Every speaker’s dream

It’s every speaker’s dream: To turn our audiences into raving advocates of our story.

Of course, if that’s what we’re up to, then the important question to ask is: How are we enabling our audiences to tell our story?

Are we making it easy for them to pass the advice along?

Are we giving them simple sound bites to pass along?

Are we making sure that their status rises by passing on our story?

Are we asking them to share the advice?

A story spreads when people tell the story. If you want that to happen, it’s your job to make it happen.

PS: If you consider that a useful advice, please pass it along.

The difference between what people buy and what they want

Many people tend to think about marketing as the art of making people want something.

I find it much more useful to think about marketing as the art of making people see something.

It turns out that to change what people want is quite difficult most of the time. But we often confuse the things that people buy with the things that people want. They are often not the same thing.

People buy a piece of software but what they want might be peace of mind (e.g. because these people are not in the “figuring out software” business but in logistics). So, if your piece of software really does spare your customer the hassle, then all you need to do is to make them see how.

When the thing you make attaches to what people want and when your communication makes them see how, then marketing becomes a lot easier than to start on a mission to change what your customer wants.

Marketing in a sentence

Marketing in a sentence: You see things that I don’t see but want me to.

And why wouldn’t I. Your thing is amazing, isn’t it?

Yet, today alone already 100 other people wanted me to see something, too. And guess what: Their things are amazing, too. At least, that’s what they were trying to tell me.

Here’s the thing: They were telling me – one louder than the other so I would be more likely to listen.

The thing is: Even if I’m listening I still need to see what you see. So, that’s your job as a communicator. Make me see the things that you see. Even better: make me feel how these things make you feel. Light me the path!

Then, I might come along. Then, I might appreciate how amazing your thing is.

The place to start: What is it specifically that you see and I don’t? Can you name it? Describe it? Paint me a picture of it? Even better: Paint me a picture inside my head?

Are you unavoidable or irresistible?

A lot of marketing advice these days focuses around becoming unavoidable. Being so present in the market that people can’t avoid you because your messages are present everywhere.

But, of course, being seen in a noisy world like ours is quite the challenge. Unsurprisingly, common marketing advice is that in order to be seen, you need to publish a lot. On as many channels as you can. So, in essence, to stay on top of the noise. If others publish a lot, you publish even more.

I think it’s much better to become irresistible instead. To make each of your messages so strong that people will be drawn to it regardless of their volume.

The most important shift that happens is that it’s not about the medium anymore but about people. While you can dominate a medium on sheer volume (though it’s unlikely because the next guy who is willing to turn up the volume even more, is right around the corner), the same is not true for people. Quite the opposite. Sooner or later people will just tune out if they feel overwhelmed by volume.

Instead of more, focus on intense! At least if it’s people you care about.

Louder?

The world of marketing gets louder. Essentially every day.

As every business and many employees turn into publishers, we not only get ever more, but ever louder messages.

One way to deal with this: Get louder as well. Publish more. Publish crazy stuff. Use bolder colors. Be even more provocative than the others. Or more fun.

Another way to deal with this: Focus on your audience and resonate stronger.

The difference is this: While communicating louder is concerned mainly with yourself and your desire to be heard, resonating stronger is concerned with the audience and their desire to be heard.

Rather than loudness, resonance requires consistency. Much more than this it requires a deep understanding of what matters to your audience. When you deliver both, people will listen even if you whisper.

Challenging the way we approach keynotes

In-person events aren’t going to happen for a while. With their recent keynotes, Apple embraced this by not even trying to pretend that they were on-stage. Their keynotes now feel more like long infomercials than presentations – recorded in different locations around their signature Apple Park building and produced in a way that resembles a TV show much more than a presentation.

We’ll see this happening a lot. More and more companies will skip the live on-stage presentation and pre-produce videos instead. As they do, we will see more and more companies embracing the freedom that the video format provides.

We will see tighter storytelling, quicker video cuts, breathtaking animations, and – of course – fewer hiccups. Here are a few challenges to think about if you want to stand out:

  • Find a unique tone! One that’s grounded in who you are rather than trying to imitate what Apple and others are pioneering.
  • Don’t be afraid to make it fun!
  • Consider making it interactive! Now, that you have all your viewers online in front of a screen, think of ways to make them an active part of your show and re-consider running the whole thing live.
  • Learn the laws of tension and suspense! People are even more likely to consider your show just another competitor for their attention along the likes of Netflix, YouTube etc.
  • Skip the boring parts and quickly dive into the relevant parts! For example, just as almost no movie opens with the credits anymore, you shouldn’t, either.

(PS: Don’t miss your chance to make a difference!)

Communicating your product means telling your story

Marketers often think about stories as a tool in their communication toolbox. You have your product. And then you start looking for a story to tell around that product.

