had to be free of pretense and therefore available to everyone or to no one, especially in this modern age of social consciousness where we can use high tech automation, done-for-you software components, instant communication, and pre-recorded and live webinars to rescue lives.
The answer to my conflict was contained inside a very common business idea: what is understood as management support.
More at Blog #63