My #5 Marketing Secret: Marketing to the “Not Me”

Let’s keep Glenn’s Money Making Secret count going:

  1. Research
  2. Contrarian Advice
  3. Let the Market Change You as a Person
  4. The Paid Consultation

#5 is something I call Marketing to the “Not Me”

Here’s the deal.

You’ve heard me say  you’ve gotta  find “point of difference benefits” in the marketplace… things your competitors are just not offering to your best customers.

You’ve also heard me say  you need to connect these benefits to the emotional hot buttons which logically flow  (the real human needs they serve)

But the thing of it is, those emotional hot buttons often come from very primitive places in the human soul.

Things we all shun from our day to day consciousness and characterize broadly as “darkness” for fear of ostracism and social punishment… what a famous psychologist named Sullivan calls the “not me”.

In simple English, the emotional side of purchase motivation can be damn ugly! We recoil from it and push it out of our awareness.

But thank goodness it is so ugly, because if it wasn’t, it’d be a LOT easier to recognize, and it wouldn’t be such a strong advantage for marketers who work hard to harness it constructively for all concerned.

Here’s the secret…

You can’t see the strongest emotional hot buttons in your market if you’re not open to the ugliest parts of yourself… you’ve got to be willing to admit that the “not me” really COULD be you if it weren’t for your commitment to be a socially valuable and loving human being.

You need to be fluent and intimately comfortable with your darkest thoughts and feelings.  No matter how socially unacceptable they may be.  (Greed, lust, envy, rage, sexual impulse in all its forms, disgust, mortifying despair, etc)

You need to have confidence that YOU CAN FEEL THESE THINGS without acting upon them, without sacrificing all that is good and praiseworthy about yourself, your goals, and your aspirations… without causing yourself ostracism from friends, family, and loved ones.

Because to ask and genuinely answer “what doesn’t my market want to admit about themselves… what don’t they want to think and feel?”… you’ve got to be willing to think and feel it yourself.

And then figure how to support their particular way of maintaining their self-perception in the face of these difficult thoughts and feelings, while simultaneously agitating them, and connecting their resolution to your offer.

(Example follows below)

Please note I also didn’t say you should ACT on these thoughts and feelings.

In fact, I don’t think you should share them with others at all,  except for very specific and trusted loved ones and professionals.  Because most untrained lay people won’t know how to accept these thoughts and feelings, and will only wind up helping you push them deeper into the “not me”.

Your power is in recognizing the “not me”, accepting it, and then channeling it into constructive aims (with the emphasis on constructive).

Only then can you do the same for your prospect.   Here’s an example:


Most parents got their children a guinea pig to help teach the kids “nurturing responsibility”.

Know what their big secret is?   These little critters get so smelly when not cared for correctly that most parents can’t believe what they got themselves into, and would love to flush the damn things down the toilet.

(NOTE: I told you – not socially acceptable… and please, if you own a cute little guinea pig do NOT flush!  There are easy ways to eliminate the smell – just read the FAQs online)

How to market using this insight?

Use a headline which immediately PROTECTS them from these dark thoughts, but also sets them up to experience and agitate them, with the solution naturally flowing into your product:

“How To Raise A Lovable, Playful,
Clean, Sweet Smelling Guinea Pig
Who Will Bring Years Of Joy
To Your Household!”

Inherent in this headline is everything the parent consciously wants.  A long lived, loving little pet that smells like roses.   The opposite of the foul smelling rodent they’d love to flush down the toilet.

The prospect is immediately relieved of the anxiety they’re experiencing in struggling with their dark side.

But we’re sure to arouse enough of that anxiety throughout the copy (by talking about a house which smells like a sewer or a barnyard,  etc) to make them realize they’ve gotta buy our product if they want permanent relief.

And you emphasize that you’ll help them double their guinea pig’s lifespan.

Wait!   Why would I talk about doubling the guinea pig’s lifespan when I just told you parents secretly want to flush the piggies down the toilet? (Ouch!  I just know I’m gonna get hate mail from parents for this)

Because this is the “Not Me” parent’s are frightened of.  It’s the evil part of their soul from which they want relief.    So you use their unconscious desire to agitate the problem, then strengthen their conscious desire and connect it with purchasing your product.

It’s kind of like being an exorcist.   You help purge the demon from them, but only in exchange for the transaction.

But remember, the REAL secret isn’t specific to this market… the real secret is, I’d never have understood this if I wasn’t comfortable with my own demons.  If I couldn’t allow myself to identify with those evil thoughts of flushing piggy down the drain, fully confident in my ability to stay constructive regardless of what I felt.

How do you get comfortable with your own demons?

  • PRIVATE JOURNALING:  It’s especially helpful to keep a journal while you’re building a marketing project.   Write down all your negative thoughts… about the project AND your personal life.  Write down every time you get that “stuck” feeling… when you’re sure that what you’re thinking or feeling is worthless, invaluable, absolutely off target.  (All signs of the “not me” at work).  But write down all the positive stuff too.  Just WRITE.   Privately.   In a secure place, with a password.  Erase it afterwards if you have to.  But get it out of you in words so you can see it in black and white
  • PERSONAL COACHING/PSYCHOTHERAPY:   A lot of you are probably going to hit me for saying this but, the 20 years I spent in my own personal psychotherapy has done more for me as a marketer than any book I’ve ever read, any course I’ve ever paid for, and any marketing mentor I’ve ever had.   There’s something very special about the private space created by a competent professional.  I think every marketer should spend a few years with a shrink.  (God knows we’re nuts to be in this profession to start with!)    (As an aside, to find a good psychotherapist, don’t ask so much about credentials, though you should definitely screen for those before you call… ask instead “how do you decide when to intervene and when to just listen”.   The good ones will have a well thought out, organized, and cohesive answer which you resonate with)
  • NATURE TIME:   Remember, the “not me” is forced into the darkness by the demands of society.  There’s nothing like getting away from the pressures of society for a while into the woods, in private with your thoughts.  It’s the best environment I know of for “thinking new thoughts” and getting comfortable with what’s really going on in a market (and in yourself).   When was the last time you got out?

For what it’s worth,

Dr. G 🙂

My Best Stuff |   Beginners A to Z |  SEO Blueprint You Can Trust

PS – Please note, that if you have the feeling “this is bullshit”, well, that’s almost exactly making my point about how powerful these insights are.  (I realize this creates circular reasoning which can’t really be logically disproved… but it’s true nonetheless)