Marketing podcast, PreneurCast, is for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
Pete and Dom discuss Marketing Myths: things people tell you to do or that you think you should do because someone else is doing it, and why they are not necessarily right for you. More importantly, they discuss how to make sure they are right for you.
Pete and Dom discuss the truth about marketing and making sure they are right for your business
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Marketing Myths and Marketing Truths
Dom Goucher: Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s PreneurCast. It is, in fact, Episode 50. We are halfway to a hundred. I am Dom Goucher, and he is Pete Williams.
Pete Williams: Very exciting news, mate. That’s great. Fifty episodes.
Dom: Seems like just yesterday, doesn’t it?
Pete: It does. Almost to our one year anniversary.
Dom: Almost, almost. We have big things for Episode 52, folks. Big things. So do keep listening and watch out for that one. We’ve got big things for this week as well. We’ll get that to that in a minute.
Pete: Like every week.
Dom: Well, hey, it’s like, “Have you been busy and things like that?” Of course, we’ve been busy and, of course, we’ve got big things to talk about. What have you been up to this week?
Pete: Oh, lots of things, lots of great things. Actually had some really good conversations with a couple of new authors, or authors of new books, which is really cool. And I was able to record those conversations, so very exciting. I’ll be putting them up on the blog shortly. One of them was actually a very similar topic, which was kind of ironic and out of the blue. The first one, which will be going up on the blog very shortly, is an author of the book called Creating Innovators.
The subtitle is The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. Tony Wagner is the author, a Harvard University lecturer. So it was a little intimidating, but he was a very down-to-earth bloke. We spoke about, not only from a parenting perspective and a school perspective, but also from an entrepreneur, business leader, owner-type aspect of what you can do to ensure you have innovators in your team and help create those.
A really cool conversation about lots of different things. Something that I didn’t actually know, which is that P. Diddy, Sean Combs, also went to a Montessori school; as did the founders of Google, which is quite highly documented; and the founder of Wikipedia and a few others, as well. Some interesting people went to Montessori school, so that’s an interesting fact. It was a really good conversation about a whole bunch of different stuff. That will be up on the blog pretty soon.
Dom: I’m very interested in that topic. It’s kind of a more practical version of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He talks about the origins of people, but Tony seems to be talking about the reality of actually encouraging it.
Pete: Yeah, exactly right. And Outliers definitely came up in the conversation, funnily enough. It’s very much a practical example or a practical book. He interviewed a whole bunch of people and there’s a lot of really cool case studies. He touched on some product names like Google and how their upbringing affected what they did in their life and things like that. It’s a really cool read and the interview is a really good conversation. Conversation is really a better word to use than interview.
Dom: That’s always a better way to do it, though. Just one thing to pick up on there, because you said it in an offhand way, of course the guys from Google went to Montessori schools, which is fine if everyone knows what a Montessori school is. But real quick, could you just clarify that for me?
Pete: A Montessori school, I’m probably not the best person to articulate this, but it’s basically a different sort of curriculum for school. It goes all the way from kindergarten to end of high school or secondary school. It’s basically not structured. The general learning environment is very much about retention. The teacher stands at the front of the class and just talks, and the kids just have to retain that information. That’s very much the primary learning modality that happens in schools. Whereas, in the Montessori school, it’s very much about exploration and creativity.
I was talking to a friend of mine who’s in a mastermind group I’m involved in and her kids go to Montessori school. We were chatting about it last night and she mentioned one day when her child came home from school, she asked, “What did you do at school today?” I spent the whole day making football trading cards. That was literally his whole day at school in the middle of a random week. Not like the day of school-type activity. This is like an average day in the life of this student, is to create trading cards around his local favorite football club.
On the surface most parents would be like, “What a waste of a day.” But if you really look into it, he had a rule to say that every card had to look the same, to be the same size, had to have 50 percent drawing and 50 percent writing. That’s as restrictive as it was. He spent time doing research, gaining the players’ stats, getting his handwriting nice and neat, doing the layout and the design. If you think about it, that’s how most things happen in the real world. You get limited instruction and you have to be creative around that. He learned a lot of skills as he did that. It’s very unrestricted.
If you’ve read In the Plex or listened to the audiobook – which I’ve done from Audible, which is a great sponsor of the show, they talk about how Larry and Sergey, who founded Google, are very proud of their Montessori upbringing. They say that’s a big reason that Google was the success it is, and is a big driver of a lot of the culture at Google, which is obviously the pinup boy of companies at the moment.
So I think there’s a lot of power logic in the Montessori school style. It’s something that Fleur and I have been discussing, not having kids or anything like that at the moment, but obviously just getting married and coming up in conversation; there’s no question in my mind that our kids will be Montessori-educated, at least through primary school, if not high school as well.
