How cancer made me a better marketer (valuing time)

cancer fighter

Time is precious. It is the most valuable thing people will ever give your small business, because it can’t be returned. So, as marketers or small business owners, when we waste our customers’ and potential customers’ time, we are robbing them of a commodity worth more than money. 

I learned the value of time when I had late-stage cancer. I had a 50/50 chance of survival, and I was forced to come to grips with my own mortality. 

I thought about all the things I hadn’t done. Mainly, that if I only had more time, I would be able to find a wife, start a family of my own, do some traveling, and get to experience a host of other things that make life worth living. 

Now, nearly 11 years after that experience, I have an incredible wife and a sweet little son. 

I have a wonderful niece and nephew whom I would have never known had I died. 

I have made new friends, become part of my wife’s family, and have gotten much closer to my family. 

I’ve gotten to experience new countries, visit national landmarks, and start my own business. I have been blessed with over a decade of wonderful memories that would have otherwise been lost to cancer. 

Time is precious indeed.

That’s why I hate spamming or anything else that tries to steal my attention without providing anything of value. 

I’ve talked a lot about how marketers can add value to their audience. The underlying reason is this: Valuable content doesn’t waste anyone’s time.

But as valuable as your content is, it’s not for everyone. When I was sick, people gave me books I never read. I couldn’t — my brain was like mush due to the intense chemotherapy I was undergoing. Since I had trouble focusing, these books weren’t for me during that time.

Similarly, your products and services aren’t going to meet everyone’s needs. You could dress it up in a fancy marketing campaign, but if people don’t need or want what you’re selling, it doesn’t matter how pretty it looks.

What matters is understanding the right audience for your stuff. For instance, I was the right audience for a Nintendo Wii, because I could actually focus long enough to play it. 

I was also a good audience for comic books. I wanted to read. But following the events of a novel was incredibly difficult. Comics made the reading process easier.

So how do you determine what content is valuable to your audience?

Discovering this answer may take creating a buyer persona. But I think it comes down to why you started your business in the first place, knowing the need you meet, and empathizing with those whom it’s for. 

You’re doing your work for someone, so know them well enough to create meaningful content. The kind of content that recognizes the value of their time.

If you do this well, you’ll build brand loyalty and be more attractive to potential customers.

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