Yet, what makes the most beloved brands so successful is that their product is the story. We buy into the story that is Coca-Cola, Airbnb, or iPhone. We buy into the story that is Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, or Tony Robbins. All of these brands are they story they tell.

And because they are, it’s so easy to tell little everyday stories about those brands. Little stories that become part of the brand story. Little stories that communicate what that brand stands for in ways that are totally authentic to the brand.

Story isn’t a sideshow to our product. When you have a cause and want to make change happen, your story is the product. And communicating your product means telling your story.

Showing up in times like these

Many people think about marketing as being about winning. As manipulating people into buying their product.

This has never been more wrong than today. In times like these, we learn how communicating with honesty and in a helpful and human way is what our audiences appreciate the most.

Don’t get me wrong. Sneaky marketing techniques still exist and thrive. They won’t go away. But what’s changed is that people are more sensitive towards the difference between those who have been honest and helpful and those who have been deceptive.

The fascinating part is this: If what you offer is truly helpful then the best strategy to make yourself seen and heard actually is to speak from your heart.

The frightening part is this: that includes showing up in the first place.

Surprisingly many people have quite good antennas for bullshitting. The success of the selfish marketer doesn’t stem from the fact that they have better marketing copy (often, they don’t) but much rather from the fact that they are willing to show up consistently and loud.

If your offer makes a difference, please show up. And then speak up from your heart. We need your voice and we need you.

Good and bad is still alive in marketing

When I think back to when I was a teenager, a lot of TV shows had this very clear distinction between good and bad. Today, it has become hard to find a great show that’s like that. Good is never all good, bad is never all bad. Today’s heroes are torn apart by inner conflicts and their darker sides. In fact, often it’s even hard to say whether there’s good or bad at all.

In a way, you might argue that this is what makes heroes heroic in the first place. It is by overcoming their fears and shortcomings and taking responsibility for their cause that they change the world. So, while we still do have heroes, we don’t have good and bad as we used to.

Except in marketing. Many marketers still act as if it’s us vs. them, good vs. bad. In particular, they act as if they are all good and the competition is all bad.

Which – obviously – is not true and everyone, including themselves, knows it. So they try hard to persuade us. To make us believe that they are the good ones. They will shine the brightest light upon themselves, praise their good sides and hide their dark sides.

And in doing so they overlook the fact that the world has moved on. That it’s precisely the rough edges that we admire in our heroes. We admire them because they are like us – imperfect and vulnerable.

Stories help us to convey this mixture of emotions and this is why so many brands have embraced storytelling. Stories make a brand relatable. They make a speaker one of us. We feel with her.

And because we do, we fall in love with what she stands for and what she brings into our life. It is one of the reasons why we buy from her. Because we see how her story matches ours. How our life improves because of their products.

Not because it is all good but because it matches who we are.

How do you relate to the life of your audience?

Das beste Café der Welt

Zeig ihnen drei Stücke Kuchen, jedes davon leckerer als das andere. Jedes davon so lecker, dass sie nicht widerstehen können. Jedes davon so lecker, dass sie unbedingt das zweite auch noch probieren wollen.

Und wenn sie wiederkommen, um das dritte Stück zu probieren, dann haben sie ihre Freunde dabei. Und du hast genug für alle da. Und vielleicht noch einen vierten Kuchen.

Und beim nächsten Mal haben die Freunde wiederum ihre Freunde dabei.

Viel zu oft versuchen wir, den Menschen gleich einen ganzen Kuchen statt eines einzelnen Stückes zu verkaufen. Dabei sind sie noch satt vom Mittagessen und haben für abends schon einen Tisch im Restaurant reserviert. Deswegen lehnen sie dankend ab.

Oder sie sind schier überfordert von der Auswahl, weil wir ihnen gleich die Rezepte von allen 32 Kuchen in schwärmerischen Details erklären, so dass sie bei Nr. 25 schon nicht mehr wissen, was Nr. 7 eigentlich war (dabei lieben sie eigentlich Marzipan).

Weil wir vor Stolz auf unser Angebot platzen, erzählen wir viel zu viel, hören viel zu wenig zu, wollen so viel wie möglich auf einmal verkaufen … und riskieren auf diese Weise, am Ende gar nichts zu verkaufen.

Zuhören und Auswählen sind die unterschätzten Fähigkeiten, ebenso der Mut, Prioritäten zu setzen. Die Menschen müssen nicht ihre ganze Ernährung auf unseren Kuchen umstellen, schon gar nicht sofort. Machen wir sie lieber zu Fans, die dauerhaft zu uns kommen und immer wieder neue Freunde mitbringen.

Spread the Word

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

GET

Work with me 1:1

Create messages that resonate so strongly that it leads to change!
Focus your message to what matters most to your customers and communicate it with clarity

SEARCH THE SITE

Yes, I love talking to you. Call me at +49.2241.8997777
Or reach out at michael@michaelgerharz.com