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Episode 4: Marketing Magic

Episode 4: Marketing Magic

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Roosevelt was right, and we ought to stop being frightened by everything that goes bump˛ in the night.


Alan Weiss here, welcome to our podcast on Marketing Magic. Let me ask you a question, why don’t you purchase from the Indian Technology spammers and scammers? Why don’t you purchase from them do you get your SEO designation much higher or you can get up a new website for pennies and they can make you wealthier and healthier and sing better too? You don’t do it because you know there’s nothing in it for you. The same reason you don’t send money to the Nigerians telling you that they’re holding $7 million in a behest from some lost uncle. In fact, the Nigerians are probably more successful than Indians because at least they’re offering to send you some money.

Most people who tell me they want to partner don’t want to partner, they want me to give them money in other words, their partnering is taking money from my pocket and putting it into their pocket. That’s not partnering. They don’t bring me anything I don’t have. They’re not putting anything on the table. So the question I ask is what’s in it for me? It should be the question you ask yourself and the prospect asks of herself or himself. Money, ego, disability, appointment, improvement, philanthropy, you name it. It doesn’t have to be solely money, all of that can be in it for you or in it for me.

The problem with pyramid marketing, the Ponzi schemes, whether you call them multilevel marketing and network marketing or George doesn’t really matter. They’re unethical and that’s because they make money at someone else’s expense. Drucker said that the purpose of business is to have a customer and to contribute to the outside environment. Well, pyramid marketing schemes simply pay people for bringing people into the scheme and then it collapses because there aren’t sufficient people to keep bringing in. I did a calculation once for one of my books and I found out that by the time you get to a certain level of multilevel marketing, say the seventh or eighth level, you need the population of Cincinnati to give you a decent proposition of supporting it for new members, that is for them making money on new members. It doesn’t work.

I met a guy I had seen in college about five or six after we graduated Rutgers. I met him by accident in a bar at a Polynesian restaurant. He said, “I’m making more money in this special marketing I’m doing than I am in my full-time job, you ought to join us.” I went and I showed up and there were 30 people in a room and, I don’t know, some kind of floor detergent they claim was doing miracle stuff but then the speaker turns up and a cabbie outside which he ostentatiously parks and points to with a pinkie diamond ring, at least some kind of diamond ring and he makes the big pitch for multilevel marketing.

Today, it’s internet based. People doing launches. You get something for free then you sign on for the subscription and you watch the videos and then they teach you not any useful content but how to launch your own subscription business for others. It’s more pyramid marketing. It’s not about value. So what’s the magic in marketing? Well, marketing creates need. The more need you create, the better. The more competition there is, the better. Competition opens markets. People tell me all the time they’re worried about the competition. Praise the competition. Pray for the competition because the more competition you have, the wider open the market is. That’s why Wendy’s build hamburger joints across the street from McDonald’s. They know people are going there to buy burgers.

Most customers don’t know what they need. They simply know what they want. Once you expose them to need, you’ve moved out of the commodity business and into the value business. So you need silence sometimes to be able to listen and then offer something that they didn’t know they needed. One of my better sales was a quarter million dollar sale to an insurance company who was convinced that they needed a strategic communications plan given the merger that they just went through. After listening and knowing that five other consultants had told them that, I told them that’s what they wanted but not what they needed because they had nothing to communicate. What they needed was to listen.

So we’re not selling, you and I. We are providing value, offering value enabling the buyer to buy. That’s what marketing is about. We’re giving. If we’re giving. We’re never afraid of what? Interrupting people, interfering with people because we’d be remiss if we didn’t. We’re not taking, we’re giving. The best restaurants start in a [mousse bush 00:04:50], they give you something for free. Is it built into their pricing? Yes. But you perceive it’s for free. It’s value. It’s nice to them. The best restaurants I go to or I’m a regular customer give me a free drink, a free bottle of wine, a free dessert. Sometimes from time to time, sometimes every time because I’m a good customer and they want to be perceived as giving things.

