A Reminder: It’s All About People

I was talking with a friend a couple of days ago about marketing which led us to talk about popular searches  and just for nothing in particular I thought I’d take a look. About 80% of the most popular searches are about a person.

Not the same person, obviously, but to maybe express it more clearly the most popular searches are about people.

The most popular people appear to be those in the ‘Entertainment’ business if you are in the USA. In the UK the most popular people are still in ‘entertainment’ though most likely they will also be someone who did something noteworthy recently. That can be being evicted from Big Brother, confessing to having had an affair a few years ago (Don’t ask me, I don’t know either) or any one of a surprising number of activities that probably wouldn’t get a mention if it was an unknown who had performed them.

In Australia the most popular people were sports people. I guess that’s still entertainment?

How can this help your marketing?

Marketing is about connecting with your target market, meaning with a select group of people. It involves positioning your product or service inside their world, convincing your target market that they need it.

What the popular searches tell us is not to dwell to much on the features of your product or service, instead describe what effect they will have on the person reading your copy. People are mostly interested in people. Connect to that in-built drive and your message will be far better understood and accepted.

Describe the experience of using your product or service from the perspective of the buyer. Show them how it will improve their lifestyle. Include some comments from other people – also called ‘testimonials’.

Remember the world’s most popular radio station: WII-FM. That’s the call sign, their tagline is “What’s In It – For Me?”

The Single Most Important Factor In Marketing

I can guarantee that nearly everyone reading this is making a fundamental mistake in their marketing, one that is costing them more than half the business they might be getting. Get it right and your business will more than double, keep getting it wrong and you will continue to struggle.

That secret is revealed in this post, but allow me to tell you why I’m writing about it now rather than letting you in on the secret years ago.

Over the weekend I spoke to an old friend who amongst other more friendly things told me I “was the wrong profile for a marketer”. For those that know what it means I am a “Lord” profile, and for those that don’t know what that means then I like systems. I like to see things happen in a systematic way.

Now that comment made me stop and think. You see I am actually quite good at marketing, and yet I understood why some would think otherwise. And then it dawned on me.

There is a ‘hidden’ marketing secret that 99.9% of people get wrong. For most people ‘marketing and promotion’ is something they do when they can’t put it off any longer. There are a couple of reasons why most people do this.

The first reason is that ‘marketing’ is a dirty word. Look at the way it is represented in most movies or books: some sleazebag grabs you when you are in the middle of something important and will not take “NO!” for an answer. And to be fair, there really are people who think that’s how marketing is done. They follow the 1980’s-style break the door down and confuse ‘em until they buy strategy. I’m sure you have met some of those. So we avoid being a ‘marketer’ because we don’t want people we know to think we are like that.

The marketing copy seems to be designed to make you feel like an idiot if you don’t buy, or it goes on and on and on with seemingly endless irrelevant details. I don’t know anyone who enjoys reading adverts that are longer than they need to be, do you? By the way, this isn’t a comment on “Long copy” versus “Short copy”, I’ll leave that discussion for another post.

So we don’t want our friends to think we are “One of those”.

That causes the second problem. We market only when we have to. That means that the marketing system doesn’t have the impetus to work properly. Let me explain it this way.

Imagine you own a farm, and that since it is a small farm you are the only person who works on it. You have a crop in the ground, so you need to fertilise it, keep the bugs off and generally look after it the best way you know how so that you get the best price when that crop is taken to market. That’s obvious.

Though growing a crop isn’t limited to the time after the crop is sown. Before you can do that you must prepare the ground – aerate the soil and then plough it so that the growing crop is as successful as it can be, and add what the ground needs to produce a good crop, then actually sow the seeds and then protect them until they germinate.

Your business is like that too. You must deliver on your current contract, making sure you look after your current customer and give them the best possible experience and yet if you don’t also look for more customers then you will  have plenty of time next month to do some marketing but precious little income.

Your income is determined by you doing the job, but if you don’t market your business successfully your income will have peaks and troughs that make life way more ‘interesting’ than it needs to be.

So you need to deliver to current customers and you need to look for new ones at the same time. How do you do that?

The answer is you need a marketing system. One that works for you rather than one that requires you to work for it.

Some of you just thought “You can’t automate marketing”. And in 1980 you’d have been right. Now let me explain a little more about a good marketing system.

We all know about the 80/20 Rule. It basically says that 80% of your income will come from 20% of the customers. In the perfect world you would spend most (if not all) your time delivering value to the 20% rather than trying to figure out what the 80% were thinking. Well actually that’s the automated part.

Your time is limited, so the ideal is to just talk to the 20% of people who are interested in what you have for sale. That way you can fit everything into your busy day.

So your first marketing contact shouldn’t be to look for as many sales as possible, it should be to separate the 80% who will almost never buy from the 20% who really need what you have. Can you see the system here? How it works better for both the Buyer and the Seller? And the Non-Buyer! The Non-Buyer isn’t bombarded with what are now nuisance messages, the Buyer receives the attention they deserve, and you, the Seller, make the best use of your time. And that means a bigger profit for all.

Here is an example  of an initial contact that separates the 80% who don’t need my services just now from the 20% that do. It is currently running at above 30% opt-in, so it is out-performing the 80/20 rule (maybe I should start a 70/30 rule?) and it just says “If you are looking for this, just let me know”. Everyone who has indicated interest receives a personal contact from me.

See the system? And how that makes best use of my marketing time?

I’ll talk about Long and Short copy in the next post.

Good marketing, Iain

What’s Wrong With Marketing Today?

We all complain about marketers and salespeople, and we look back on a long history of problems. Well, mostly a long history of perceived problems.

What I mean is that the problems are often non-existent, that the sales person was really only ever trying to do the best they could to deliver what the customer wanted.

The biggest issue is that the art and science of marketing and sales has changed in recent times.

Prior to about the 1970’s there wasn’t really a lot of sales-specific training. There were a few early adopters like Nightingale but there was no sales training ‘industry’ as we have now.

Those early techniques were refined and honed to a fine point and then stored away, forever documented in books and articles.

The real problem starts when you accept that the market has changed since the 1980’s or thereabouts.

People are still people, and we still have the same values and principles. What has changed is our reaction to marketing messages.

Modern technology allows us to be bombarded with information, almost 24/7. Our phones now accept emails from multiple email accounts, we can receive text messages from anyone who has our number (and our growing social media involvement means that the number is more widely known than ever before) and the applications we install on our phone to make our life easier can ‘push’ messages our way. That means we have become immune to an old-fashioned promotion.

Advertisers used to produce really painful adverts as well as the clever ones based on the principle that “I don’t care why they remember the brand as long as they remember it”. The painful adverts are now mostly avoided by the average consumer, meaning they have a negative effect. They motivate people to avoid the brand rather than supporting it.

Today marketing and sales is more collaborative than ever before. The buyer has to inform the seller about what they are looking for and the seller has to present their case to the buyer. Each has to be confident that they fully understood the other and that they are sure that their message was delivered.

The real test? Would all parties repeat that exact transaction again? The goal should be to ensure that every participant is happy with the outcome: fair prices paid, fair profits made, and the right product or service is delivered to the right place at the right time.

5 Easy Steps to Improve Your Productivity

Everyone looks for improved productivity, but how many of us know what to do to achieve the productivity we want? Here are five simple things you can do to bring your productivity to the level you want.

Do you understand your market?

Marketing is a little like clothing – one size does not fit all. There are things that you need to know about your market if you want to maximise your service and profits. Not knowing these things will cost you money, effort and time.