The Million Dollar Marketing Question Nobody Ever Asks…

I’ve got a very important insight this week…

Which you’ll no doubt think is obvious when you hear it…

But if it’s SO obvious, why do so many marketers blatantly ignore it?

See, there’s a ONE million dollar question you should ask yourself before soliciting feedback on your direct response marketing pieces…

It’s such an important question, it could make or break you as a direct response marketer…

And if you don’t use it, you’ll start absorbing crazy ideas from well meaning people who are nevertheless talking out straight out of their asses when it comes to marketing advice…

Plus, if you’re not careful, it’ll start to sound like the truth and you’ll be talking out of your butt too!  (Worse, you’ll start ACTING on their advice, and spreading their ideas as if they were the gospel)

Yet, this ONE million dollar question is one I’ve yet to hear ANYONE ask publicly.

See, before you expose yourself to feedback on your marketing piece you REALLY need to know the background, experience, and mindset of the person from whom you’re soliciting advice…

Which means (if they’re not a paying customer or a methodically identified hyper-responsive research participant) you MUST know their personal background in the direct response industry…

So here’s the million dollar question everyone should ask before accepting feedback on their marketing pieces:

“Have you personally profited at least $1,000,000 by risking your own money on direct response campaigns which you personally developed and/or supervised?”

Think about what happens when you apply this litmus test to the group of people from whom you’ve been accepting feedback:  I suspect the vast majority of them will fall out.  Maybe ALL of them.

Yet many marketers–especially new marketers–seem to equally value the opinion of their peers without knowing their previous levels of involvement, risk, and success in the industry.

Go look at any marketing forum.  There’s always someone who’s posting their site for review.  And a flood of people are happy to chime in with their opinions.  The grateful poster then considers all of the feedback with virtually equal respect, without any consideration for the opinion giver’s background and experience.

Or look at what happens in many professional mastermind groups.  For example, I’ll often facilitate a group for my coach training company where someone is presenting their website for feedback…

Now, I’ve got a LOT of smart people in these groups.  VERY smart.  And a lot of people who’ve been successful in other careers too…

But–and my apologies if this sounds snobby–in most of these groups I’m the ONLY person on the call who could pass the litmus test above by a wide margin.   Yet because of the pressures of group psychology (for the sake of peace and cohesion, group members are inclined to reach to a consensus which doesn’t exclude anyone)  AND the desperation of the marketer to feel accepted by a large number of people for their work, it’s not unusual for MY opinion to fade entirely into the background.  Unless I’m VERY FORCEFUL about it.

Sadly, the newer and more uncertain the marketer is about their work, the more vulnerable they are to these forces in groups and forums.  Yet it’s precisely the newest, most uncertain marketers who should heed this tenet the most…

Are the people from whom you are taking actionable feedback those who’ve profited at least $1,000,000 in direct response by spending their own money on their own campaigns?

I don’t fault people for ignoring this as they’re getting started.  Heck, I did it myself.

Direct response marketing can be a very lonely profession.  It’s SO easy to become stuck in your own vision that you really DO need outside pairs of eyes to keep you from pursuing a grandiose fantasy…

Plus, it’s difficult and expensive to get in front of million dollar marketers who meet the criteria above.  The truth is, there just aren’t that many of them because (sadly) this is a very tough game which most people crap out of before they make anywhere near their first million.  There’s too much pain on the journey, and it stops a lot of people.  (I don’t know anyone in this category who hasn’t suffered tremendously along the way)  

Then, of the small crowd who actually HAVE profited $1,000,000, most aren’t willing to talk about it publicly.  (Even though many of them will sell you an hour of consulting time if you track them down and offer to pay them a respectable rate.)

So what’s wrong with soliciting feedback from people who haven’t profited $1,000,000 by risking their own money on their own direct response campaigns?  Nothing if you keep their opinions in perspective.  EVERYTHING if you don’t!

There’s no harm in asking anyone’s opinion to get outside of yourself and have something different to consider.  But when the ONLY opinions you’re surrounded by are people who are just reacting emotionally and “talking theory”…

And especially when you don’t weigh the background, experience, and success level of the opinions when considering which to act upon…

Well, you’re just very unlikely to succeed in my experience.

Because it’s MUCH more fun to TALK about marketing and CRITISIZE other people’s work than to get out there and risk your own money on your own campaigns.  It doesn’t cost anything to give your opinion.  More pertinently, when you’re simply “opining” you do NOT have to spend the money, time, and labor to make the changes you suggest…

So you can just apply whatever you’ve read or studied and, in the absence of a true market test, it seems to fit perfectly…

Which feeds the dream, fosters hope, and makes people feel like they have a new understanding of their world.

But in practice, the market doesn’t always behave the way the books say it should.   And in practice, it’s very hard to IMPLEMENT the marketing ideas people throw at you like you’re a hungry goat waiting for chow-pellets with your mouth open at a petting zoo…

Because people who’ve risked their own money on their own campaigns and successfully profited from them not only have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t in the market…

They understand the rules of PRACTICAL RESOURCE ALLOCATION AND IMPLEMENTATION…

Which are actually equally if not more important than marketing knowledge when you really want to build a business.   (Sometimes the best marketing advice is actually the worst thing you can do for your business if it pulls resources away from something else important)

Moreover, experienced and successful direct response marketers understand the Theory of Constraints.  They know it does very little good to work on any part of your business except whatever happens to be your primary bottleneck at any given time.  You need feedback from people who can see the forest for the trees.  People who know when it’s time to take a step back from tactical marketing issues and look at overall business strategy.

MILLION DOLLAR MARKETING QUESTION: “Have you personally profited at least $1,000,000 by risking your OWN money on your OWN direct response campaigns?”

It’s an admittedly high bar.  But without this litmus test, you’re infinitely more vulnerable to going off in the wrong direction based upon well meaning feedback from kind-hearted people.

At the very least we should all have this question in the back of our mind when we’re getting feedback on our marketing.  You can always do a less-accurate-but-silent-evaluation based upon the person’s public history.

I really wish I came up with this litmus test sooner in my own personal journey.  In retrospect I was lucky because I always had coaching as a personal value.  I’ve always sought out the most respected people in any given endeavor I was trying to accomplish and paid them highly for their time…

And this is how I developed my own personal crew of million dollar marketers to give me (often brutal) feedback on my own marketing pieces.   I hired the best people I could find… and this helped me network my way to others who saw me more as an equal.

I know other people who accomplish this by going to seminars and networking with people in person.  And still others who do it on forums… but they’re willing to be much more aggressive in determining people’s history before they start soliciting their opinions.

In any case, I don’t expect everyone to be able to immediately find several million dollar marketers to provide them the feedback they desperately need.  But I DO think you’re much better off knowing the litmus test than flying blind.

And if you have to, drop the criteria a bit.  It’s MUCH better to get feedback from people who’ve profited at least $100,000 from direct response marketing using their own money than to just accept feedback willy-nilly from the crowd.

And whatever you do, just politely keep perspective on who’s talking to you.

OK?  OK!

Now go make some money!

Oh… and if you’d like MY million dollar opinion on YOUR marketing efforts, get your ass onto my priority waiting list.  I’ll be opening just a few slots in my business coaching practice on January 1st, 2016.

 

 

PS – Sorry I’ve been silent lately.  The Coaching Academy is taking ALL my time!

 

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