I stopped going to a Japanese sushi place we had supported since this guy opened it, a real entrepreneur. He moved into a bigger location, we supported him there and then to still a bigger location and opened a second restaurant. In all of those years, he never so much has bought me a free glass of saki and so we’re out of there. There’s too many good sushi places and he’s not that differentiated. So sales is a commodity pursuit, not a value pursuit. When we were in Venice on one of our trips, we went to Mirano to the famous glass factory in Mirano. It’s a fascinating place. The trouble is they’re trying to sell you every second of your visit. They come at you from the isles, from the woodwork, from under the counters. They’re trying to sell you every single second. It’s not pleasant. I love the glass, I love the artistry but I’m not buying from people who are so annoying. So there.

Branding is essential in marketing magic. The two key definitions of branding that you need to keep in your mind are these, one, a brand is a representation of uniform quality. No one goes into a McDonald’s to browse. They know exactly why they’re going in, what the menu is going to be and no matter where you are in the world, with variation for some local dietary restrictions and so forth, it’s going to be the same experience. By the way, parenthetically, it’s the same thing with the catholic church, every place in the world, you know when you walk in, they’re going to be exact same mass in the same order, but I digress. The second thing about branding is that it’s how people think about you when you’re not there. Since this is a timing business, you can’t be everywhere at once. In fact, you can only be at one place at once, that’s rather important.

The first great marketer was probably St. Paul. He did a tremendous amount of writing, more to spread Christianity than Christ. He was on the road to Damascus and had an epiphany and instead of violently persecuting Christians, he decided that that was the way to go, to represent Christianity. Converts are always more zealous than original supporters and that’s why I’m mentioning St. Paul because people who follow you from the beginning will continue to follow you but people who opposed you at the beginning, who are brought around to believe in you and your value are more zealous than anyone. St. Paul began viral marketing. He said to the Colossians or the Philippians or the Greeks or whomever, “Hey look, you 10 people, hear my message. Now you go tell 10 people and tell each one of them to tell 10 people.” It was the beginning of viral marketing and it worked.

The value being offered were not bad, atonement, peace, forgiveness, salvation. He was able to spread the word and we should be able to spread the word on much more tangible items than a belief in God. Infomercials, you know offer things. They’re not just dumb commercials on TV. They offer things. But wait there’s more. If you act now and we’ll send you two for no extra cost if you just pay a huge amount in extra handling. I was in some hotel in some city, I cannot, for the life of me remember where or when and it was 1 in the morning. I had a little jet lag and I’m watching late night TV and they bring on an advertisement for the thumb wrench. This wrench is supposed to wear in your thumb that helps … has attachments, don’t ask me.

Anyway, I’m looking at this commercial and I’m saying, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” Then they told me that in 40 minutes, it would end, the offer ends, going off the air. With about 20 minutes to go, I said, “Yeah, I’m just enjoying hearing about this but what on earth?” So I ordered a thumb wrench. I took out my Mastercard 1:30 in the morning and ordered a thumb wrench and I got a second one, for just another $12 shipping and handling. They still sit in my garage. I have no idea how to use them. Don’t know what to do with them but there you go.

Here’s some marketing magic you should think about specifically. Use third party evangelists. That’s what I was talking about with Paul. But not just with non-buyers. Use them with buyers who can do more. So take your top purchasers and mix them with other purchasers who aren’t purchasing as much. After all, they’ve already been sold on you. They already trust you. They have already used your services and so escalating to a slightly higher level is not that difficult especially when a third party does it who’s already been there and done that. Evangelism, third party evangelists. Number two is scarcity. Provide the offers that disappear. Most of my workshops get more and more expensive the closer you get to the date. When I advertise that in two weeks the current fee will go up, I get a lot of business during those junctures.

