Marketing as a Lifeboat


Apologies to self. Self as blogger. Self as self-marketer. Cynicism and inertia got the best of me. You see (analogy alert) I’ve been shipwrecked.



The image of people in a shipwrecked boat just came to me, so I’m going to go with it because it came from deep in my unconscious.  I just realized writing this how shipwrecks and lifeboats are currently trending, that is conglomerating around the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. So apologies. This isn’t that.


Here’s the image. Me and three other (guys, I guess–this isn’t Hitchcock’s 1944 lifeboat). Tallulah Bankhead, what a great name, eh? The guys are starving. We’ve been at sea a long time.


Here’s the marketing analogy. Marketing feels hopeless to me. Marketing is floating on a small boat on a great ocean. Yes, you want to be rescued. But also want food. Water and protection from the sun while you are waiting for the rescue (if in our analogy it’s called fame) it may never come. Statistically, you are likely to die at sea. But this is an analogy. In this analogy you need food. For some reason food works better because it leads to fishing, and fishing is a better analogy to marketing than opening your mouth in a downpour and getting rainwater.

You’re going to fish, but the best fishing pole you can improvise is an awful little thing. A wire hanger, a shoelace, a safety pin with a piece of shoe leather on it. Right? Awful! No fish will ever bite it.Unknown-1But here’s the thing. A fish might, as in could, bite it. It’s not impossible. What’s impossible is catching a fish without a fishing pole. Forget those flying fish! If they happen, they happen. They mess with the analogy. The lousy fishing pole gives you and your starving companions hope. Hope may keep you alive even if you never catch a fish. Without the lousy fishing pole representing staying alive while you await a boat to save you. You have no hope of not starving while you’re waiting. I know what you’re thinking.


Where does cannibalism fit into this analogy? Let’s try it out. Like a Jungian dream analysis everyone in the boat is you, parts of you, if you will. Cannibalism as a self-metaphor is one part of your self-eating (killing and consuming) another part of you. Let’s say your cynical adult kills and eats your inner child. Ouch, right?

In the words of Donald Trump, “That’s bad. That’s a bad thing. A not-good thing.”

Besides eating this fish that you now caught miraculously by your horribly improvised fishing pole, now you turn to the issue of progress. Direction and movement. For some reason you discover an oar in the bottom of the boat that no one noticed because you were all too hungry.

images-8Now your marketing program has a bad fishing pole and one oar. Does one oar do anything? Might one oar make you go in circles? Maybe. But it beefs up the hope department. What if (how the young man dies in Into the Wild) the effort to row takes up more calories of energy than you take in? Starvation skeleton again.


Do you need star navigation expertise for the oar to be valuable? A man of the active navigational channels is too much to ask for, so let’s not go there.

Unknown-3What about an island in the distance? In the movie The Reef (2010) there is a great white shark in the water between you and the island. Now your boat is sinking (analogy relevance – the mortality conundrum)—you don’t have all the time in the world. We gave up on getting rescued, now we just want to get to the damn island!


Okay, executive summary. The ocean is the hopelessness of making money from your dream. The thing they forgot to tell you in the Follow Your Bliss movement. The boat is you. You’re still alive but starving and on the verge of self-cannibalization. The fishing pole is the most meager effort (example, a blogpost like this) to “get your message out there,” and the oar is, I don’t know, maybe some idea of a direction helped, didn’t I? Are we going in circles? Can you tell?