Let’s assume you’re having a smash hit product

Let’s assume that your communication works. You’ve made us see the brilliance of your product. People are buying from you, maybe in large numbers.

How does life look like for us? What’s different? Can you make me see that future? Can you make me see myself in that future?

Painting that picture might just be the story that you need to tell to actually convince us.

Surprisingly often, this story gets bypassed.

Surprisingly often, communicators stop at telling us about the the problems of the present. They offer us a solution and leave it to us to figure out how the solution works out for us: Here’s a problem … here’s a solution … now, please buy from us!

But what will I get? Will it be worth it? How will life look like with your solution? I might not be willing to figure it out myself if it’s too vague.

The desire for a better future is what creates the tension that’s required for action. The more tangible, the more tension.

Yet, make sure that it’s a true story. False stories destroy trust. True stories create it.

A respectful approach to marketing

Most marketing is geared towards changing what people do. Essentially, it’s about making them buy something they wouldn’t have bought without our marketing.

I feel like a better approach is for marketing to be geared towards changing what people see. This kind of marketing, which I call “lighting the path”, is about making people see something (in a way) that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

And then, it trusts them with the decision to buy it (or vote for it or apply the advice). Its goal is not to persuade but to resonate.

It might lead to the same result. People might buy from us. And so, it might look like a little difference. But, it’s actually a profound one. A more truthful and respectful way of marketing.

It works only when we care deeply for our audience because only then will we be able to make products and craft messages that are so relevant that they resonate.

But when they do, and when our product actually delivers on what we promise, we’ve built trust. As a result of respect for our audience. And that leads to loyalty.

The path to engaging online meetings

This is part 2 of the series on leaders who light the path – a group of extraordinary people doing work that matters. All of them have been pioneers in going through my new masterclass “Leaders Light the Path” which will open to the public this fall.

Jobien Hekking is the founder and CEO of Brainy Bunch. Brainy Bunch’s mission is to help organisations run online meetings that achieve much higher levels of effectiveness and which, at the same time, are much more enjoyable.

Yes, you’ve read that right. Enjoyable!

In this interview, we’re speaking about how that’s possible by tapping into the creativity and potential of every single participant in an online meeting in order to increase the level of energy and effectiveness of online meetings to unprecedented levels.

Jobien’s passion and energy to help organisations achieve this is infectious. She lives and breathes online meetings. Her level of expertise and dedication is unmatched by anyone else I know.

Read her fascinating story in the second interview of the “Leaders who light the path” series.

PS: If you’d like to boost your marketing just like Jobien did, I’d love you to consider joining the public launch of my masterclass this fall. Get more information here.

It needs to sound sexy

Who doesn’t like a sexy slogan for their product, one that matches the big player’s most creative ads.

And so, a lot of marketing agencies are paid a lot of money to go looking for fancy and spectacular.

Only that, most of the time, the sexiest slogans are neither fancy nor spectacular. They are relevant and tangible. Using plain English.

A thousand songs in your pocket. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. And many more just paint a picture of what the product promises in the most vivid way.

These slogans make the customers see – and then feel – how the future will look like if they buy the product. In plain English.

Empathy is a lot more valuable to find sexy slogans than a big budget. Relevance creates resonance. And resonance creates results.

Wanna marry me?

Most websites feel like proposing on the first date, something like this:

“Look, I’m really awesome. I have a Ph.D. and I’m super successful. I’m a good lover, too – here’s a testimonial to prove it. Oh, and I run the marathon in four hours. Wanna marry me?”

Guess the answer?

Even if you’re not looking for a relationship for life, it might make sense to start a little differently.

Oh, that’s me!

“Oh, that’s me! I’m struggling with the exact same thing.”

When a marketer sparks that feeling, it opens the door to my attention.

The default marketing communication is different, though. It sparks a thought that goes more like this: “Oh, that guy seems to be pretty proud of their product! I’m wondering why he’s showing me all these bells and whistles?”

Customers don’t show up to cheer for you. They want to be seen and heard instead.

Deserving

I’ve worked really hard so I deserve this vacation.

I’ve saved my whole life so I deserve this new home.

I’m helping everyone anytime so I deserve this luxury.

My job is super hard so I deserve this gadget that makes it a little easier.

What makes your customers feel that they deserve your offer?

Many advertisers think you’re stupid

… and this is an opportunity for marketing your own offerings.

Because simply by showing up as the person who thinks their customers are smart and deserve to be treated as such, you’re going to make a huge difference for them.

Dumb marketing slogans, lazy empathy, and sneaky sales tactics work as long as there is no better alternative. But once someone shows up who trusts their customers to make the right decision, things change. Because this someone understands that she needs to start with work that matters, with a product that’s actually great. And when she does, all she needs to do is to tell a true story about it – which creates trust because the product delivers on the story that’s been told.

Are you that someone?

A different perspective on price

A common approach to sales processes is to try to squeeze out the maximum price for an offer.

That’s because price is often an afterthought. There’s the product. And then there’s the price. The goal is to charge the highest possible price for the product and maximise the profit for the seller.

Yet, price is a story. People buy the price just as much as they buy other properties of our product. When they buy a premium priced product, they might tell themselves the story that deserve only the best. When they buy at a bargain, they might tell themselves the story about how clever they are. A million similar stories exist around price.

Thus, a different approach is to embrace that fact and treat price as one aspect of the product. The goal then is to try to squeeze out the maximum value for that price and maximise the value for the buyer.

What stories do your customers tell themselves around price? How can you deliver on that story and maximise the value?

A third kind of marketing

First, we had push marketing, then came pull marketing. We need to go beyond both …

Back in the old days, marketing was basically push marketing. In a disconnected world where mass attention was controlled by a few TV stations and a couple of magazines, whoever had the biggest budget could basically buy attention and get a huge advantage to sell their products.

With the rise of the Internet, things changed. Now, it was possible to reach masses of people without a big budget. Rather than to be unavoidable, marketers figured out a way to become irresistible. They built magnets, traps, and things like scarcity campaigns which customers couldn’t resist.

Yet, more and more people feel like they don’t really like being pushed or pulled. In fact, they dislike any kind of force. They feel quite comfortable deciding on their own where to go. This is why we see a new kind of marketing emerging that doesn’t rely on force.

Instead, this new kind of marketing is about giving our audiences a choice and letting them decide. This kind of marketing favours those who deeply understand what matters to their customers. By starting with work that matters and creating relevance, these marketers manage to resonate so strongly with what matters to their audience that customers will want to learn more … and when they do, they will want to buy their product because it will be a perfect match.

Rather than pushing or pulling someone, this approach to marketing is about lighting the path. This fall, I’m going to launch a masterclass on it. Register here to get notified (or just drop me a note).

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

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