Dom: It’s a really cool thing. I asked you the question, but I do know the answer because again, I know a couple of people. Surprisingly, when you talk to people and you mention it, suddenly they go, “Oh, yeah, my kids or somebody in my family…” A lot of it is based around taking responsibility for their own learning and things like that. I’m going to listen to the interview and then I’m going to get the book.
I’m sure that’s going to be a big factor of what Tony talks about in the book, about nurturing these ideas. I have to say, I’ve wished on a number of times when I’ve worked in the past with people, I’ve wished I had adults that could follow a simple set of rules and guidelines and stay within them. So people that are helping kids to that is cool, I’m all for it.
Pete: One question I asked and the statement of advice I was given when I was speaking to the friend of mine is how are the kids outside of the school when they’re interacting in general society, on the weekends or in sporting clubs or with cousins of the same age who are in the traditional schooling. My concern was that they’re going to be isolated or feel a bit of intimidated. It’s completely the contrary. They feel more self-confident and such, which is a peace of mind because it was a bit of a worry for me.
The advice was if you’re expecting your child to go in Australia, our high school equivalency test, or what’s called the VCE, Victorian Civic Education, ranking out of a hundred, and the top kids get 99. It’s percentage-based, so only one percent of the graduating class statewide can get a score of 99, top one percent. So if you’re expecting your kid to get a score above 90, it’s not going to happen.
Because what’s required to know and understand and learn to achieve that in the exams is not what’s taught at a Montessori school. It’s definitely a different sort of focus, when it comes to the traditional black-and-white measurement that you have in a traditional school system. It’s very interesting. Completely irrelevant to PreneurCast, but at the same time so relevant.
Dom: Exactly. I have to say, it might have sounded a little bit off topic, but I do think that. As soon as you mentioned you’re going to talk to Tony, I became quite fascinated by that topic. I started thinking about, in Outliers, how do people get where they are? For example, why are you different to me? You are almost literally 10 years younger than me, depressing that I have to admit this, and yet your business acumen and knowledge of business, and the businesses you have, are far more developed than mine.
There are things in your background. So maybe we can come back when everybody had time to look at that and go through that kind of thing, maybe we can talk about this. It’s a little esoteric, but I think it’s quite an interesting topic to talk about. About being an entrepreneur and what makes a good entrepreneur and where they come from. I’ve got a lot of questions for you on that.
Pete: In terms of that, obviously you mentioned Audible, which is a sponsor of the show. Speaking of Tony, there is an audio version planned, but it’s not going to be released when the book comes out. The book’s out April 17, I think, 2012, for those in the future who are listening to the back catalogue. And if you’re a first-time listener, welcome to the show. Welcome. Go back to the back catalogue; there are definitely some relevant episodes. Two great books that I’d suggest people pick up on Audible, which is the link to sign up for the free download, Dom, is…
Dom: AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast, that will be in the show notes as well.
Pete: It was like we rehearsed that. So go to AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast where you can get a free trial for Audible, which is an amazing library of audiobooks. Two good books when it comes to finding out the history of great companies and great people are the Steve Jobs autobiography, obviously, and also In the Plex, which is a great book about how Google grew from its humble beginning to the mega company it is today.
A lot of it talks about the two founders’ history and pride in Google, their upbringing and how that’s shaped the culture of Google. They’re two really good books that I suggest people listen to. Very engaging audiobooks. Some can be very bland, but they are very engaging audiobooks that link into the topic we recently touched on as an introduction to the podcast.
Dom: Cool. Yeah, so pop over to AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast. You’ll get a free trial and there’s a token on there if you go through that link, to get a free download on the service. Choose one of those books. I do recommend the Steve Jobs one and In the Plex, like you. But, I thank you for getting this almost back on topic there without me having to drag you back, it was me who led you off it, so mea culpa. Last week was my own personal rant and soapbox, I hope people have recovered from that. This week, you’ve got one, haven’t you?
Pete: Well, I just want to talk and have a conversation, I guess, about the topic of marketing myths. I think there are so many people out there, every second person is a social media expert or information marketer, and things like that, which is starting to grind on me a little bit. But, that’s not the soapbox for this episode. It can be later in the series or the show. Everyone’s sort of screaming certain must-dos, certain marketing doctrine and ‘non-negotiables,’ if you will.
I think a lot of that is misguided without, again, the word I that I seem to love on this show so much, a frame and context. The one I mentioned at the end of last week’s show, is a great place to start. Every business needs a website. You hear that so much being screamed and yelled and every man and their dog, even your taxi driver when you mention that you’re a business owner, “Do you have a website? You have to have a website.” I really think that is a very misguided approach to business and marketing advice.
