Monthly Archives: April 2011

You Probably Won’t Read This…

You probably won’t read this, but if you DO, I’m going to reward you with 3 bone-crushing marketing tips you can use tonight:

  1. Stop asking for first names on your opt in forms (at least on the first page).    Tests show first names suppress response.   And you know what?  You’re probably not using the information correctly when you’ve got it anyway.  (If you DO have first name, don’t use it in the subject line, and don’t you dare use it in the greeting of the email… instead, embed it several times deep in the body of your email like your best friend might when she’s writing to you)
  2. Call a dozen of your competitors and analyze their phone messages. Seriously… it’s amazing to me just how many people spend a fortune on generating the call, only to totally neglect to address the customer’s most common concerns on their voicemail, or via their customer service.  Your voice mail should immediately reassure your prospect AND convey your point of difference benefits, just as succinctly and professionally as your landing page (if not more, because of the value of the opportunity). Don’t just read this… go do it now, really… I’ve never had ANYONE come back and tell me they did this and regretted the time spent.
  3. If You’re Stuck, Spend a Full Day Trying to Fail:   Seriously.  If you feel stuck in your business, take a day off and think of all the ways you possibly can to destroy it.  I’m not saying to DO those things, I’m just saying to brainstorm them, capture the energy encapsulated within them, write down your idea, call your friends and ask how they could make them worse.    The ACTUAL SOLUTIONS these business-destroying-ideas will stimulate (in a kind of Zen-like paradoxical “use the force Luke” way) will astound you.  Really, seriously, 100% straight up… don’t say bullshit, say “I’ll try it Glenn”. (Repeat after me “I’ll try it Glenn”, “I really will try it”)

Well, I guess you caught me in one of my moods.

Aren’t you glad you did?

Humpty Dumpty Marketing Insights

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again

Most recently attributed to Lewis Carrol (Through the Looking Glass), the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme actually contains several important insights of value to marketers.

First and foremost, Humpty Dumpty’s position high up on the wall might be interpreted as the distance so many of us try to keep from our markets.  I see this again and again in the students who become obsessed with my “abstraction tools and methods” (quantifying things in spreadsheets, building statistical models, and predicting consumer behavior… much of which is covered in Glenn Club)

Abstraction is a vital tool for marketers… and the absolute best marketers I know are all fans of spreadsheets and segmented response rates.

True enough.

But it’s all too easy to fall in love with abstraction, and in doing so, to lose touch with the market.

Of course, the lesson Humpty Dumpty taught us was that to do so is to set oneself up for a BIG fall… to suddenly find yourself overwhelmed by competitors, or with customers leaving you in droves when the market takes a dramatic shift without your awareness.

More importantly though,”all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again”…

There are some falls from which you can’t recover, no matter how smart you are, no matter who you surround yourself with, and no matter how many resources are at your disposal.

I learned that lesson personally from a treasured mentor when I was a very young psychologist (thankfully before I started working with suicidal people!)

One of my first patients was a young, inner city woman with who came to the clinic where I was an intern in order to get help in leaving a life of prostitution.  She was depressed and anxious, but genuinely interested in making a change… against the interest of several people in her circles (I leave that part to your imagination).

So here’s what happened.  (Changing several details to protect her identity, but not the essence of the story)

I made a genuine connection with her in the first few sessions.   I helped her talk about her plans, got her connected with a social worker, helped her get involved with the relevant community resources, and finally to begin opening up to me about how she got into the life in the first place.

And then I broke the egg.

It was a simple, uncaring moment…

I had to excuse myself to use the lavoratory…

And before I went, I reached into my suit jacket (hanging on the chair), and grabbed my wallet to take with me.

She blurted out “I ain’t no thief!” (she was right), and wasn’t there when I returned.

When I went to talk to my supervisor about the incident, I was SURE he would tell me what to say, and how/when to say it to get her back.  I imagined he was experienced enough to know how to solve any situations.

But he simply told me “Glenn, you can’t unbreak an egg”

Ouch!

A painfull lesson which stayed with me always.

I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, and we were playing at the big boy’s table.  People’s lives were on the line.

Now, the same thing happens to most marketers at some point in their career.

For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken with people who have a VERY successful product they’ve been selling almost entirely by Joint Venture, and they’re SURE they’ll be able to sell it to a cold audience via PPC.   Many have developed years worth of support materials, follow ups, etc., and are sure these will be of great help in porting the success to the paid traffic arena.

