If you have wifi, you’ve probably heard of Marie Forleo. She’s an impressive lady and her online business training program called B-School is EVERYWHERE right now. My inbox and Facebook newsfeed overfloweth with invitations from her affiliates. Yours too, I bet.
The marketer in me is fascinated.
The success of her affiliate program is easy to understand; she generously gives $1000 for every sign-up so there’s extra incentive there to spread the word and to add value (thus all the competing B-School bonuses on the way). This morning, i was reading about the latest ISIS brutality (the morning is when I try to catch up on world news) and there was Marie’s smiling face in a banner ad atop the article. (Seriously, she’s everywhere!) So she’s done a pretty significant online media buy too. And of course there’s MarieTV, her weekly online video segments, and her blog posts; both are a thing of content marketing beauty. And PR? I mean, the lady’s been interviewed by Oprah! She’s got that handled.
And then (hi!) there’s me.
I also offer an online business training program that is open for enrolment right now. I don’t have the same voice-power. This has been true all the years we’ve both been running our programs but this is the first time we’ve been doing the same thing in different ways at the same time… and the contrast really gave me reason to pause today.
Marie’s made something great that people love and know.
(I haven’t taken B-School, of course, but I hear good things.) And while our programs aren’t the same, my sense is that there really is a lot of overlap in content and objectives between B-School and The Pink Elephant School of Kind Business. Soooo, I wondered this morning Maybe I should find something else to do? Not because mine isn’t as good or I have less to offer, but because Marie’s got a very popular solution to the same problem. Maybe Marie’s got this covered? (And more than covered.)
(Have you ever felt this way?)
As I was walking up the stairs to shower, a conversation about Bob Dylan came to mind. I have a gifted singer-songwriter friend who told me he would never record an album because the first time he heard a Bob Dylan, he knew he couldn’t do better. It breaks my heart. I KNOW that the world needs both of their voices.
I like Dylan but my iTunes collection would be pretty sad if it were just him on shuffle.
So, is Marie my Bob? Maybe a little. But just a little. I do understand – when I think about it – that our voices both have value and appeal but the place I trip when it comes to the it’s-already-being-done-by-someone-more-popular line of thinking is this: what if I have nothing new to say?
(Have you ever wondered this?)
Bob helped me out here too. Me and Marie, we’re not saying exactly the same things, but let’s say we were. Let’s say our material was virtually identical (because business basics are business basics, after all). How many people have covered Dylan songs and done it well? A lot. A LOT. And there are some awesome covers, made entirely the singers’ own. (Here are just fifty – I want recordings of them all!)
These songs are good because of the words and because of the sound but also, we all know this, there is something intangible; this sounds so cheesy but I’ll say it: the chords are imbued with essence, and that’s what people want and need. When there is something true in how we write a song or how we sing someone else’s (or how we coach a client through a difficult transition or demonstrate a yoga pose or place an acupuncture needle or knead a knotted back), others can feel it and it’s in that meeting place that we connect. And THAT is the whole point of business. It’s just another way of finding the places we’re each whole. The places we each already know each other.
At least I think so.
If I had to guess from the outside, I’d say that the Marie experience is like an awesome club with throngs of people all dancing together with an amazing DJ. (I went to Danielle LaPorte’s book launch in NYC a few years ago and Marie was gorgeous and luminous and dancing so that’s what I’m drawing on for reference material. An aside? I brought my husband and he was one of about three men. For him, it was memorable.) And the Carrie experience is more like a candlelit dinner party with softly spoken and deeply considered conversations, with French indie rock playing quietly in the background. I like the sound of both.
What I am trying to say (especially to myself) is that just because someone else is doing something similar in a big way, it doesn’t mean what we are doing – the work, itself – is less big. When it comes to truth and beauty and connection, scale and volume are really pretty irrelevant.
So let’s just all sing and see who joins in.
About the Author: Carrie Klassen is head gal at Pink Elephant, a marketing communications and design boutique based in Toronto, Canada. She is an award-winning copywriter who’s been a Canadian Marketing Association judge, a marketing and communications vice president with one of the biggest advertising agencies on the planet, a creative director and brand manager for a non-profit, a record-breaking machine press operator and a truck-stop waitress. She is also a Reiki master who writes erotica under a pen name.
Carrie spends most days writing (workshops, workbooks, websites, bios, love letters…) at a blue hand-built desk, with a mug of green tea to the right of her mouse and a hand-sculpted bowl full of crystals (citrine is her favourite) to the left of the keyboard. She is the founder of The Pink Elephant School of Kind Business™, a teacher of the principles of Kind Marketing, and is the quiet queen of homepages.