Several years ago in a presentation I gave titled, "10 Ways to Avoid Marketing Success" I spent some amount of time discussing the lack of "opinion" among many marketers. This afternoon I ran across some wonderful commentary at the new Corante blog, BrandShift, discussing the very same thing.
I don't know about you, but I couldn't market for something I felt no passion for. And with the passion I do feel for the things, people, firms, and ideas I market it just feels natural to have an opinion... and state it out loud. And that was my rant in the presentation; Not nearly enough marketers will state their opinion out loud.
I believe it's safe to say that every marketer DOES have an opinion, but the posture of neutrality (sitting on the fence observing) is a means of self-preservation and avoiding commitment, or worse, avoiding the pain have having a position/opinion challenged.
Among professional services marketers I have heard so much self-defeating thinking coming from really intelligent people. "I don't know enough."; "I am just going to lose anyway."; "Why would they listen to me?"; "It doesn't matter what my opinion is, they're going to make their own choices."; and the one I hate the most, "Hey, I'm just doing what I'm told."
This is the part in the presentation when I'd emphatically shout to the audience, "WOULD YOU PLEASE GET YOUR OPINIONS OUT OF YOUR THROATS AND ACROSS YOUR LIPS!" Of all the professions, marketers, qualified by the very nature of what we do, should be a profession of passionately opinionated people! And great marketing comes from a place of passion, of creativity, both born of having an opinion and making it known.
Stating an opinion does not have to be an attack against someone else's ideas. It simply requires you to speak of what you believe, and that you act like your belief. Being open in this fashion makes it possible to learn, grow, change, and create change. This is a good thing.
By the way... coming soon to this blog, "10 Ways to Avoid Marketing Success."