April 26, 2020, Israel
I recall my first semester in business school, my first lesson in marketing. I did not get it. The professor showed us a photo of a luxury car. Leaning on the car was a beautiful woman with a drink in her hand. Now I understand the connotation and the connection. Psychologically the car seller wants you to connect the ideas; a luxury car is a reflection of your success as a man, a beautiful woman is a sign of your success in life, the drink a sign of relaxation, you have made it. At the time though it made no sense to me and I asked the professor if the woman is included with the purchase of the car. At that time I did not understand the logic. But marketing is not based on logic, it is based on perception, on psychology. In many ways it is based on falsehood. You want to create the impression of success, whether it is true or not. In other words financial success, being able to afford this luxury automobile does not necessarily lead to a beautiful woman entering your life. Thus the association is false. And such a woman who only cares about your finances is unlikely to make you happy.
Marketing; the idea of convincing someone they need something which they don't need and had no intention of buying. The idea of creating a need where there is none. Now I do understand the need for getting your name out there. I do understand that if I stay in my basement it is unlikely the world will discover me. My dear friend and mentor Arthur Cohen did not have the funds he needed towards the end of this life. I always told him he was the martial arts' world best kept secret. I do understand that we must find a way to make ourselves known, but we must do it in a honest way. This is indeed challenging. We must trust the idea that honesty is indeed the best long term strategy, not only that but it is the only philosophy that will allow us to live with ourselves in peace. It is a simple idea.
Many martial arts schools and associations are based on gimmicks. I have read the articles in "professional" martial arts magazines, I have been at some meetings. Image, gimmicks, promotional deals, this will bring in a certain number of clients, (students?) but will this create a long term relationship? I am very proud that many of our IKI instructors are going on ten, eleven and twelve years of membership. Arthur Cohen's top student was with him for 37 years until death did them part. This says a great deal about an association and its members.
I recall one day Steve Gar, our counter-terror instructor, asked me how do I have so many quality students. I did not understand the question, or the compliment. But eventually I did. He works with many groups, he sees many Krav Maga instructors and many students each year, but he was very impressed with our students on Tour and Train. He asked me how I managed to recruit such high quality people. He was not referring to their martial arts ability but rather to their character as human beings. I did not know how to answer because I never recruited anyone, they all simply signed up and joined the program. It took me a few years to understand the answer. The answer came from the students themselves.
Over the years many friendly voices have criticized the IKI website; it is too old fashioned, it is good only for professors, it does not suit the limited attention span of most people these days, it is not "sexy", it is for Dinosaur's like yourself. I understood that I am a failure at marketing. This hit me hard. But then those who chose to be members, those who chose this path with me, begin dropping little clues, hints...I read your blogs for three years before signing up for Tour and Train. Or, I have followed you for years, reading your blog and waiting for it every day, or...every day I wake up and as I get my coffee and turn on my computer I hope....I hope Moshe wrote a blog today.
And then I realized. This is the answer to Steve's' question: I did not recruit anyone, these fine people choose me and IKI. This is not marketing, this is honesty. When a professional web designer offered her severe critique of my website she said, one thing I can tell you is that your voice comes through loud and clear on every page.
Yes, this is my voice, my message, my heart, and it is honest. There are no gimmicks here, there are no "sales". Those who find value in it, will join us. those who need what we offer, shall find us. As a fisherman once said. "If you have something worth biting on, eventually the fish will find you, you just have to be patient".
And the waiting is the hardest part...(Tom Petty)
Honesty is such a lonely word, Everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard, and mostly what I need from you. (Billy Joel)
To those who have chosen this path with me, I am honored by your camaraderie. And the journey continues...
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