Dom: I can’t agree more. Interestingly, where I’m living right now, in a small fishing village in coastal Spain, I’ve got the inverse situation where the internet isn’t prevalent. I don’t have everybody around me is a social media expert. I do have a few of them that apparently their cousin is. But, here, the concept of having a website is pretty alien. Out in normal – normal is a bad word; but out in everyday culture, the circles we operate in, absolutely. The first question is, “Have you got a website? You need a website. You must have a website.” But, it’s not true, is it?
Pete: No. I don’t think it is. I think, for a lot of businesses, it does make sense. But there’s plenty of companies and business out there which, all a website can ever be is just a glorified brochure to make the wife at the country club feel special when they show the really pretty Flash-designed website. If you need to invest in that to keep the wife happy and at bay so she’s not embarrassed by the only direct-response marketing that you’re doing that actually works when she talks about your business at the country club, then so be it, invest that money.
Consider that an investment in peace and quiet, and support. So, there’s justification there to have a very Flash-driven, brochure-based website. But, for most companies, it comes back to the Preneur Hierarchy episode that we touched on and continue to bring up in the show, that you think about where you need to market your business, primarily to start with, and in most cases, plenty of business that I’ve dealt with, and consulted with and spoken to, don’t even have the resources or the need to really maximize the first level of the hierarchy.
Which, when it comes to lead generation, is fundamentally people out there searching for a solution for the problem that you solve. Now, a lot of businesses these days, as we’ve spoke about, their marketplace and their target market, they go to Google when they’re trying to search for a solution to a problem they have. So, they go to Google and look in the search results. If that’s your market, then you absolutely have to have a website. You need to be looking at doing AdWords and SEO beyond just having a website.
Obviously, you need to be actually generating the marketing activity you need to get your website in front of those eyeballs. In that circumstance, having a website is important. But, there’s plenty of businesses where that’s just not relevant because their customers, and their prospects, and their targets, aren’t going to Google to search for the solution. In some instances, Yellow Pages still works extremely well. If you’re targeting a certain age demographic who aren’t au fait with Google and iPads and smart phones, that demographic is still going to the Yellow Pages.
So, if you’re dealing with that housewife, elderly sort of marketplace, the Yellow Pages is still worth consideration. You shouldn’t just throw that away. If you’re a restaurant, for example, having your own personal website is probably one of the last things I would have as part of my digital marketing campaign setup checklist. I’d be looking at things like making sure you have all your menus and your details on things like Urbanspoon and Yelp, all these online platforms that have a better ranking engine than you’ll ever have for your own business and your own niche.
Steakhouse in Coburg, these Yelps, and the Urbanspoons, the meal-type comparison shopping sites or things like that, are going to be better engines and better time well-spent cultivating an audience and maximizing your listing there. Google Maps, again, is a place you’d put beyond putting up your own website. Because that’s where people are going to go more so than searching your own individual name. And, trying to rank for ‘steak restaurant in San Francisco’ is going to be near impossible. If you look at the first couple of pages of the results, in most instances, they’re flooded by these… I’m trying to think of the word, but…
Dom: The recommendation sites.
Pete: There you go. That’s probably a good example. So, it’s horses for courses, and really thinking through and doing that triage stuff we’ve spoken about on the show. Saying, “Hang on, is it the best place to start?” and not listening to it and saying, “I need to get a website,” and turning around and getting a website because that’s what people are saying to you. You need to understand the justification for why you need that website. You need to understand the why first before you can do anything.
Dom: Absolutely. And to build on that, I finally found a great analogy for a problem that I see so many times. You and I both do consulting work, we both work together with our mastermind group, and we work independently, consulting with people for online business and online promotion. One of the most common things that both you and I see is a thing I call a box-ticker. That is somebody who’s been told to do something, so they go and do it, and tick a box.
The analogy that I have to the most common problem that you and I both see is the Yellow Pages ad. If you go through the triage – and we’ll talk about this in a minute, but if you go through the triage and you come to the conclusion that for you marketplace and the people you want to reach, you need a website or you want to build a website as an additional resource for your marketing, evaluate it against the following.
If you were putting a Yellow Pages ad in, if you were paying to have a Yellow Pages ad, which isn’t that expensive and in most cases it’s not even as expensive as having a website built. But if you were doing that, what would you put in your Yellow Pages ad? Would you, for example, say where you were if you are a brick-and-mortar business? Would you, for example, put your phone number in big letters if you wanted a phone call? Or would you put some other call-to-action or direct-response item in that advert?
And the answer is, yes, you would. You’d put the name of your company, what you did, or in some way make sure you’re classified or categorized in the right place, and you would absolutely put some method of contact. You absolutely would not take out even a tiny one line ad in the Yellow Pages without putting your phone number on it, right?
