Marketing is all about attracting attention and building demand for this wonderful thing that you've created and marketing solves a really important problem. If nobody knows that you exist, they can't buy this wonderful thing that you've created, right? Marketing is all about the process of taking this wonderful thing of value, whatever it is, and going out into the world and attracting attention and building interest in the service of finding people who may ultimately be interested in purchasing it. So all the things that we'll talk about in marketing are how to attract attention, how to build demand and how to get people to raise their hands and say, "Yes, I am interested in more information "about this thing that you have," okay? Now, the first part of marketing, the prerequisite to all of this is attention. The most important rule of attention is that it is very, very limited. We are all busy. We all have too many things to pay attention to and too many things to do and we don't ha...
ve an unlimited amount of time and energy during the day, right? Everybody's in this situation. There are more demands on our attention than attention we have to give. So the first most important rule of marketing, marketing is all about attention. If you want to get attention, you have to find some way to make sure that what you are offering or can offer is more worthy of your prospect's attention than all of the other things in the world that could possibly compete for that attention at that point. This is the primary challenge and the primary opportunity of marketing. Now, you don't just want attention. So, all attention, I should say, is not created equal. Some attention is more valuable than others. The attention that you're looking for is attention from prospects who are qualified to purchase this thing of value that you've created, right? Since we talked about all attention is not created equal, we're looking for very specific types of attention. The question is who do we want to attract the attention of? And the answer to that is what's called a probable purchaser. Your probable purchaser is the type of person who is perfectly suited to whatever it is that you're offering. So think about it like you're ideal customer, the person for whom this thing that you've made is absolutely wonderful in every respect and they should totally buy it because they're going to love it, right? The more you understand about your probable purchaser, the more effectively that you can come up with ways to attract their attention and the more you can focus on getting the attention of the people who actually matter, the folks who are most likely to purchase whatever it is that you are offering, right? So, if your marketing time and money and resources and energy is limited, it's in your best interest to not focus on getting the attention of everybody because that's really hard and impossible, it's way better to focus on your ideal prospects, your probable purchasers and spend all of your time, all of your energy, all of your money, finding people who are perfect for this thing that you've created. You spend most of your resources there, you're going to get the best results because you're targeting the people who are likely to find, who are likely to be receptive to your message, A, so they pay attention, and also likely down the road, to actually give you money, which is the whole point of this exercise. Okay, now, the enemy of attracting attention is a wonderful idea called preoccupation. Preoccupation is basically what are your prospects already paying attention to and what are all the things in the world are competing for that limited amount of time and attention? In order to earn the attention of a prospect you have to divert their attention from what they're already paying attention to, to you. And that can be really, really difficult because we're all overloaded. So, it's safe to assume your prospects are not sitting at home all day, every day, thinking about your offer, right? You see this a lot in business sales if you go in and talk to somebody and they say, "Give me some material, "I'll think it over." The rule of thumb is they're not thinking it over. When you leave the room, they forget that you ever exist and they won't think about it until the next time you're in the room, right? We're all preoccupied, we're all busy. So, in order to get someone's attention you have to be able to break that preoccupation. Give them something more compelling than the things that they're already paying attention to. The best way to do that is to provoke some type of intense feeling. It could be curiosity, it could be surprise, it could be concern, something that is urgent enough to say this is worth paying attention to right now is what you need to attract attention. There was a really wonderful story, I think Zig Ziglar the sales guy talked about this. There was a salesperson that was selling safety glass, so when the glass companies came out with automotive glass that was shatterproof. The company, Corning, sent out their salesforce to try to drum up interest in this thing and nobody was buying. And there was a salesperson who came up with the idea of taking big panes of glass into qualified prospects who would probably be interested in buying large quantities of it. And what they would do is do a meeting and the first thing the salesperson would do would go into the prospect's office, put the glass on a table and take out a hammer and whack the hammer on the glass and it wouldn't shatter. It was really loud. It attracted a lot of attention. The glass wouldn't shatter and the person on the other end of the desk would be like, and the salesperson would say, "How much do you want?" And they sold a lot of glass that