The Two Pillars of Marketing

Marketing is a much-maligned industry, often accused of various nefarious deeds that help part people form their money. But that’s not what marketing is.

Marketing is about informing – or even educating – your market about your product or service. Let me expand on that a bit.

Let’s say that you have the best widgets. They are better quality, have more features, and come in more sizes and colors than your competitors. People who use yours have a product that is easier to use, cheaper to run, and that has some additional automated features that really make it stand out from the crowd. Wouldn’t you be doing people a favour if you let them know about the real benefits of your widgets compared to others? Of course you would, and that’s called marketing.

We can assume that you have a product or service with a competitive advantage. Now you need to tell people about that. There are two areas that you need to jointly focus on, and missing out either one will mean that your marketing is less effective than it should or could be. The thing is that most marketers focus only on the second factor. You are about to learn about both.

Both are equally important. One without the other means that you are substantially paying somebody to print their magazine, host their website or whatever applies to the media you chose. In other words you are only supporting your advertising medium, you are not supporting or promoting your own business.

The first pillar of marketing is an understanding of the human mind. You have to get into step with the mind of your target, otherwise they may not even be aware of your attempt to educate them! Let’s look at that in a little more detail.

Your body is bombarded with literally millions of pieces of information every second. The cells of your skin each report back with they feel, your eyes and ears constantly provide updates as do your other senses, and you also need to control the beating of your heart and your breathing. Imagine if you had to consciously control all that.  Luckily your body has a mechanism that filters out stuff that you don’t consider important.

You have probably bought something, a special purchase like a new car, new suit, new pair of shoes etc where you thought the item was unusual, that it stood out from the crowd and you’d never seen one before only to find that on the way home you saw a half dozen of them. That’s your filter at work.

Your filter only allows things that it knows you want to know about: updates on usual things like things your partner says or does, statements by or about your favorite store for example, and things that are really out of the usual like a celebrity suddenly appearing in front of you.

Your filter wasn’t tuned in to the item you bought until you bought it, as you went back home your filter allowed them through and you became aware of them. That’s why they ‘suddenly’ appeared. You know they were there all the time, it’s just that now you are aware of them.

That just means that your marketing message has to be positioned to get through your target markets’ filter or they effectively aren’t even aware it exists.

Your message then has to demonstrate relevance almost immediately, otherwise they will be aware of your message but bypass it anyway.

This is why in printed copy your heading and sub-heading are so important, and in audio and video why the first few seconds is so important. You must break through the filter and then demonstrate relevance or your marketing message has missed its target.

That’s all good, and now you need to wrap that into something that generates an emotion – excitement, fear, loathing, happiness, joy – you must build on the initial ‘relevance’ and generate a real connection.

How do you break though the filter? You can describe their problem or the solution to their problem. That will attract their attention in the first instance.

Then you talk about how they benefit by doing business with you. For example if you have a problem with your marketing you might respond to something like:

“The two pillars of marketing – learn about the vital second pillar and become a price maker not a price taker”.

“Wasting money on advertising? Discover the vital second pillar and never waste an advert again”.

“Are you being gouged because you don’t know if your advertising agency is doing the right thing by you? Learn how to review their work and save money while producing more effective advertising”.

These are of course only a very small sample of what you could say. and you can’t see the rest of the copy, which might then describe exactly your problem with a solution that is elegant, effective and costs less than your current solution –  the point is for you to understand the use of both the filter and emotion when creating the introduction to your message.

Failure to have a solid foundation could mean that your message isn’t even consciously seen, and failure to include some emotion might mean that although they like your statement they aren’t inspired enough to follow your call to action.

Get excited for your market, tell them what you can do for them in ways that resonate with them and I promise that your business will go from strength to strength.

New Way To Deliver Your Business Contact Information

I’ve just attended a very interesting presentation – and I’d like to share the knowledge with you.

Until I heard the conversation I had not realized just how problematic a regular Business Card is. I knew that people are likely to have problems finding it after a week or two, but I hadn’t realized that after I move office and so I have a new address and phone number then the card I gave you is now full of useless info.

Here is a solution to that – an electronic card. It is my gift to you. And by ‘gift’ I mean that it has some apps attached that you can use, immediately, and for no cost to you. All you do is click the ‘Your Free Apps’ link at the bottom of the page.

Save your passwords in a safe place, your bank account information, invoice your clients and more, and all of this is available form any internet-connected device.

Would your customers appreciate this kind of link?

I hope my gift is as useful to you as it has been for me
http://bit.ly/1q513Os

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

x Things you need to know about Market Segments

There are two important perspectives of Market Segments. This article discusses both and you will learn why both perspectives are needed to maximise your profit.