Number three, provide a bargain or urgency to get people to act now, if you do it today, you get a free book. You get a free membership in a subscription or teleconference or a webinar. But you have to do it today. Offer doesn’t exist next week. Offer bonuses. One of the things I learned in social media marketing is that when we offered bonuses for my book, Million Dollar Maverick, buy X number and you get this, buy Y number and you get and so forth that they were accepted. One person bought 750 books because of what I offered at that level. Several people bought a hundred books apiece because of what I offered at that level. Bonuses work.

Offer social proof. Social proof would be prestigious endorsements, people who are believed, they don’t have to be your evangelists but they count, by name, by title, by company. Then think of the Halo effect. Associate what you do with other positives. There’s a furniture place up here and for some reason in Rhode Island, there is a plethora of furniture places. But this one’s called Cardi’s, it’s run by three brothers. The Cardi brothers are very generous, contributed to charities, very philanthropic. What they do is they have something called iDelivery. Now I don’t know what the I stands for in that delivery but it’s of course a … People are accustomed to thinking of it in terms of iPHone and iPad and so forth and so they call it iDelivery. They associated value with value. When they advertise just before say the Law and Order series that was on, they would talk about Law and Order and then their particular promotion that day. They’re associating value with value with this Halo effect.

Then there’s confirmation bias. Confirmation bias means that what you’re providing is consistent with your beliefs. When I went to see Hamilton with the original cast, with the ticket that was almost impossible to get and to this day, the hardest ticket I’ve ever had to procure and I’ve seen everything I want to on Broadway for 40 years. The people in those seats wanted the play to succeed, they wanted the cast to be great and they were cheering before the curtain went up and there was nothing that cast could have done that would have disappointed them. There was a confirmation bias. That is I am at a great play because I paid so much money and everybody loves it and I’m going to love it too. If you have a phone in your car, you’re going to use it because you want to prove that it was a good idea to install the Bluetooth or to use the hands-free phone.

Then finally there’s recency bias which is frequent repetition. A lot of people act on the last thing they were told. You need to keep repeating it. This is why advertising is repetitious. A lot of people say during a long football game, “Why do they keep repeating the same errors?” Because they want to drill it into you with the same message. So when you’re thinking of marketing magic, remember these things, third party evangelists, scarcity, the bargain of urgency, bonuses, social proof, the Halo effect, confirmation bias and recency bias.

Now, how much do you market? I’m asked all the time how much of my week should I put toward marketing? The answer is at least 50% or more. Now, that might include writing, calling for referrals, creating new IP, doesn’t mean you’re out on the street corner giving out free tickets but at least 50%. This is the marketing business. I don’t care what kind of consulting or coaching or facilitating or training or anything else you do, this is the marketing business and so you should spend most of your time on your business. You can market while you deliver. There’s nothing wrong with delivering in an organization and investigating who else you should be talking to. Nothing wrong with that. Not unethical, illegal, immoral. I market on vacation all the time. I’ll send out emails. I go to the beach at about 8:00, my wife usually joins me about 10. Her first question is generally, “Have you paid for the vacation yet?” Usually, I have.

Passive can be active. Getting marketing materials out there to remain the public view is a very effective way to market and you don’t have to work on it everyday. This is strategic marketing and tactical. An example of strategic marketing is when you market a brand and so Ford markets its brand, Ford Tough. But the tactical marketing is the local Ford dealer who says come in on this Saturday and we’ll take 20% off the financing. You can market strategically in a large sense, in a brand sense or you can market tactically and that applies to you as well. You can market your abilities as a leadership expert or you can market a leadership symposium that you’re holding for two days next month.

Then there social media applicability. It’s especially good for retail but it’s also good indirectly for wholesales because of the connections you make. Retail I define as selling to someone who individually pays you his or her money. Wholesale I define as marketing to an entity where someone pays you with a check on behalf of the entity for one or many people. So social media can be a great marketing and if you do it intelligently and you get help, just posting on social media doesn’t do it. By the way, in parenthetically, I had been reading a lot on Facebook lately from people I know who are good respected business people who sound like idiots because of the rants they’re going on about everything under the sun especially politics. Let me tell you something, what you put on any social media platform is going to reflect on you. It’s not compartmentalized. A lot of people won’t do business with other people who they feel are let’s injudicious.