way, right? But it was a big dramatic thing. The person on the other end of the desk was preoccupied, had a ton of things that needed to be paid attention to, but it was a demonstration that was just surprising and provoking enough that it caused them to stop what they were thinking about and start considering this thing right in front of them, right? Part of our job as marketers is to come up with something that is emotionally compelling enough for a prospect to stop paying attention to what they're normally doing and start paying attention to this thing that you want, make sense? Now, an end result is the thing that your ideal customers want. It's the thing that they actually buy. An old and venerable quote by Theodore Levitt, who is an economist and former professor at Harvard Business School. "People don't buy quarter-inch drills, "they buy quarter-inch holes in their wall." Because the only reason to buy a drill is if you want a hole in the wall or a hole in something else, right? If you can deliver that end result, they want the thing that you offer, right? The question, as a marketer is what is the end result that people are buying? What's the payoff? What do they get if they pay attention to you and maybe purchase this thing? If you can figure out what the actual end result is you can sell more effectively on the things that actually matter, right? In general, you want to spend most, if not all, of your time selling the benefits of your offer, in as little time as possible on the features that get you there, right? Now, in general, the end result that people are purchasing is usually an experience that's directly related to one of the five core drives that we talked about earlier. If you can connect the benefits of your offer to one of those five fundamental things, it's probably going to be compelling enough to pay attention to. Cool, clear? All right, now, qualification. Qualification is a process of determining whether or not a prospect is a good customer before they buy from you. So not all prospects are good prospects. Not all customers are good customers. It's helpful to you as a business person and as a marketer to have some process of identifying. Who are the folks we really want to talk to and pay attention to and who are the folks who are probably not a good fit for us? Qualification's important because it helps you avoid wasting time and energy on customers that just aren't a good fit for you. Remember the tradeoffs and alternatives conversation? You can't be all things to all people. So, who are your ideal customers and how can you find them, focus only on them, and let everybody else go someplace else. The better you're able to identify your probable purchaser, your absolutely ideal customer, the more effective you can qualify. And the better you qualify, the more time you spend serving the folks that will ultimately get your business to where you want it to go. Point of market entry. Related to, remember we were talking about baby products and until you have a child, either yours, or in your life in some way, shape or form you really couldn't care less about that segment of the marketplace? That's an example of what's called a point of market entry. A point of market entry is the point where a potential customer because receptive to your offering. So, any other examples of something that you probably don't care about until you reach a particular point in your life?
Wedding photography. Clear point of market entry, right? You get engaged, all of a sudden you are a prospect. One minute you weren't, now you are, right? Very clearly defined threshold. Anything?
Home inspection, very clear defined point of market entry.
Medicare, yup, exactly. Medicine in general, right? There are lots of treatments that exist in the world that we probably don't know exist and don't care a bit. But if you are diagnosed with a specific disease, all of a sudden, you care a whole lot, right?
Life insurance. Any type of insurance, right?
Tax help, yes.
Right around now.
Yeah. Sometimes the points of market entry are life event based, sometimes they're time bound. How often do you think about your taxes in October?
You should be thinking--
You should be.
In October, believe or it.
You really should be. But, the interest level is way lower at certain points in the year than later. So there can be points of market entry. All of a sudden you care about something because it has appeared in your life. There can also be points of market exit too. If you have children, at some point, when they're 18, you're probably not going to care about diapers anymore.
Kids in diapers at 18.
Hope not, right? There is a entering a market and leaving a market. Now, in markets that exhibit this type of behavior, it's really in your best interest to do as much as you can to make sure that the people you're talking to are past the point of market entry because if they haven't, you couldn't care less, you're wasting your money. So, if you can get a prospect's attention immediately after they cross that threshold into caring about a certain market that is the absolute best time when they're most receptive and most influenced by whatever it is that you tell them. Now, addressability is a measure of how easy it is to get in touch with people who might want what you're offering. So there are some markets that are very easily addressable. What's something that you can find in pretty much every town, something that people want or need?
Post office. Or mailing services, right? If you need to overnight something you can go to FedEx or UPS or DHL. It's a very addressable, you can find people, who are interested in mailing services, right? What's something that would be more difficult to find people who are interested in something?