Dom: So, why on earth do people build websites where they want people to call them, and the phone number isn’t visible? Folks, really, seriously! And, this is the corollary to what we’re talking about. Not everybody needs a website, and those examples that you gave – a Google Places list is free, and in most cases will outrank a website. It will appear in a big box with a map on it with a big pin on it saying, “Hey, I’m here.”
I’ve had far more success with Google Places listings for local businesses than I have with websites, because you’re right, things like Urbanspoon for restaurant listings, or even Yellow Pages. Yellow Pages are quite good at ranking for local search terms around the world. If you’re a one-man band, or a small bricks-and-mortar business and you’re in a local environment and you want to rank in the search engines, that’s a lot of work to even get on that front page.
Whereas a free Google Places listing, if it’s done right, will rank you. But, whatever it is that ranks, or however people find that thing that it is, make sure it does the job. It’s not just about making sure you’ve picked the right vehicle or the right marketing tool, but that it actually does the job. This is one of the things that we talk about quite a lot. It’s not just picking the right thing, but using it well as well. A well-placed Google Places, or Google Maps listing, as I said, can be far more effective than a $3,000 website. Yeah?
Pete: Exactly right. It’s that understanding of the why and then figuring out, once you know the why, is it the best way to get that outcome? Is it the best way to get the why? It’s what was originally suggested. Someone says get a website, we understand why. It’s so you can get online and get traffic from online sources. OK, you understand that’s the outcome of why they suggested that. Now, is that realistically, having the knowledge from listening to the PreneurCast on a regular basis and reading the newsletters and all that sort of stuff, is that the best actual path to market to get that outcome?
Because, in so many instances, it’s actually not really. People are trying to do the right thing by giving you advice, and it’s going to be generic advice. In most cases on Twitter, and Facebook, and YouTube videos and all that sort of stuff, they have to be generic because, when it comes to technical advice, they can’t be specific. It’s impossible to be specific for their entire audience when they’re trying to give technical advice.
And that why, I guess, we’ve taken more of a strategery – that is a word, I’m going to make it a word, more of a strategery-type play with the PreneurCast, is sort of trying to give you that technical stuff. But giving the technical stuff and the tools to actually ensure that the tactics are implanted in the right context and the right frame is what it’s all about.
Dom: It is a really important point. Yeah, the actual implementation of something is so specific to you and your business and your situation that the best thing you can do is start with the strategy, and make sure the strategy is solid. You can find an outsourcer or a consultant to give you the specifics as long as you feed the right information in. And, really you are the one who knows that and can find it out. So, strategery is where we will always come back to, I would say. Because it’s the best thing we, as generalists who don’t know you specifically, can give you in a podcast.
Pete: Yeah. And we have the mastermind groups for people who want to take that next step and get a bit more granular, and a bit more one-on-one technical. We have those opportunities out there. But, another great marketing myth is every sale’s a good sale. So many people get blindsided or have the blinkers on, if you’re looking at the trotting-type analogy, as soon as they see a purchase order in front of them. They start thinking – all they see is the dollars. The ink turns green almost, if you’re in America, and you get that greenback sort of goggles on.
And, for a lot of businesses, particularly when you’re starting out, it is obvious and it does make sense that any sale is a good sale when you’re starting out, because any revenue helps get you closer to the goal of keeping the doors open next week. And, I completely understand that, but at some point, I think, businesses have to make that conscious decision to start slowly migrating from any sales a good sale, to only a sale that meets my criteria is a good sale. And, it has to be a gradual thing.
You have to start- there’s a great piece of advice out there, which is every year you should increase your process by 5%, or increase your target market up by 5% and fire your bottom 5% clients. Every year, just continually lifting the bar, that bottom rung people have to jump over. If you’re a consultant in a certain space and you saw the minimum investment is five grand, or if you’re doing something where you’re supporting or controlling that investment, “You have to spend five grand a month on this service before I’m going to take you on as a client.”
Then, every year you go, “Next year it’s $6,000, and the year after that it’s $7,000.” If you really analyze your business, for most people, 80% of the problems come from 20% of the clients. And, generally it’s that bottom 20%. Everyone knows the 80/20 rule, and it is true. But in most cases – and there’s always the exceptions, and this is a generalization, I know; but for most businesses, it’s the bottom 20% of clients that cause 80% of problems because they’re stretching themselves to use your service in most examples.
They want to get every little last piece of blood from the stone because they’re struggling themselves to use your service. If they’re a profitable business, if they’re a profitable client, if they’re a wealthy client, they’re going to be that hiring client who’s going to spend more money and understand what’s expected more and not sort of trying to get blood from a stone. So, not every sale is a good sale, and it has to change as your business grows.
Dom: Yeah. The example you gave of the top end and the bottom end clients, I think, is an easier one, in a way, to see. There’s a great example from The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim Ferriss talks about exactly that situation where he basically fired, I think he actually fired 80% of his clients to get the top 20% that were paying him the 80% of his profits.