To no avail though… because that egg’s REALLY hard to unbreak.

One of the quintessential marketing lessons in the last decade (especially as the internet evolves and people expect increasingly more specialization) is “You can market to the audience you’ve researched and built your foundation on… period

Or maybe you chose a price point much too high for your market out of the gate, but you sold a few hundred units anyway.  Sorry… almost impossible to go backwards once you do that.  (You can always go up, it’s very hard to go down without really pissing off your customers)

Or maybe you spent a year building a product in the absence of research and a specific audience to sell it to, and now you’re knocking your head against the wall trying to make progress.

I rarely see those projects work.

There ARE indeed some eggs which all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put back together again!

As a thought experiment, perhaps you can look back on your own marketing projects (or heaven forbid, one you’re working on right now), and ask yourself if you’re trying to unbreak an egg?  Much better to know sooner than later.

Food for thought,

Dr. G 🙂

PS – Although the painful lesson never left me, I actually DID unbreak the egg with that patient.   She eventually came in for another session, at which point I immediately handed her my wallet and asked her to hold it while I went to the bathroom.  She smiled knowingly, sat down, and handed it back to me with every dollar intact.  Pivotal moment for her (and myself)


Emotional Web Stories That Sell (MP3)

Continuing along with Sharon’s advice on emotional marketing stories that sell, I’d like to give you this FREE MP3 (below).  (Also, if you haven’t seen her video about “web interviews that sell“, you can still grab that one too)

Enjoy!

Chocolate is a Vegetable

Bear with me on this one, it IS relevant, I promise!

About 9 years ago I was as close to bankruptcy as you can get without declaring.

And my drug of choice was food… mostly chocolate.   (Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I believed a bag of Hershey’s Kisses would make the bankers and the landlord go away)

At some point during my efforts to put on 60 pounds of fat–(being broke wasn’t good enough for me, I guess I wanted to feel really sick and lethargic too)–I came to my senses, got some nutritional advice, and made a solid plan for digging out.

(By the way, the best advice I’ve ever heard about health, business, and pretty much everything else is “If you’re in a hole, stop digging!”)

Anyway, shortly after one of these conversations, I remember sharing a piercing food insight with Sharon…

“It’s simple” I said.

“I CAN ONLY EAT FOUR THINGS, AND THEY ALL START WITH ‘F’ “

Fruit, Fish, Fowl….

And F_____king Vegetables!

We laughed… but it was really easy to remember and actually got me back on track.  I just had to remember the “Four Fs” and I was fine.

At least until a very strange thought cropped into my head…

A little evil voice, which sounds ridiculous in retrospect, but it was oh so convincing at the time…

“You know Glenn”, it said…

“If you really think about it, where does chocolate come from?  It comes from the cacao tree.   That’s right, it actually grows in the ground, so you see… CHOCOLATE IS A VEGETABLE!”

Hmmmmmmmmmmm….

It really seemed to have a point there, I had to admit, especially if I thought about it in the coffee shop, etc.

And I was off to the races again…

Until I got a hold of myself and realized just how utterly stupid that little voice was.

It’s a “Chocolate Monster” that lives inside me… and since then I’ve learned it’s best to simply IGNORE it.  (Not argue with it, not point out the errors in it’s logic… just to ignore it once I hear it talking)

OK, now here’s where this affects you and your business.

As entrepreneurs we’re constantly responsible for our own discipline.   So most of us make important sets of rules for ourselves to keep focussed and on track.  And all of us are subject to a little monster inside which tries to talk us out of these critical rules.

For example…

I’ve come to the conclusion none of us should be taking marketing projects unless we’re sure (1) the prospect feels at least a little desperate about the problem we’re going to solve; (2) we have a truly unique promise the prospect hasn’t heard before and (3) we’ve got overwhelming proof of our ability to solve it.

But if you listen closely to your monster, you’ll hear it rationalizing all sorts of opportunities which don’t even come close.

For example, yesterday I was talking to the owner of a failing coffee shop.  He had a plan to move the shop further north where there was more traffic.  He dazzled me with numbers…both of the Dunkin Donuts nearbye were averaging 3500 cars through their drive thru per day, etc.   Plus he’d been in the business for 30 years, and there weren’t any good coffee shops on the corner where he planned to move IF he could raise the money.