Yes, exactly. People don't go around advertising, "Hey, we're in the market for a divorce lawyer," right? Harder to reach them as a marketer. They usually find it's the other way around, right? People are in the market for getting a divorce. Sounds really bad, but it's actually a thing. In the market to get a divorce and then they search to have somebody perform that service, right? Let's talk about this in terms of geography. There are some countries around the world in which it's really difficult to reach people in a cost-effective manner in terms of advertising. Let's take medicine, for example. If you are selling a prescription medication for a very specific type of chronic disease those folks don't publicly advertise that they have that type of information, right? So, some markets are way more addressable than others and if you have a choice it's way better to choose to serve an addressable market. A market where you can identify that people are interested in something than it is to try to track down people who are in a much less addressable market, right? So, addressability is a measure of how easy is it to reach the folks who may be good candidates for whatever it is that you're offering, right? Make sense? Okay, desire. Desire is the part of marketing that people start to feel really, really uncomfortable about because there's this public perception of marketer as shadowy master manipulator who's making people want things that may or may not be good for them, right? Everybody's seen Mad Men. Whenever there is a depiction of the process of marketing in public media it's all about I'm going to hypnotize you into wanting this thing that's not necessary, right? Doesn't work that way, doesn't work that way. Actually, the best way to lose a billion dollars in marketing is to try to force people to want something that they don't want in some way, shape, or form. You can't force someone to desire something. What you can do and what you should do, because marketing is really the process of attracting attention, creating interest and provoking a desire. I want this thing whatever it happens to be. And if you are able to provoke that desire response you're doing a really good job as a marketer, okay? The trick is you can't make someone desire something, you can call attention, bring their attention to things that remind them of a desire that already exists in some way, shape, or form, right? So, the key is understanding your probable purchasers well enough to know what they already want and to tune your marketing to make sure that you are emphasizing things about your offer that tune into those things that they want, right? One thing that can help you get an enormous amount of really good quality attention is an idea called free. Giving away something valuable for free is a really easy way to get people's attention because people like valuable stuff. They also like not paying for that valuable stuff and so people are willing to break their preoccupation and pay attention to you for at least a certain amount of time, right? And what's nice about providing free value is it's good for both you as a businessperson as well as the people that you're serving because the people you're serving get a chance to experience whatever it is that you do, get some of that value and they don't have to give up anything, right? The test drive for a car, shoot, this CreativeLive, the free part of this CreativeLive course, that's what we're doing, right? Hopefully everybody on the internet is getting an enormous amount of free value from this class and it's an awesome experience and that's going to be a good happy thing all around, it's great. So, what's also nice is by providing free value it's a very cost-efficient form of marketing to you as a businessperson, right? Doesn't usually cost a whole lot of time or attention or money. You give people an opportunity to test drive and as a result you earn their attention. Now, it's critical to remember that attention doesn't pay the bills. At some point, the folks that you are offering free value to, need to convert to some sort of paid purchase or it doesn't make sense for that to continue happening. And so if you focus on giving away real value to people who are really good prospects for whatever it is that you do, providing free value is a really great way to earn a lot of attention very, very quickly. The key is focusing on giving it to people who are highly qualified to begin with. One of the best things that you can do and is really important if you are in the process or if you give away free value is to ask for what's called permission. Permission is just asking your prospects to allow you to follow up over time. And so using The Personal MBA as an example, everything on the site is freely publicly available, but one of the things that I definitely make sure to do is if you like the stuff and this goes for all of the folks around the internets around the world, if you like this stuff and you want more of it, there's a little box to fill in your email address and once you confirm your email address every time I do something new and cool I will let you know about it and that could be a free blog post, it could be a new course, it could be a new book, whatever. But I ask people for permission to follow up when new cool stuff is available, right? And there are lots of different ways of doing this. You can ask for an email address. You can ask for a phone number. You can create an appointment to follow up. Just asking for the permission to follow up to provide more value later is really tremendously valuable. And so the list of people that you have permission from to follow up is a very real, very valuable asset that grows in value over time, right? So the more folks you have permission to follow up with the higher the likelihood that a certain percentage of those people are actually going to become purchasing customers, right? So all of the things that you are doing for marketing, the very best outcome you can have, aside from an immediate sale of whatever it is that you're offering is getting permission to follow up with additional information, cool? Okay, now, a hook. We talked about this a little bit earlier. A hook is a single phrase or sentence that describes an offer's primary benefit. So, the Apple iPod 1,000 songs in your pocket example, that's a classic hook. It's a single, very short phrase that encapsulates the benefit. A lot of times you see this as either a product name or a tagline. So has anybody seen an advertisement recently that had a really good example of a hook, something that really grabbed your attention?
Master the Art of Business.
Awesome. Actually, one book that's a really good classic example of this also CreativeLive presenter Timothy Ferriss. His hook was his book title, "4-Hour Workweek." Who doesn't want that, right? Three words, encapsulates a lot of promised, relevant benefit to a certain audience, right? Works really well.
A good example of marketing is the book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." The tagline is What the Rich Know About Money or something, That The Middle and Lower Class Do Not!
Right, call-to-action. Anytime you're doing some sort of marketing what you're trying to do is get the people who are paying attention to this particular piece of marketing to do something next, right? Could be buying your product. It's called direct to sales marketing, right? See this thing, if you like it, you should order now. Sometimes it is getting permission to follow up. Sometimes it is calling a 1-800 number or sending an email or something very specific that you want a qualified prospect to do next. That action that you want people to take is a call-to-action. It's a very clear, explicitly clear, if you like this thing, here's what you do next. Enter your email, call this number, sign up for a test drive, buy this product. Needs to be very, very clear and very, very specific. If you think you are being too clear or too specific you're probably doing it right.