The 80/20 rule was there again. And because his C-class clients, or however you want to label these people, were draining his resources and taking support time and personal interactions from him. It’s not always about how much they pay. Sometimes it’s about how easy it is to deal with them. So, it’s easier looking at it from a client point of view, but it maps directly to just anything. Any sale is not a good sale.
Sometimes, you might be, if you’re a bricks-and-mortar, and you’re selling product, you might ‘go all Walmart on it’ and you might want to sell a lot of product with a small margin. But that might not be the good thing. There’s a lot of infrastructure issues with that. Walmart can do it because they’re massive. You might want to look at your product line and think, “There’s some products I make 50% profits on, why don’t I try to sell more of those,” for example.
Pete: Yeah. You’re absolutely right.
Dom: Yeah, but any sale is a good sale is one of the oldest marketing myths. It’s not even a recent one, is it? It’s pretty old. But, there’s lots of really new ones that you talked about, and you alluded to earlier. So, let’s go all high tech on the world. What else have we got that’s being bandied around?
Pete: I was actually going to go very analog. I wasn’t going to go high tech.
Dom: Oh, go on then.
Pete: I was going to talk about, knowing me, I say this a lot. So there’s a fair chance I already said it on one of the earlier episodes of the show. But just because your big competitor is doing something, doesn’t mean you should do it as well.
Pete: I see so many businesses who see a competitor implement some sort of marketing strategy or marketing campaign, and people start thinking that’s why they should do it. It can be very silly with this and say, “Just because your competitor puts an A-frame out in front of their store, doesn’t mean you should do that.” That’s a very sort of silly example, but that’s how serious I am with this. There’s an example that I talk about in my first book, which is the 25-words-or-less questions.
I may have used this example in another way on the show, but it’s a serious point in that so many companies out there use the 25-words-or-less contests as an excuse for the response mechanism for that contest. You see plenty of people saying just SMS or text in the barcode or fill out your name and address to actually enter this contest, and you’ll win a car or a free pack of Minties or whatever it might be. But, so many companies are also, as part of this response mechanism, requiring people actually to do a 25-words-or-less-type entry. Like, “In 25 words or less, tell us blah, blah, blah.” Everyone’s seen those, right?
Pete: If you look at the science behind those 25-words-or-less contests, it comes back to Cialdini’s influence factor of commitment and consistency. If you can get someone to not only mentally think of this, but then take the physical act of making it an out-of-body experience by writing it down, along the lines of “25 words or less why I love Safeway supermarkets,” “25 words or less why I really enjoy drinking Coca-Cola.” That way, when you’re actually physically thinking it and then physically writing it out, it’s really that commitment.
You’ve made that verbal commitment, that external commitment to the world of why I like Coca-Cola. So, next time you actually go to a supermarket, you’ll actually buy Coke because you’ll remember why you verbalized, or wrote, why you liked Coca-Cola. That’s the science behind it. But you see so many businesses starting when they want to run a contest go, “I’m going to run a 25-words-or-less contest as the response mechanism because Joe Blow did it, this other company did it, our competitor did it, Google did it,” whatever it might be.
They do the most obscure question with no benefit at all. I remember one where Angus & Robertson bookstore, which is bricks-and-mortar bookstore chain here in Australia, ran a contest where you could win a signed, autographed, cricket bat by Shane Warne, who was one of the best cricket players ever. The question was, “What do you love about Shane Warne in 25 words or less?” And, to me it was like, “Hang on, Angus & Robertson, that is not helping your brand on any level whatsoever.”
If you read the terms and conditions, it was a game of chance anyway. They weren’t reading those responses to determine who should win the bat, it was just going to be a random chance. They just used that as a response mechanism. If you look at that and break it down, there are two really big issues with that. One, is that any time you ask for more than a name and an email address, it reduces response rate. That’s just a direct-response rule.
Dom: That was the immediate thing in my head. As soon as you said that, I was like “But, that’s a barrier.”
Pete: Yeah. As soon as you do a 25-words-or-less requirement as part of the response mechanism, it’s just going to reduce your response rate anyway. That’s just a given. In a lot of circumstances, that’s fine. If you’re trying to actually get a targeted group of people and reinforce the commitment and consistency methodology. But they didn’t do that in that. In their 25-words-or-less contest, there was no commitment and consistency for the brand who are putting up the money for the contest.
They were doing a commitment and consistency of why they loved a sports hero. There’s no value in that for anybody. There were two big downsides that these guys who implemented this did. I guarantee you it was a middle-level marketing manager who was given the role to do the contest and thought, “Hey, I’ve seen 25-words-or-less run by Reader’s Digest, by Coca-Cola, by Ford Motor Company,” and wanted to do the same thing, but didn’t think through the science behind it, and the why behind it.