Sounded exciting.   Could be an easy opportunity for passive income.  Maybe I should invest?  (By the way, I already have another rule for myself not to invest in businesses where I don’t fully control the marketing and intend to spend at least 50% of my time for two years!)

Or maybe I should forward his plan to Jeff?  Or Francis?  Or Richie?  (Partners with resources and connections)

After all, the guy does have 30 years experience! (Is this really overwhelming proof?) And his coffee IS really good.  (Where’s the unique promise?) And it IS at least 4 miles to the nearest Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks (Is that really a desperate consumer problem?)

No, this is just a manifestation of my “Opportunity Monster” doing it’s thing.

Thank goodness I heard it loud and clear this time.

And as much as I’d like to believe …

Chocolate really isn’t a vegetable.

So, my friends…

What kind of monsters live inside you these days?

What evil littles voices have sabotaged YOUR entrepreneurial success with ridiculous ideas that sound ever so convincing at the time?

I’d really like to know!

To Your Success,

Dr. Glenn 🙂

PS – The Total Conversion Code in now available for retail.  Terry and I will be offering a significant discount to our lists later this week, please watch for it.



Is Reality Crushing Your Marketing Soul?

I live at the intersection of psychology and marketing… a strangely powerful netherworld you may not want to explore with me.

I spend my days agonizing over the tension between reality and desire…

Between the magic claims people WANT to hear…

And the realistic solutions they NEED to embrace.

I persistently survey, talk to, and connect with my market,  striving not only to be influenced in product development and advertising copy, but to let it change me as a person.

Why?

Because if your market hasn’t changed you, then you haven’t really connected with the PEOPLE in it.

It’s the difference between sympathy and empathy.

Sympathy means you feel badly for “those poor people over there”… and it ALWAYS contains an element of contempt.

Sympathy is the kind of thing you hear at academic psychology conferences–or hospital team meetings–when they talk about the plight of people with Major Depressive Disorder (Recurrent, Moderate Type – DSM IV Code 296.32)

Empathy is when you so desperately want to hug it out of them you feel like your heart’s gonna literally implode if you don’t… a soul crushing emptiness which doesn’t go away until you help.

So that’s point #1 … look for that soul-crushing feeling in your market, and make it your #1 priority to find a way to help… but it’s not why I’ve written this post.

What’s hit ME hard this year is the realization of just how crushed many of you are feeling… even the VERY successful amongst you.

People are having a hard time sustaining their dreams, plain and simple.

The interesting thing about psychologists is, to really help someone, you have to REINVIGORATE AND SUSTAIN their dream while ever so gradually waking them up to the realities they don’t want to face.  (Unless they’re really in danger… in which case reality comes first!)

It was pretty challenging to do this when I was practicing… but I was damn good at it.  (I worked with over a hundred suicidal people and I never lost anyone… mostly because I knew not to kill the dream the rest of the world–including themselves–were trying to beat out of them)

But for some reason, I’ve got a harder time doing it as a marketing educator.

I really DO believe in dreaming.

I really DO want YOU to have a vibrant spirit when it comes to your goals.

But there’s something in me which goes a little nuts when I hear people talking about magical marketing solutions, and I just want to slap some common sense into them.

I’m always beating down the door to shout “don’t go into the market unprepared”, “build more marketing support first”, “run the numbers, build a launch budget”, “don’t try to do this without a back end first”, “don’t try to use some all-in-one marketing software… leverage specialty platforms which have already been stabilized and do the work to piece them together instead”, “do your fricking research!” etc.

Well, something Sharon said to me the other day made me think maybe I owe you all an apology.

She reminded me “Glenn, people need their dreams to motivate them.  Why climb a mountain if you’re not dreaming about what it’s like on top?”

Duh.

But somehow, somewhere in all this I forgot.

I became the practical, left brained, statistics-on-the-brain-uber-geek who constantly stood for reason and security.

Which all of a sudden reminded me of Dwight Eisenhower’s quote (I’m paraphrasing) “If all people really wanted out of life was security, they could just go to prison… they’d have a roof over their heads and food to eat”

So here’s my message for you today.

If you’re lacking in spirit…

If reality’s been crushing your marketing soul of late…

Maybe it’s time for a time out…

Maybe it’s time to regroup and remind yourself of your dream…

What you really want to accomplish…

Why you started this thing in the first place?

How, when, and where might you have lost that spirit along the way?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Dr G 🙂