The subject line for this week refers to the question:
“What do you call the person who graduates last in the class at Harvard Medical School?”
I was thinking about this in relation to the upcoming “Titans” event that I am hosting in September…
Specifically, when I was planning the event, my dream was to have a room filled with the best direct response marketers in the world listening and interacting with more of the best direct response marketers in the world (i.e. the speakers).
In retrospect, I realize I was being very superficial and a bit hypocritical to have this dream…
It’s true that I always want to be in a room where I am never the smartest (which is pretty easy for me these days given where I’ve been hanging out)!
But there are many people–NOT necessarily the best “direct response marketers”–who belong in the rooms I want to be in…even a room for an event called “The Titans of Direct Response.”
World class entrepreneurs from all kinds of industries are now coming…and I am so excited about that…because the event is now not just about marketing but it’s also about being the best you can be in every aspect of your business.
Marketing will take center stage, of course…but there will be no shortage of bigger business lessons teaching what Marty Edelston taught me and why Dan Kennedy wanted to be part of “Titans.”
I believe that marketing is critical to every kind of business…and that’s why I recently did a presentation on an online conference for entrepreneurs…many of whom are not marketers and most of whom don’t want to get all that involved (directly) in their marketing either.
I knew I could be of service…since I believe that “nothing happens” with your product or service until you decide to aggressively sell it…within the boundaries you determine are right for your business.
I believe over 50 entrepreneurs opted in to this weekly e-mail after my presentation…and I am dedicating this week’s post to them…my new heroes who may not be “full time marketers” but they get it as far as paying more attention to this aspect of their businesses. I applaud them.
Let me share now what I shared with them…and I have a feeling that there will be some nice reminders for the experienced marketers on this list as well.
So here are the “9 Eternal Truths About Marketing That Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know”
1. Be involved in all of your marketing efforts even if you outsource everything: Those of you who run your own businesses–and have a background in some direct response medium–don’t need more encouragement on this one. But if you tend to focus on many other things beyond marketing (e.g. product development, finance etc.), never let go of the marketing reins completely. Know everything that everyone is doing inside and outside your organization. Every marketing message is a representation of you, your brand or both. Look after your marketing efforts like you would your own child.
2. Marketing is not evil: I totally understand mission-based businesses and the need to be “elegant” or “classy” with all marketing and sales messages. But always remember this: Consider itirresponsible to not bring your product or service to the marketplace with the same passion you created it in the first place. I know there’s a line each of us won’t cross and that’s personal taste and quite subjective; but there’s nothing to be ashamed of when you are bringing something you’ve worked your entire life for to as many people as possible. That may require copy platforms and creative considered more “aggressive” than you thought you would be comfortable with…but as long as it is always in the spirit of making a bigger impact, sell hard…
3. Advertising opportunities are now infinite: I’ve used this line in previous posts…and it’s worth repeating in this conversation. Telling entrepreneurs who are more hands-off with their marketing to run away from anyone who claims they can be your “one-stop shop” for all marketing, creative and media buying is one of the best pieces of advice I can give based on a career of “buying a la carte” from only the best experts working in their expertise. And this one is true no matter how hands-on or experienced you are with your marketing efforts.
4. SingleChannelMarketingIsSoBoring.com: Don’t go to this website because it just re-directs to my website…but I DO own this URL to prove a point. I will warn any entrepreneur or business owner who will listen—hands-on marketer or not–to ask lots of questions about the diversification of media being used on their behalf. I recommended that those they put in charge should talk about how the company/product/service can be a solution in multiple channels…single channel marketing is not only boring…it’s also quite dangerous.
5. No one spends enough time on lists: I’m quoting Dick Benson on this premise (for the 47th time this year)…because I can’t emphasize enough to business owners enough that they must pay close attention to their customer list, prospect list and how they look for new lists at a very detailed level. Not doing so is a prescription for disaster. It is a function that is truly the lifeblood of our businesses. To ignore lists…and to not make lists a top priority…is a huge mistake. And making sure you talk to different segments of your list based on their relationship with you is critical to maximize success. I’ll do a post in the future just on this concept.
6. If applicable, use your personal brand in your marketing: For many of the marketing superstars who reside on this list…superstars who know how their personal brand is totally in synch with their products and services…I don’t need to emphasize this too much. However, many entrepreneurs/business owners are squeamish about putting themselves “out there” in a big way for fear of sounding boastful and not genuine. To that, I will quote baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean (and I think John Wayne used this one too): “It ain’t bragging if you did it.”
7. Customers refund transactions…not relationships: I used this in my post last week in the context of that “cheap medium” called e-mail—and that e-mail should not simply be used to pound your list (and your customers/prospects) into submission. How I presented this concept to the “non-marketing expert but savvy entrepreneur”: I asked them to understand LTV (Lifetime Value) at the deepest level…which gives all marketers the most leverage and the maximum chance for success in multiple channels. I don’t think I have to remind you about this much more than I have here…and again, this deserves its own post in the future.
8. Credibility and transparency trumps all: Again, creating proof elements through testimonials and case histories…and professional endorsements…are about building the case, not bragging. And when you make a mistake or want to show vulnerability, people always appreciate transparency. Isn’t the cover up always worse than the crime? There are countless stories in the world of marketing where a business fessed up to something they were not proud of or failed with and came back stronger than ever. But once there’s a cover up, you’re doomed.
9. Always think “direct marketing”: Measurable and accountable advertising is what you always want…and don’t let anyone sell you a brand and image advertising “campaign” without showing you some kind of return on your investment (ROI). We’ve been saying for years that the Internet is the ultimate direct marketing medium and that will never change. But ALL marketing is direct marketing in my world…asking for an acceptable ROI is standard operating procedure as far as I’m concerned. Just because a lot of stuff is cheap doesn’t mean you should get sloppy measuring results.
I hope there was at least one good reminder in this list of something you might have forgotten about no matter how committed you are to your marketing efforts…and no matter how involved you are in the day-to-day marketing activities of your business.
As I thought about the wide variety of people who will be attending “Titans of Direct Response”, specifically the split between experienced marketers and world class entrepreneurs (who may not be experienced marketers) has made me re-define the notion of “who is really a beginner?”
There is so much to learn from everyone…and keep making sure you are never the smartest person in the room no matter what skill sets you have…
Until next week,
P.S. I’m planning on taking some deeper dives into many of these “9 Eternal Truths” in upcoming posts…please e-mail with your thoughts on which ones interest you the most and why. I have stories and examples about all of them and would really like to share more of that with you in the weeks and months ahead.