Should it only be one thing?
Only one thing, yes. Whenever you are doing marketing, you really need to pay attention to what are you asking people to do and are you asking people to do one thing that's going to lead them down to the next step that ultimately results in the purchase, right? If you're not asking for a sale, you're usually asking for permission in some way, shape or form. And the key is make it clear, make it specific and make sure you always have one, make sense?
Now, narrative. Narrative is the idea that a good story is a great way to improve an offer. Storytelling is a part of the human experience. It's been around for thousands upon thousands of years. And the most compelling stories tend to follow a similar format, right? There's an opportunity, you get invited to have this call to adventure, you take the call, you get this massive benefit and you go back and share it with all of your friends and family, your tribe or whatever. There's a really wonderful book by a guy named Joseph Campbell called "The Hero with a Thousand Faces," that calls this the hero's journey. It's a motif that happens over and over and over and over again, right? What's interesting is if you look at the most effective advertisements or marketing that exists out there you see a lot of stories, case studies, testimonials. People telling about their experience with some product, service, whatever. So, for example, a testimonial page with stories of past clients who have had a fabulous experience with photography or a fabulous experience with a home inspection that saved them a lot of time and money or a fabulous experience at a popup dinner that they just happened to go to that was really amazing and they're totally going to go to every one that exists from now on. Those stories are very, very, very compelling and the more vivid they are, the more detailed they are, the more effective they are in increasing interest and desire in whatever it is that you offer. Now, two more ideas. Controversy means publicly taking a position that not everyone will agree with, approve of, or support and used constructively, inviting controversy is a very effective way to generate earned attention. For example, I've been using controversy to a certain extent since The Personal MBA existed, which is basically the position as you can learn everything you need to know about business. You don't have to go to business school. You don't have to spend a lot of money. You don't have to go into debt. You can learn this stuff by yourself and there's really no reason to go to a graduate business school program. That, very understandably is not a popular position with a lot of folks who happen to run or attend business schools and that's okay. Because those folks are not the probable purchasers, they're not the ideal audience for The Personal MBA. The ideal audience is folks like you, right? Want to start a business, want to improve my career, have creative skill or technical skills and want to get better at the business stuff. That's who I'm talking to. And so by taking on publicly that controversial point you can learn all this stuff without going to school, there has been a lot of attention generated from that public position and the folks who don't like it are not the folks I'm talking to anyway. But the attention helps people who are in the situation of potentially finding it useful, find it in the first place and when they find it they get the free value, they give permission to follow up. There's a lot of value generated there that's helpful to the folks that I'm interested in talking about. Okay, now, last idea in marketing is reputation. And reputation is what other people think about your company or about your offer. And building a strong reputation is really valuable because if you have a good reputation as a company or if your product is really good and people think very highly of it, you can earn a lot of attention and you can earn a lot of sales through the strength of that reputation. So everything that you do in public in some way, shape or form affects the reputation that people ascribe to your company or to your business and that reputation is an asset. Now, what's critical to understand is that you do not control your reputation. You can affect what you do in public that influences how people perceive you and the decisions they make about doing business with you or not, but you can't mind control the entire population to make them like you more, right? All you can affect is what you do and people will interpret your actions in ways that either improve your reputation or diminish it. The other nice thing about the word reputation is that there's a tremendous amount of literature and knowledge in marketing around the concept of branding, brand management, improve your brand, enhance your brand. You hear the word all the time. I'm not a really big fan of that particular word mostly because all of the advice you get about brand management if you just replace the word brand with reputation you can pretty much anticipate what they're going to tell you about how to manage your brand in an effective way, right? If you do things that make people think more highly of you or trust you more or respect you more or have an opinion that your offers are high quality, your brand will be doing okay, okay? So, building a reputation is something, you don't control it. You control your actions that either improve it over time or diminish it over time. It takes time to build a reputation, but once you have, it becomes a tremendously valuable asset because people take your reputation and when you come out with something new they're much more likely, if you have a good one, to trust it, to think it's of high quality, to think it's worth purchasing and to trust you with their time and energy and money and actually buy this thing that you've created.
Josh Kaufman is the author of the #1 international bestseller The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business as well as the upcoming book The First 20 Hours: Mastering the Toughest Part of Learning Anything. Josh specializes in teaching professionals