In a beautiful little book called, The Zen Path Through Depression, Philip Martin offers advice for easing the pain of depression that could just as easily apply to the practice of marketing:

When we are lost, frightened, or facing something new or unknown, our first impulse is usually to either run or fight. Years of evolution have built that into us. Though at times the moment calls for one of those responses, at other times running from our condition or fighting against it will only increase our pain and our sense of being trapped. Stumbling in fear and panic, we become more lost. In depression we often run until we become swallowed up in the darkness that has become our life. What may be crucial to our healing is, first, to do nothing.

That passage alone may make The Zen Path Through Depression the single most sensible, effective book on marketing ever published.

It’s hard to think of anything that causes more people to feel more lost, more frightened, or less sure than marketing. And it’s even harder to think of something that makes people feel more urgently compelled to do something! Anything! Right now!

Stop. Breathe. Think. Do nothing.

Look at this word: marketing.

Now look at this word: sales.

See? We can tell almost immediately that marketing and sales signify different things because marketing has more letters in it than sales. The fact marketing takes longer to spell than sales is an indication of the fact that marketing requires more patience than sales.

There are other differences, too: Marketing connotes the activities involved in making people aware of products and services. Sales connotes receiving or exchanging something for money. The fact that it takes longer to make people aware of products and services than it does to take their money is another indication of the fact that marketing requires more patience than sales.

Now let’s look at behavior: Most companies get tired of their marketing programs and campaigns long before those programs and campaigns have made people aware of the products and services the companies are trying to sell. How many companies get tired of making sales? The fact that most companies tire of their own marketing before their target audiences can receive, absorb, comprehend, recall, trust, and emotionally connect with their messages is the most important indication of the fact that marketing requires more patience than sales.

Here’s the bottom line: If you invest twice as much patience as money in your marketing program, you’ll be fine.

Anything else leads to depression.

Image by johnhain, courtesy of