The challenges facing anyone who wants to share their work with the world, who wants clients to know they exist--who relies on strangers for a part of their business--have been described in many, thoughtful ways. Hell, Seth Godin is taking over (a certain part) the world just because he thinks so deeply about it.
But something dawned on me today: good marketing, at least in the fitness world, is not adversarial (buyer v. seller), it's not even "just a numbers game" (the more exposure the better). The difficulty with marketing for us lies in the discrepancy between what the trainee knows and what the trainer knows. If the trainee knew all about what they were buying, most of the time they wouldn't need experts to help them--they would be experts themselves.
So the trainee relies on the people selling the stuff for their information. All is well and good if both parties are focused on what they are purportedly committed to: the trainee's best possible interests. Trainers hold themselves to an incredibly high standard (and they know enough to know what that standard looks like), and trainees get good information, improve, and are well served.
But when trainers don't hold themselves accountable, the whole system breaks down. Trainees don't improve (or get worse) even as they spend dollars based on the advice of the ineffective trainers. Those ineffective trainers start believing that fitness is actually about marketing, in the most pushy sense of the word, and everyone keeps shaking their head, wondering why so much of the fitness industry is a joke.
It all hinges on integrity.