Ford Motor Company does these quite regularly, and a lot of car manufacturers do, and it’s ‘what do you love about driving a Ford,’ ‘what is it that you love about the particular car?’ And, ‘what do you love about using Canon photography cameras?’ It gets you to start thinking that commitment and consistency of why you do. This is a sad and negative side about the Cialdini factors: even if someone doesn’t actually love a Canon camera right now but wants to enter the contest to win one, they will start making up in their mind what is a good enough reason of why they should love Canon, and then write that down.
And, unfortunately, that actually still affects the person on a subconscious level. So, when they go to buy their next camera in 6 months, or two years’ time, they’ll remember only minutely, but to a certain extent why they love Canon and it will play in their decision-making process. That’s the power, be it positive or negative, depending how you want to look at it, but that’s the power of the influence factors Cialdini talks about in his book.
Dom: Yeah. I mean, I actually know people in the past who’ve gone in for those when I was younger, and it was a very popular thing at one point in the UK for people to do that. I remember people scouring the marketing material for the product to find a feature that they could then key off of to write those 25 words. So, as you say, the Cialdini thing is working. They’re now actually investigating a product that they previously knew not so much about.
They now know more about it, so they’re more committed to that product. But, throughout what you were saying, all I could think was, ‘box-ticking.’ It’s box-ticking again. It’s people looking at somebody else doing something, going and making a facsimile, and I use facsimile, or copy, because it’s their interpretation of what they’re seeing without the frame and the context. Yeah?
Pete: Absolutely. That’s exactly what it is.
Dom: So, in the case of the 25-words-or-less, to be honestly with you, before I knew you, I didn’t know that’s what the 25-words-or-less was actually doing. I was unaware, well before I knew you, before I read the Influence book.
Pete: Let’s be honest about this, you were unaware about a lot of things before you met me. Even beyond business.
Dom: Why, thank you, sir. Right back at you. Seriously, the Influence book was written originally for those reasons – it was to educate people, to tell them why these things have been done. But, this box-ticking, really marketing myths is what we’re talking about, we’re talking about box-ticking. We’re talking about doing something because somebody else did it or you’ve been told to do it without understanding the true frame and context of it, without understanding the strategy of it; and therefore not being able to implement it properly for your business. Yeah?
Dom: Whether it’s a modern-day thing like everybody needs a website, or any sale is a good sale, or as you said, the 25-words-or-less, “Run a competition.” As you say, that cricket example was great. It’s a benefit to the cricket guy.
Pete: Exactly right. If anyone knows the Shane Warne story, he was doing extremely well himself and didn’t need people to reinforce why they liked him. Especially the ladies.
Dom: But, the people that did it; obviously, didn’t understand what the whole purpose of the contest was for, missed the point, and probably reduced what their real goal was. If their real goal was to either market themselves or get a list of people, to get a mailing list or whatever, by putting the extra step in that was giving them no value. Then, they’re actually putting a barrier. In the modern day, technology in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the equivalent of that was the splash screen on the website. “Oh, he’s got a splash screen! It’s great. Look, it moves! It’s got animation. It’s got a spinning globe! His logo zooms in from the sides!” Yeah, OK.
I can’t tell you how many times I clicked off those websites like I don’t want to see this. I’ve seen it, I saw it this morning. I’ve come back to your website, I’m seeing it again. It’s a barrier to entry. If your goal is to show me what a great animator you are, great. Stick a splash screen on your website. But, unless you’re selling animation services, get it off. Let me get to the thing that is actually going to give your business a benefit. These are all examples of the same thing, really, aren’t they?
Pete: Absolutely. I think the lesson to take away from all this is just, if you are at a seminar, or listening to a podcast like this, or reading a book; when they tell you to do something with conviction, just take a moment and go, “Not our problem at all. There’s got to be value in here on some level. Where does that apply to my business?” And use something like the Preneur Hierarchy, or the 7 Levers, or even the Marketing Symphony that we spoke about in one of our very first shows on PreneurCast.
Use that as the filter and think, “Hang on, how is it that I best get the most value out of doing this website, out of doing this toll-free phone number, out of doing this direct-mail piece, out of doing the A-frame out in front of my store?” Whenever someone gives you some marketing advice, just think about the why behind it and think about the context. Think, “Hang on, how can I get the best value out of this?”
There is some truth in it; if it’s a marketing truth or a marketing statement said with conviction, there’s got to be some white behind it. Then, you’ve just got to work out how and where does that potentially apply to your business? Or, where in the actual implementation orders or auto-list, or checklist, does it fit? Because, it might not be number one.