There are three needs that you can create for your marketing. One is preexisting need. Preexisting need or evergreen needs, leadership, change, strategy, communications. Then there’s created need. I think that you have the need. For example, to start realizing that you can deliver a great deal of what you do remotely and that you can reduce your labor intensively which is important as increasing your income. Then there’s anticipated need. I think an anticipated need is that the emerging economy everyone talked about went bust. Brazil, India, China, I don’t think so. However, if you take a look at Africa, I think the continent of Africa is housing some of the most dramatically, high potential economies that we’ll see emerge in the next five years or so.

What’s the preexisting need you might choose to cater to? What’s the creating need, the created need you choose to put in front of people and what’s the need you anticipate that you want to make people aware of? Note that throughout what I’m talking about, you need to know your ideal buyer. You can’t be all things to all people. It doesn’t work that way. So you need to know who your ideal buyer is. Anybody who chooses to give you money is not an ideal buyer. When anyone tells me, “Well, everybody can be my customer,” I know they’re going to be radically unsuccessful.

Number two is don’t chase money. I have a friend who has a seven-figure business and he would tend to take the small pieces of business, $15,000 from law firms. The law firms are awful because they’re cheap. They believe in paying by the hour. They believe in retainers which is simply deposits and he would take this business and be miserable and it wouldn’t work all because he saw a quick $15,000. It’s not worth it. Do not chase.

So here are the three quickest routes in marketing if you want to make short term cash. Number one are referrals. Call everyone you know once a quarter and get referrals. But triage everyone you know, that is there are people who are potential buyers or recommenders. Category one. Category two are people you’re not sure of and so you have to check with them to see if they should be in category one or three. Categories too is transient. Category three is you’re sure they’re not buyers or recommenders. If they’re in category three, leave them on your mailing list. They’re in category two, figure out where they belong. If they’re in category one, make a phone call. Three phone calls a day won’t kill you. 15 phone calls a week won’t kill you. Your ideal is to seek two buyers a week and so that’s why referrals is so important.

A second of the three quickest routes is networking. Go to events where you can rub elbows with people who are recommenders and buyers but don’t go to the stereotypical events, some trade associations meeting, some chapter meeting. Go to an arts fund raiser. Go to a political banquet. Go to an awards evening. Go to some charity event where people are on the board, people are donors, people’s spouses drag them there. These are people who you want to meet in an informal basis and because of the fact that you’re both interested in that cause, you’re automatically peers.

Then finally there’s speaking. Speak for free. Stop worrying about the money. Once you’re established, you have a strong brand, you charge for it. But at the outset, speak wherever you can, where you feel there are buyers and recommenders in the room. If you want to practice your speaking to hone it then go to Toast Masters or a rotary club or something like that. But once you feel comfortable, get in front of buyers and recommenders even if you do it for free. Referrals, networking, speaking, the three magic keys to the most effective marketing.

Let me sum up by saying this, my keys would be one, you have to market continually, never stop, no matter how well you’re doing. Otherwise, you’re on the rollercoaster. Number two, focus on need, not want. Want is a commodity. When somebody wants something, ask them why. That will lead you to the need. Or create a need or anticipate a need. Number three, you have to have a mindset of giving, not taking. If your mindset is one of giving, you’ll be happy to track people down. You’ll be remiss not to. You have something to offer them. Number four, think of my eight marketing magic points from earlier and how many you can implement. Once again, third party evangelists, scarcity, the bargain of urgency, bonuses, social proof, Halo effect, confirmation bias, and recency bias.

Folks, thanks for being here. Don’t forget, I’m doing live stream workshops every other month on things like strategy and innovation and abundance. I’m also doing Million Dollar Maverick which is an ongoing monthly video and audio. If you’re interested in those, please go to alanweiss.com and you’ll find them. Thanks for being with me. Look forward to being with me again on my next podcast.

Have a good one. Ciao.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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