I suck at marketing.

I read several blogs about marketing because I learn a lot about how it’s supposed to work. Several of them have plenty to say that applies to fields other than marketing, too. They’re interesting and entertaining.

For all my reading their blogs, though, I still suck at marketing.

My friend René-Paul can sell ice to an Eskimo. (He doesn’t have a blog.) Three years ago he visited every Rotary club in upstate New York, Montreal and Ontario selling cookbooks.

They were cookbooks with recipes collected from people around AuSable, NY. A bunch of recipes like Presbyterian Chicken. No famous chefs involved.

He sold over 1000 cookbooks, in English, to French-speaking Canadians at $20 each.

He did it by doing what all these blogs I read say you have to do. Tell a compelling story.

Proceeds from the sales went to Rotary clean water projects. He was really selling the Rotary clean water project, not the cookbooks.

The cookbooks weren’t worth $20. I still have 500 of them rotting in my garage. I can’t even give them away.

People were pitching in $20 to be a part of a bigger project. They probably dropped the cookbooks in their recycle bins when they got home.

I suck at marketing. But it’s fascinating to see how people who are good at it do what they do.

I guess I’ll have to stick to what I’m good at: code. Over the past couple weeks several people have asked me how I do the magic I make computers do.

I wish I could tell a compelling story about it. Most of the time, the details put people to sleep.

I’ve started settling for a 1-word answer: “Practice.”

That’s probably how great marketers do it, too.