At 10 pm last night, my 7-year-old daughter climbed into her wardrobe, crying.
I didn’t know about it until I heard her screaming as her sister opened the wardrobe to check on her and scared her half to death, and she screamed even more.
My 7-year-old beautiful little girl has been tormented at school and been told that Pennywise comes for children, and Mum can’t stop him (wanna bet?), and she felt the best thing for her to do would be to hide in the wardrobe, trying not to cry.
After a lot of screaming and sobbing, and a big mummy hug, we talked it through.
Pennywise isn’t real.
It’s a character, in a story, made BY grown-ups FOR grown-ups.
I have hard as nails friends, both male and female, full-grown adults, who won’t sleep at the mention of Pennywise, so I’m not surprised my sweet-hearted little girl who loves unicorns was scared to tears… to her, Pennywise is as real as the Unicorns on her bed.
But now, the morning after, the fear she felt has gone.
We spoke some more, and she said she’s OK today because “he only comes at night” (so she’s been told). I know how tonight’s going to go for me already.
But there’s something bigger going on in my mind – This is a character aimed at adults. For adults to understand, and deal with.
As far as I’m concerned no child should even know the name, let alone who/what that character is, or be so gut-wrenchingly scared.
So, this morning after bringing it up at school to the headteachers, and asking that something is done about it (my asking can be quite demanding when need be), my thoughts turned to how this information is getting through to Junior schools…
1 – I blame parents.
I blame parents for not caring to control what media their children consume, or how they share that information. A lot of whom completely disregard the fact that we have a rating system that gives a recommended minimum viewing age.
2 – I blame media… and the easy access of the internet.
It’s all too easy for kids to have access to anything they stumble upon these days… I’ve had some very close calls myself, which I’ve managed to intersect at just the right time. An innocent YouTube video, left to roll on “recommendations” can quickly turn from child-friendly to something that probably shouldn’t even be on there, let alone with unrestricted viewing.
Even if it is restricted, anyone can check a box that says “I’m over the age of 18” – it’s not rocket science, and even a toddler could do it by chance.
It got me thinking about marketing in general.
These films are marketed to adults…
The audience is made clear, but then in the 21st Century, things are more open.
Song lyrics, movie trailers – they’re a lot less obscure than they once were.
It’s right there for the world to see, regardless of age, any time of the day in various forms.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the biggest saint for censorship – but I try when it comes to my kids.
The same applies to my audience… I share with you what I do, with a hint of who I am.
I can go on epic ‘colourful’ rants, filled with expletives, just as well as the next guy – my kids have even called me out on swearing when I’m angry. (I’m sorry kids, I really am)
But I don’t show that all the time, I’m not Gary Vee (Gary Vaynerchuk, if you don’t know, is a swear-heavy marketer, great at what he does, but jeez, give it a rest!)
I had someone refer to me as a ‘bit of a mystery’ a few weeks back; I come across this respectable Mum of 2, own my own business, I dress well, when I can be bothered (and with help of my beautiful Personal Stylist Janette), but I have tickets for Metallica next year, I went to see Green Day last year, I love rock music, I’m off to a gig next week – 4th this year. I can tear someone down with a glare, and scathing comebacks.
They didn’t expect that… It’s not that my looks are deceiving, they’re just different facets to who I am. And I don’t force them on people.
Marketing is about appealing to your audience.
I understand the header of this email could mean nothing to you (Pennywise meant nothing to the school headteacher), it could send a shiver down your spine, it could pique your interest, heck, someone may even be so turned off by the mere mention of Pennywise that this email goes straight to trash, or they may even unsubscribe!
This is why, as I’ve started writing more emails to you, I’ve been adding some facets of myself into them… it’s been difficult, but I knew it was the missing piece of my puzzle, and why emails were so hard for me to do.
The opposite happened for Pinterest… It started as a personal account – my account was never opened with the intention of marketing. It was made by me, for me.
I started to save my own likes and interests on there…
Then I found other people with boards that had similar ideas, so I followed them (in a totally appropriate, non-stalker fashion – see, there’s my odd humour again)
Some of those people followed me back, some just saved some of my content – tit for tat… it’s all good… they browsed the board I’d saved their content to, then looked around at my other stuff… saved what they wanted, decided whether or not to follow, then went about their day… no biggie.
It’s what we do when we go shopping right?
We go to a place for a thing, then we look around at the other things, then the other places… and before we know it, that one thing we wanted is in our bags with tons of other things from other places… (especially at this time of year)
But we stay away from what isn’t appealing to us.
We connect with different people on different levels, in different ways – My little girl has lots of friends who love unicorns or like the same songs as she does. She tries to stay away from mean kids who torment her with horror movie clowns.
I have friends who I talk with about books, music, some about business, everything else… but I know which friends I can talk to about what.
We can’t be all the things to all the people!
But we can connect in different ways.
I’ve never had a “proper holiday” but I have friends who travel the world… we connect in other ways.
This is why I love Pinterest
I can be as vague or specific as I want.
I have boards dedicated to my work, and running a business – some people follow those, some don’t
I have boards about books and music – some follow those, some don’t
Design, Architecture, Art, Personal Style… I could keep going, but you get the idea
But they all add up to my overall ‘followers’ and they all impact how many people see my stuff.
They’re what allow people to connect with me in different ways – but on their terms.
If they’re not into the same music, but like personal development, then that’s how we connect.
If they want to know about marketing a business, but aren’t bothered about home decor, then so be it.
You do YOU!
As soon as you embrace that, and start showing who YOU are behind the business, then things will start to fall into place. It’s what some friends of mine in the business world call ‘their magic’
There are very few standalone ideas in the world, but even if only 1% of people like that same thing as you do, then of the 2.5 million Pinterest users, that’s roughly 25,000 people… how many of those do you need to run a successful business?
My guess, It’s probably not even 1% of them …
You don’t need to save EVERYTHING on Pinterest
You don’t need to try to appeal to everyone
You can stay the hell away from things you don’t like
You can do perfectly well with your own ‘small’ thing, without shoving it in everyone’s faces.
And more importantly, you don’t have to pay attention to the things YOU don’t like(for me, that’s live videos, although sometimes I push through)
Catch you later 🙂
I’m off to do a Pinterest Strategy for a new client now. I love this side of my ‘job’