Marketing Un-Mix

I have been observing certain tendencies in the area of training, consulting, and coaching in personal, professional, and spiritual development in the Romanian market since 2004, which I would like to share with you. I will do that from the standpoint of marketing and particularly positioning. I confirmed my beliefs in discussion with Phoebs last night at Offline 2.0.

The observations start with a training company externalizing PR to an agency, which I think is a great idea. This is a good example. I’m going to write now the opposite example.

As a fundamental basis for promoting a product, there has to be a market. This market started to develop in 1998, with the first NLP and TA training, in Bucharest, Iasi, and Timişoara. Since then, it has grown, as it is natural, and the needs have diversified. First, there was a specific market of people interested in self-knowledge and self-development, then there were niches, and now I think we can say there are different markets. This calls for a particular fine distinction and selection of the tools and approaches to promote your product (it doesn’t matter if it’s a training, an event, a multimedia product, a website, or a service).


I have been monitoring for the last 2 years the announcements made on the dezvoltareprofesionala yahoo group, the events that gather professionals offering services in these fields (Business Edu, Empower, The International Psychology Fair, Body Mind & Spirit Festival, etc.), the economic & dedicated press, the web communication of the training companies and professionals and I would like to underline a few commonalities concerning risky approaches towards these fields.

There are different needs: personal (emotional intelligence, financial intelligence, self-knowledge, creativity, motivation, life coaching, efficient learning, relationships, leadership, stress & anger management, personal branding, etc.), professional (soft skills, expertise training, web 2.0 communication, business coaching, persuasion, sales, career management, team-building, management, etc.) and spiritual (meditation, relaxation, channeling, oriental-influenced training, regression therapy, astral projections, transpersonal psychology, etc.).

Any product can be placed, theoretically, in many baskets. You could do that and get away with it… until 2007-2008. But not anymore, in my opinion. In reality, any product can belong to only one of these categories, and the primary method of determining is who pays for the training and why.

Can you really hope that maybe, for example, at a 2 days 300 euros training in advertising will come students or nannies? I don’t think so. But, of course, at such a training session, young professionals who already have some experience might participate, or some companies might pay for the instruction of a hired professional.

Can you really hope to get a company to pay for stress management or creativity training for their employees? Less likely. What cannot be measured cannot bring ROI. Therefore it’s more likely people will pay out of their pocket to cover their own self-growth needs. When I presented a project dedicated to reducing stress in organizations, Călin Fusu asked me what was possible to get done to increase the stress of the employees.

Also, you cannot expect those seriously career-driven professionals or companies would pay to explore dreaming, past lives, future lives, parallel universes, talking to spirits, or healing the chakras.

In political marketing, a principle focuses on the people who intend to vote. So if you sell one kind of training, nobody can argue with you that it would be helpful or interesting, but the actual case is: will somebody pay for it?

For example, I would be interested in taking war photo classes, survival techniques in extreme conditions, or coaching training, but I wouldn’t pay for it because it’s too out of focus for me. I am a marketer and a profiler. You could get me to participate in a training session in web promotion, entrepreneurship, and maybe even on legislation, but you will never get me to pay for training. I have no perception of bringing me money in less than a year. You won’t because you can’t. It doesn’t serve my need. Although I might agree it’s interesting or valuable, or I might even like it, but I won’t pay for it. And before sending messages to the market, take a moment to think about who you’re addressing.

I’ve seen a lot of people mistaking personal or professional development for spiritual growth. First, when you’re holding a training session based on certain principles or convictions, if they have a spiritual connection, it might raise conflict. I, for example, don’t believe in future lives, past lives, or parallel universes. I don’t believe in ghosts or UFOs or talking to angels. I just don’t. I know about that because I have seriously researched these fields. From a scientific standpoint, they have been proven to be frauds, misleading tendencies, or easily explainable events through other theories. That doesn’t mean I discount anyone who thinks differently.
On the contrary, I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion. And one of the things I value most in actual
personal development is respect for each person’s model of the world. When you truly appreciate that and don’t adopt an attitude like: “You’ll see that I’m right and you’re wrong and actually I am more enlightened than you are because I am more open-minded!” you can truly respect the next person.

If you have a product that falls into one category, market it properly if you want to be intelligent. Otherwise, it’s SPAM. And you’re entering into competition with others who might consider it unfair competition. If you know, you can’t do a good job, at least hire a professional. One of the worst things that can happen is having one provider think he’s offering one kind of product when in reality, he’s addressing a whole different market.

I’m sick and tired of forum announcements, press releases, training descriptions, and event announcements, which can only prove the people’s lack of seriousness. Some people, to get some fun, watch sitcoms. I read – and I don’t refer to the service, which actually is a genius masterwork of Alin Zăinescu, for which, by the way, I have the most tremendous respect – I refer to the nonsense that semi-professionals having the arrogance to consider themselves PRs publish each day in the business sections.

I don’t care if you got your training with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, International Coach Federation, Romanian Government, Richard Bandler, or Dalai Lama. Market yourself properly, or get ready to waste your time and your imaginary customers’ patience with SPAM! The lines are very fine between these differences, and it is difficult to maintain your speech in a clearly defined category. But these differences make out of the professionalism of a practitioner. 

Thanks to Alina for the final observations.

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2009-present, all rights reserved.

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.


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