I think by now everyone knows that my #1 money making secret is research. Nothings more powerful than asking a market what it wants and then just giving it to them, especially when you break that market up into groups of like-minded people with similar desires.
Want to know what my #2 secret is?
Digging deep for something I passionately believe is right in a market DESPITE what everyone else is doing and saying, then being the voice of contrarian reason… standing up and shouting it from the roof tops.
It’s a habit I developed as a psychologist working with clinical patients. You see, when you’re in the room with a patient, it’s just you and them. And most psychological problems originate when people’s inner sense of what’s right was beaten out of them in one way, shape, or form.
So your patient would count on you to have the courage to point it out. To take a stand against the crowd. To be the only one truly on their side until they have the strength to believe in their own convictions.
What I discovered when working with suicidal people was that you had to get them to feel that at least one person in the world thoroughly understood what they were going through. Because that’s frequently all it took to give people the hope and courage to go on. As a side effect, it also happens to bond people to you for life. (Seriously, I haven’t formally practiced clinical psychology in 10 years but I still get people calling in every year, some driving 350 miles to come for a catch up session)
We all live on hope and courage, don’t we?
Now, of course, this isn’t a lesson on treating suicidal patients it’s a marketing blog (and if you happen to treat, coach, or love someone who is suicidal, please get direct, professional supervision and assistance)
But as I developed my marketing career I discovered this actually has EVERYTHING to do with marketing.
We live in an insane world. People are cruel to one another wherever you look. Not purposefully cruel, but because (in the absence of a seriously self reflective and educated orientation) human nature is greedy, lustful, self centered, lazy, and aggressive, things just drift in that direction.
People’s natural inclination is to exploit one another, and nowhere is this more true than in business.
In every market businesses will take whatever they can from their consumers. And “marketing incest” coupled with a general lack of research usually ensures companies will copy from one another, leaving the consumer feeling like “this is normal”.
But it’s not.
In every market you’ll take the time to thoroughly research you’ll find there are always at least a few excruciatingly painful, unmet needs…
A consumer looking for a champion…
For someone to stand up against the crowd and say “the emperor has no clothes”, “this is wrong and I’m not going to take it anymore”, “why is no one talking about this”, etc.
Being the voice of contrarian reason looks like this in some of my markets:
- MARKETING: “You can’t market based on FAQs alone. Frequently Asked Questions are also Frequently Answered Questions… they only represent “price of entry” benefits (what every vendor needs to even be considered in the running)… you’ve got to sell “point of difference” benefits to get people to open up their wallets, answering the problems and questions the competition isn’t! Why isn’t anyone talking about this?
- GUINEA PIGS: The standard pet food and bedding materials recommended for your guinea pigs are cutting his little life in half! Why am I the only one saying anything?
- RABBITS: You absolutely CAN litter train your rabbit and get it to live 8 years+. Rabbits are better pets than cats, and it’s about time someone said so!
- RADON: You CAN still get lung cancer from Radon UNDER your state’s reporting threshold. It’s an outrage! (Note: radon is an invisible, odorless, but radioactive and carcinogenic gas found in many locations)
- EMOTIONAL EATING: Stop dieting and start losing weight. Learn to enjoy eating the same delicious foods you love now without stress and without guilt.
- SUDOKU: You can solve EVERY sudoku puzzle, not just some, but every last one!
See what I mean?
Now, how do you get to this in your market?
Intriguingly, you first have to find the courage in yourself. What is it that YOU personally believe despite everything that everyone seems to say all around you?
Get out a journal and write until you figure that out.
Because it’s amazing how your eyes open up to your market once you’ve had the personal experience.
Personally I believe everyone struggles with anxiety and depression to one degree or another. While there certainly does exist a more severe set of diagnostic categories (for which medication, psychotherapy, etc. can help), the truth is we all like to categorize it as “mental illness” to protect ourselves from the truth.
And the truth is that in the world we live in, how could anyone really open their eyes and not feel at least a little anxious and depressed?
It’s normal and healthy to recognize this.
And in my estimation if you want to be a strong marketer, it’s essential.
Because staying out of touch with reality takes a lot of mental energy, and prevents you from seeing other people’s true pain, their true motivations, and their true needs.
And that’s what marketing is all about.
So… what do you think?
All my best,
Dr. G 🙂