Dom: Absolutely. And, again, we did a whole show on marketing filters. I’ll pop a link in the show notes to it. About looking at whatever you’re looking at through a framework that gives you an idea of what it is you’re trying to achieve. My example is – I’ll come back to websites as an example of this, make sure that however you implement it, if you decide it’s going to benefit you within that framework or within whatever your goal is, whatever the strategy is that you’re after; if that tactic is going to work, then make sure that you do the most important things.
Make sure they’re done. With the example of the website, literally I’ve had clients and I have seen more examples of this than I care to mention. Not just with clients, but out there in the open marketplace where they’ve got, say a 20 or 30-page website, or they’ve got some feature of their website. They’ve spent money on this website. They’ve spent money on it for whatever reason. And, the two classic examples I have are they’ve got a massive website, but their phone number isn’t visible or is buried, and the goal of the company, their sales goal, was to get phone calls.
That website could actually be replaced with a single screen with a big phone number on it and a logo, and saying, “We do this. Yes, you’ve found us. Ring us now.” And they’d literally get more results. The other example, which is far, far, far worse, was a large unnamed company who had a new website. Lovely. Brilliant. Fantastic. Really good. Actually, awesome bit of interactive media, really good. Their goal was to get people who were searching for a particular keyword on Google to see this website. They spent a lot of money on this website. What they hadn’t done is make sure that Google had seen it.
Pete: All Flash, no-index, no-follow?
Dom: No. And, by the way, everything that Pete just said, really technical stuff; actually, none of that was relevant. It literally wasn’t that Google could read the website, and those are all reasons that Pete just mentioned why Google can’t read your website, which is a more technical thing when you get down to the lower level of it. But at the top of the top of the top level, in order for somebody to type something into Google and for your website to appear in Google, Google must first actually see it.
It must be aware of it. It’s something that a lot of people don’t know about, it’s a bit technical. But, it’s a very important step in the process, which most people are unaware of. This particular website literally had never been seen by Google. So, there was literally no words whatsoever. You couldn’t even type the actual full web address into Google and get a result. Make sure that whatever tactic you’re implementing, you get the basics.
Pete: Hang on, hang on. So, tell me, they listened to that taxi driver, took the advice, and have a website.
Pete: Technically, they did the right thing, they have a website.
Dom: They ticked the box.
Pete: They ticked the box.
Dom: The taxi driver says, “Get a website,” so they got a website. But, the important tactical element for them, which was Google listing – forget search-engine stuff, forget all that complicated stuff that other people are trying to teach you and sell you through various means. Seriously, this is the most fundamental part of it, and they’ve missed it. Just like the business that has a website, and Google has seen it, and people do visit it, but the phone number isn’t visible.
It doesn’t matter what level of technology or technical whateverness; down at the bottom of it, there’s always going to be something that is core to your goal. Yeah? When we do the 7 Levers, we look at a business. We use the 7 Levers for our triage. We assess our business against our 7 Levers of Business, and we look down and we look at the traffic, and we look at the opt-ins, and the conversions, and we look at each level.
At each level, we want something to happen. The first thing that we say in our mastermind group, we walk people through it and we say, “OK. What is traffic? Is it somebody walking through the door? Is it a human being walking past? Is it a phone call? Is it a website-visit? What is traffic to you?” And then, the next thing is, “What is an opt-in?” And, literally, we see this all the time that businesses are so busy ticking boxes that they’re listening to these marketing myths, or listening to the taxi driver, or whatever you want to call it.
We see this, and they’re so busy doing it, and feel a great level of achievement because it looks pretty, or it spins, or whatever it might be. They miss minor details, like their actual goal was get a phone call, and the phone number isn’t the biggest thing on the page. Or, there isn’t a call-to-action telling people to actually use a phone number, or what for, and so on. I guess, that’s what we’re about here, really, isn’t it?
Pete: That’s exactly right. That’s what it’s all about.
Dom: We’re about on time on that one, mate. But that was a really important thing to go through. As you say, these things are out there, these myths are out there. People talk to people, and people go to conferences and the see the guy at the front. And he’s a great speaker, and he’s really animated, and he’s got this great thing, and he’s got great evidence that it works and proof and case studies.
There’s testimonials. But going back and listening to The Marketing Filters show will probably help people, if they haven’t already. Because if you don’t filter what you’re listening to, you just go on and tick a box and say, “Yeah, somebody said I need a website. I got a website.” You’re probably going to be disappointed.
Pete: Well, I agree, my friend. That’s it. It’s all about just thinking through things before you do it. As your mother said, if your best friend jumps off the bridge, would you follow him? No, you wouldn’t. You’d think it through first. That’s what people don’t often do in their business and in their marketing.
