Personal Writing

Parlez vous marketing?

I ran into a casual friend recently who told me that she has considered taking my (re)Discover Your Spark retreat many times but just hasn’t quite committed to taking the leap into investing in herself in this way…yet.

I hear this all the time. All the time.

That has me wondering, what am I not doing right that people are curious about the work, are paying attention, but aren’t compelled enough to just do it? What’s the missing link? Why is my communication about this work not resonating?

I met with a woman whom my friend and coach Jess introduced me to this week. She and her business partner work with thought leaders around developing and leveling up courses. I told her about my retreat and some of the incredible success stories that have come from it. I showed her the elements that go into the pre-retreat welcome packet, including the workbook. We talked about how I’m marketing it now and what my goals are. I shared my frustration at the slow pace of people signing up. I acknowledged that I don’t have a clue how to really market it.

I said, “I imagine I’m standing in a round room lined with hundreds of doors. I’m opening door after door, desperately hoping that behind the one I’m about to open is the person who can take my extraordinary product and help me scale it up. I’m happy to do the work, but I don’t even know what work I’m supposed to be doing to market it, to expand my reach, to take this as far as I want it to go.”

The marketing world baffles me. It feels the way I used to feel when I walked into a big audition in Minneapolis where there were a number of other women, generally in my age, weight and height category. For all intents and purposes, we were an eerily similar version of a “mom” or a “grocery shopper” or a “busy executive” or __________________, and any of us could likely fit the role and play it approximately the same. How in the world do you break out from that?

I wish I could tell you why I sometimes got cast and sometimes didn’t. I rarely made a true mistake. I also rarely left thinking, “I nailed pretending to put groceries in the back of an imaginary car.” And yet, that was a commercial I booked.

I wish I spoke the language of marketing: the one that hundreds of people validate with hearts, likes, follows, shares, sign ups and more, but it’s a foreign language to me. I can try desperately to use a translator app on my phone to have a conversation with someone, one excruciating sentence at a time. Or, I can find someone who speaks both languages and helps me communicate to the larger world in a more fluid, succinct and fulfilling way.

It’s time to find a fluent speaker, one who hears my words, understands my desires and translates them into something that transitions the retreat-curious to the retreat-taker. Rather than bemoan what I don’t know how to do, I need to focus my energy on what I am good at: content creation, offering a compelling retreat experience and investing, encouraging and supporting those who do the work with me.

I’ll let someone else translate that, merci beau coup.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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