There was a fellow student I admired in college both for all he had endured and all he planned to do with his life. Years later, we connected on Facebook and he reacted bitterly to my choice of profession. In his mind, all types of marketing were pure evil.

Without us ever having a debate or disagreement of any substance, he unfollowed me and has never reached out to me again.

He was on a mission to write a great book which could affect real change. And I have no doubt that he could. But his adamant objection to all forms of marketing gave me reason to question whether he might actually succeed at his goal.

While many forms of marketing are manipulative, my job was SEO, which is the most passive and non-manipulative form I know. Why he objected to my work I’ll never know. Perhaps he didn’t know that non-manipulative forms of marketing exist.

And so I wonder. Did this purist ever get his book published? Did it sell any copies? Did he affect great change?

Here’s the deal. This shouldn’t be news to anyone in the 21st Century, but in case you’ve been under a rock:

Even really amazing art won’t get noticed if people who would care don’t know it exists.

Marketing can be manipulative, but it doesn’t have to be. It CAN be just the process of building awareness. It CAN be just a way of informing potential customers that a relevant product now exists.

And that’s called being helpful. Not evil.

Photo credit: opensourceway via / CC BY-SA

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