Dom: True. Cool. Well, I think for that particular rant and soapbox, we’re relatively wrapped up. At the beginning, you talked about Audible, the audiobook service that is a sponsor of the show. In a way, these people, the companies that sponsor us, they do sponsor us. But really, what it is about is services that we recommend and that our listeners are benefiting from. So, I’m going to kind of avoid the word sponsor and the big official thing from now on.
And, really, because we do use them, I think Pete’s already talked about that he’s listened to a couple of things on Audible in the last couple of weeks that have really been useful and interesting. If we just talk about them, we both use the service. So rather than say, “A message from our sponsors,” it’s like, we’re going to try and give you something useful, some reason to go and look at them. So, Pete, you are a great big fan of the Read It For Me service, the book-review service that we use.
Pete: Well, something that the guys over there at Read It For Me have started to do, beyond the book reviews, just like we mentioned last week about Audible, beyond books they actually have lectures and seminar recorders and stuff like that as part of their library that’s available. Read It For Me are expanding their catalog, so to speak, and including a new series of interviews they’ve called the How-To series. What they’re doing is interviewing authors about particular topics of their book. It’s very much a structured conversation or interview.
It’s almost like a lecture really, where the outcome they’re trying to achieve is the three things to whatever it might be. So, if someone’s written a book on publicity, what are the three key tips to publicity? Or, if it’s on productivity, what are the three key tips to that? And, beyond the reviews, you actually are getting some additional values being a member of Read It For Me for the next two months, two weeks, two years, however long you’re going to be a member for. It’s really cool. There’s some really great interviews in there. They’re breaking them down in the same way they break down the books through the layman methods.
So, there’s the learn element, which is obviously the interview and the conversation. Then, there’s the experience and the memorization-side of things. They do the idea cards and the whole graphics – and all that stuff they do in a book review, they’re doing for these interviews, which is really cool. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s worth signing up. You get a 10% discount if you want to stick around and be a paid up member. But you can go in there and just test it out for being a PreneurCast listener. The domain for that, I’m going to hand back to you again, Dom.
Dom: That’s right. We have a special link for you to follow. It will be in the show notes. It’s ReadItFor.Me/PreneurCast.
Pete: Check that out, and have a look around Read It For Me. If you’ve considered it before, this might be a good reason to jump back in and have a look around, because of the audio interviews there. There’s some really cool conversations that they’ve been putting into their library, so check it out.
Dom: Cool. So, each week, instead of having the official sponsor thing, we’re going to try and do this. We’re going to try and tell you something that we found useful on these services. Because listening to sponsorship messages can be a bit annoying. We’re going to try to put it back to being the useful content that our listeners really appreciate and put our own particular spin on that content, which I think is more in keeping with what we’re trying to do with the show. To wrap up, our action for the week, Pete?
Pete: It’s just be conscious of marketing myths out there. When you hear something being said with a lot of conviction, just question it really quickly and think about how that applies to your business. Don’t think of it in a generic sense. Don’t start just pondering, “Will it fit with me?” Have some sort of structured filter that you can turn to, that’s reliable, that’s a system that you can continually use as a reference point when you hear these things that sound like marketing myths.
Dom: Yeah. The great one to use is to start with a strategy for your business, which can be anchored around our framework of the 7 Levers, or the Preneur Hierarchy. And just make sure that what you’re thinking of implementing does achieve a goal that you’ve identified for your business. And then make sure that you implement it so that it can achieve that goal. Don’t miss out those little details like the phone number.
Dom: What do you want to do next week, Pete?
Pete: Well, next week I want to pick your brain a bit as well. You’ve got some experience around the video and media-side of marketing, and I think it’s worth exploiting that. It’s worth having a chat about video marketing. It’s a big medium online, and there’s plenty of stuff that we can talk about in terms of how easy it actually is and how un-scary it needs to be. More importantly, how cost-effective video can be these days.
We should have a topic about that. A lot of business people, whether they’re information marketers or real world bricks-and-mortar retailers, or even ecommerce providers who have ecommerce sites selling real products to real people around the world. There’s definitely an application for each of those that fits when it comes to video marketing. So, I’d love to have a discussion around that with you, mate.
Dom: Cool. I have a feeling that some more marketing myths might be busted in that episode too.
Pete: Awesome. Well, we’ll speak next week. We’ll put on little MythBusters outfits and we’ll talk about marketing using video.
Dom: Are you going to be the guy with the silly mustache, or has it got to be me?
Pete: I can grow a mustache.
Dom: OK, cool. Thanks, everybody, for listening this week. It’s been a great show. We’ve, as always, enjoyed it. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it. Do let us know in the comments on iTunes, or over at PreneurMedia.tv. Pop us some feedback in the comments in either of those places, or email us at, Peter?
Dom: Excellent. OK, folks, have a great week, and we’ll see you next week!
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