February 16, 2020

We have it easy in the U.S.–becoming an entrepreneur is the American dream and always encouraged.

And most of us realize that marketing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

But in most other countries around the world this is not the case.

I’m still in Italy this week so I want to share another adventure I had abroad.

I talked last week about my good friend Sebastien Night, “The French Marketer,” who is changing thousands of mindsets (and lives) in France by teaching entrepreneurship–and marketing–at a very high level.

I shared with you last week the incredible experience I had speaking for him in Paris some years ago.

Today I want to acknowledge another international hero, my Hungarian brother, Attila Ponger-Juhasz.

Attila is doing the same ground breaking work in his country.

And I was honored that he asked me to speak to his very special group in Budapest a couple of years ago.

(By the way, Budapest is a hidden gem in Europe…not hidden to those who have visited, that is.)

When I speak in places like France and Hungary about marketing it is so rewarding…the audiences are eager to learn and so appreciative.

And I am reminded how lucky we are in the U.S. to be at the forefront of marketing know-how…and how important it is for us to share it around the world.

More on that in a minute regarding what we can learn as Americans despite being in the poll position on the marketing racetrack.

My mentor Jay Abraham goes even further when he says it is our moral obligation to play big in this way…to always be teaching…and I would encourage all of you to do speak and teach abroad whenever you have an opportunity to do so.

I had such a fantastic experience on stage speaking to the entrepreneurs in Hungary.

My speech covered three things:

1)  Why marketing is not evil

2) The power of specialization

3) Some key building blocks of direct marketing

Here’s me on stage with my interpreter on my right (Zsac) and my buddy Attila on my left:

Some of the highlights:

Why is marketing not evil?

I used this picture on the slides for this part of the presentation…can you tell what each of the guys on his shoulders is saying to him?

You know Marketing is not evil, right?

The Hungarians needed a little more convincing.

I explained that they have full control of the audience they go after, the offers they make and the messaging they create—and they can turn it up, or turn it down, any way they like.

Just stay congruent and consistent with who you are all the time.

To shrug off marketing as just “selling” and “reaching into the wallets of your audience” is a huge mistake—and the Hungarians needed to hear this as my initial salvo. But I was very gentle.

The power of specialization

My graphic:

This is a message for marketers in Hungary as well as the U.S.—but you all know it already: Go a mile deep before you go a mile wide.

In Hungary, because the marketplace is not as competitive or saturated, you might be able to go a little wider than in the U.S. initially…but I cautioned them to think about their passions and going deep with them first.

The building blocks of direct marketing

Hungary was under communist control up until 1989 which makes talking about “marketing” a bit of a challenge.

1989 seems like a long time ago but it has taken decades to get over the lack of a free market for the “Hungarian entrepreneurs” (which sounds less and less like an oxymoron every day).

Of course I shared 40/40/20 (List/Offer/Creative), LTV (Lifetime Value) and RFM (Recency/Frequency/Monetary Value)—slowly and with a lot of care—and by the third day I think they realized I was a marketer they could trust. At least I hope so. 🙂

Another interesting lesson which I shared last week when it comes to France, Hungary or anywhere else in the world:

It may be true that marketing innovation begins in the United States—guys like Attila and Sebastien came to the U.S., learned all they could, and took it back to their countries to spread the word—but the lessons I learned from the Hungarians (and the French and I assume I will learn from the Italians) were just as valuable as me teaching all of them RFM and LTV.

These countries are “behind us” in new marketing ideas perhaps…but they are ahead of us with their thirst to learn and apply.

When I did some “laser hot seats” with many of Attila’s attendees, the ideas for businesses and how to market them (given the restrictions of the Hungarian market) actually turned many of those restrictions into opportunities. They figured it out on their own…I didn’t do a thing.

I guess, in short, don’t assume you are smarter than everyone you speak to in other countries even if you come from the United States (of Marketing).



P.S. Near the conclusion of my speech in Hungary, I couldn’t help but put up on the screen the famous Picasso quote:

Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like artist

Then I flashed a copy of my first book on screen which was coming out the next week–The Advertising Solution.

After all, the book is all about those building blocks (“rules you need to know like a pro”) from the legends who invented them.

I was launching my book in Hungary—what an amazing thing to do!

I forgot one small detail:

The book is NOT translated into Hungarian (yet)!

There were some of the Hungarians who spoke English but it was a significant minority.

So yes…I launched my book from a stage in Budapest, Hungary to an audience who couldn’t even read it.

I think this “list guy” needs an education in speaking to his audience!

Note: However you can go to TheLegendsBook.com…follow the instructions to order the book from the e-commerce site of your choice…and access some incredible free bonuses immediately.

Or… you can wait for the Hungarian version…although that might not be available for quite a while…

P.P.S. Below is me on stage in Budapest with Attila (on my far left) and Andrew McCall (in the middle):

Andrew spent almost 10 years working for $2 an hour as a laborer in Hungary (he was enrolled in a Bible School there as a youth).

When he got on stage, he started speaking with the interpreter…and at some point he launched into speaking fluent Hungarian.

Needless to say, Andrew was their favorite speaker. 🙂

He came over for this event (from New Jersey!) to inspire the crowd–which he did in spades.

And he came back to Hungary as a rising entrepreneurial star in the states–and he was also a member of my Titans Master Class Mastermind.

Sharing ourselves and our knowledge around the world…and learning at the same time…is a noble thing to do anytime…and anywhere.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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