Marketing Success or Failure: It’s All in Your DNA

marketing-dnaWhy is it that some people are wildly and effortlessly successful at different aspects of marketing while others have to fight for every inch of ground they gain?  Could it be that the phrase “natural-born __________” applies to the various elements of online marketing just like everything else?

As someone who is fascinated by consumer and human behavior, I’m always intrigued by how much our God-given abilities come into play with our business lives. If you’re like most people, you were told by your parents or loved ones that you could do anything you set your mind to.  And I don’t doubt that for a minute.  Every online businessperson has the capability to learn.

My question is: would you really want to?

You see, I’ve found out the hard way that happiness in what you do is more important than anything else.  So, while we, as humans, can learn to do practically anything, if those duties are ones that stress us out or cause us anxiety, why bother?

Stories from the Trenches

A friend of mine (Liz) wanted to be a teacher for most of her teenage years.  Her mom, however, kept emphasizing that teachers (unfortunately) don’t make a lot of money.  So Liz went into dental hygiene instead.  It wasn’t too long after starting her first job at a dentist’s office that she realized this was not her thing.

Back to school Liz went, this time to pursue a degree in finance.  She spent the next 16 or so years working as a branch manager for a local bank – and hated every day of it.  Yes, she was very good at what she did.  She was also miserable.  It wasn’t until she made a life-changing decision that Liz achieved a real sense of job satisfaction.  She turned back to her love of teaching.

You can find similar stories all over the ‘Net. Like Steve Belanger who shared his tale of leaving a six-figure corporate job with Men’s Health magazine.  Belanger recalls, “I wasn’t happy. Never had been, really. After I graduated college, I dreamed of writing for a magazine. I found a job at a small publishing company, but as a financial analyst. I didn’t really have a numbers background, but at a time when computers were just starting to take over the workplace, my ability to drive around an Excel document served me well. My path was chosen.”

He goes on to talk about the whirlwind of corporate suits, promotions, raises and misery he endured over the next decade.  In the end, Steve went after what was preprogrammed into his DNA (creativity) in order to find peace and prosperity.

My guess is, you could find five people online with just a quick social media post who have similar histories to Liz and Steve.  For some reason, we all seem to have a knack for painting ourselves into corners in the name of doing what must be done.  Hmph

“I Have to Do It All.”  Not!

I’m not sure why small business owners and entrepreneurs feel this way.  Undoubtedly, part of it has to do with the size of their budgets.  Get ready to breathe a sigh of relief.  No, you do not have to do it all.  And, what’s more, chances are you’ll make more money if you don’t try to do everything yourself.

If your love is social media (for example), put your efforts there instead of wasting hours a day spinning your wheels only to make a tiny bit of progress with something else.  Get the necessary training (if you haven’t already) and put the majority of your energy into this segment of marketing.  Because you’re good at it, you’ll be able to complete social media tasks more quickly and – almost certainly – be profitable to boot.

With the additional revenue you make, you can compile a virtual team and pay others to handle your web design, videos and whatever else is on your “dislikes” list.  And, yes, you will have more than one like.  As a matter of fact, you will have an entire short list of “likes” and “dislikes” in your marketing DNA.

Getting It Done Without Actually Doing It

In the Internet age, the world has gotten a lot smaller.  It’s oh-so-simple now to fire off an email and hire someone to do what we don’t want to or don’t have time to do.  You can increase your chances at success and significantly reduce your stress level if you focus on what you were born to do.

It’s More Fun (and Profitable!) to Do What You Love

I’m the first to admit: techie details are not my thing.  When I’m creating new copywriting training products, I love generating ideas.  Planning out what to include in a new course, writing the lessons or recording the video modules, teaching the material at live events or via webinars online… all of that is fun for me.  I get excited about it!

Ask me how to integrate my shopping cart with PayPal or how to set up a system that promotes my course on autopilot and my eyes roll.  When you start talking digital delivery options that would allow my copywriting training to get to thousands of people 24 hours a day, I begin to feel nauseous.

Those are not part of my marketing DNA.  Yes, I have been trained on how to do those things and – if I just had to – I could get everything set up.  It would likely cut 10 years from my life and stress me out to no end, but I could do it if I had no other options.

What about you?  What gives you the heebie-jeebies?   What part of marketing makes your mouth go dry and your palms sweat?  Public speaking?  Copywriting?  Relationship marketing?  Negotiation?  Campaign management?  Systems creation?  Making videos?  Creating products?  Social media?  Website design?  SEO?

Then don’t do them.

It’s very liberating to find out what you were created to do and then develop a plan that allows you to spend most of your days doing it.  Here’s the path I suggest:

1. Go through your to-do list and write down the activities you do that are on your “likes” and “dislikes” lists.

2. Research products, services and vendors that can help you to do more of the things you love and less of the ones you don’t.

I can’t tell you what a relief it was to give myself permission to do the things that come naturally to me and stop struggling with the rest.  From my experience, when you’re true to your marketing DNA, then peace, prosperity and purpose quickly follow.

Come join my Intentional Marketing Revolution. I’m hosting a 3-video series that will walk you through how to set up a marketing plan for your business.  Whether you’re just starting out or are a marketer who has just never created an actual, real-life marketing plan before, you’ll find the help you need to get underway.  Get all the details and register here.

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About Karon Thackston

For over 25 years, web & SEO copywriter Karon Thackston has created optimized copy and content that has increased conversions & search rankings. Find out more about Karon on Google+.


  1. Hey Karon,
    It appears that the marketingdnaquiz link doesn’t work.
    Liz recently posted..Ways To Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have A ClueMy Profile

  2. Stacey says:

    Yeah, I agree with you! And it also depends on the effort that we put in to it. If we know we give it our best, it’ll work out just fine! 🙂

  3. Great post, Karen! There is a freedom and peace in accepting and following natural talents that I wouldn’t trade for anything. While attempting positions outside our comfort zones may cause us to stretch and grow, which is a good thing, they can also overwhelm us to the point of misery, so learning when to say no or pass on an opportunity is essential for our sanity. 🙂

  4. Thanks Faith. Yes, we do need to grow and stretch, but when it gets to the point that you’re banging your head against a wall because you just can’t get it, it’s time for help. I am just not a techy person and trying to do that stuff never turns out well, I get frustrated and angry and waste a lot of time. It is always cheaper, easier and more profitable (in the long run) for me to outsource that. It’s not in my DNA.

    I can be much more profitable spending my time on revenue-generating pursuits in my biz and spending the money to have a pro do what I can’t.
    Karon Thackston recently posted..My New Year’s Revolution: Intentional MarketingMy Profile

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