These are turbulent times—maybe the most turbulent times in our lives—yet there is also a calm about it if we take time being mindful about everything around us—and not jump to action (or inaction).
I don’t have to tell you about COVID 19, the tension and protests in the streets, or the economy—it’s obvious what’s going on. I am both empathetic to all of it however I refuse to be inactive either.
My approach has been to stop, look and listen without making hasty decisions, creating controversial opinions, or make a bad move due to impatience.
I’m not procrastinating…just looking for the best way to map out a plan.
Whether you want to launch (or did launch) into the middle of COVID, whether you want to march or protest to make changes to what you think may be unfair or whether you want to invest (or pull out) of the economy altogether, I will maintain that a decision based on listening carefully first is way better than any knee jerk reaction to anything.
That’s not to say we should all sit on our hands and not be involved with our businesses, a righteous cause or our money…it just has to be done with lots of listening which leads to knowledge…which then leads to wisdom.
A good friend of mine, Richard Thau, who is a researcher and does focus groups around the country, said to me recently that people on polar opposites—for example those who watch MSNBC or FOX News only—are such a small percentage of the overall population.
The vast majority get their news from their local stations where they live.
That hit me like a ton of bricks…since living in the New York area creates overload on everything. Which is not better and doesn’t make me smarter or more well informed. In fact, I may be less informed with all the noise.
It is like the cartoon that shows a New Yorker’s view of the world…that everything west of the Hudson River is irrelevant—even New Jersey. 🙂
You get the idea.
I’ve been branching out (maybe not to China, Japan and Russia). But far enough to be able to share things I’ve heard and seen over the past few months on webinars, group calls with entrepreneurs, reading a lot and writing a lot—and maybe some of these will resonate with you as you are thinking about next moves.
Dan Kennedy in 2009
I’ll start with the 3 things Dan Kennedy shared after the 2008 recession which are relevant during any chaotic time—and since I believe we are in a “forced recession” right now, these are worth remembering:
1. Don’t allow what’s going on to paralyze you. It is the best time to be a marketer. If your competition is panicking and frozen, hiding in a closet (i.e. they stopped at “stop” and didn’t bother to look and listen), you have a chance to solidify your position in the marketplace.
2. Work harder. Well, I don’t entirely agree with this given today’s situation, especially because many of us were under stay-at-home orders for 3 months. Oh wait…we did work harder within those constraints and created different ways to run our businesses. But that isn’t necessarily working harder–but it is working smarter. And see below how some companies did that beautifully.
3. Fix any fundamental flaws. Dan’s take on a recession is that it exposes flaws that were already there…it’s just that you were still able to make money despite those flaws. Don’t panic. And I will add to my premise: Stop, look, listen…and then map out an action plan.
4. Clean your room. Oops, there are 4 now…and this one is mine.
Use some of that “look” time to create less clutter in your surroundings (your office, your home, wherever) which will free you up for more listening which I guarantee will add to your productivity.
And lead you to an action plan more quickly. I need to get going on this one as much as anyone.
People are testier
This was strange…but I’ve heard it from many other marketers who are doing more social media and advertising online during this time.
Not everyone is grumpy…but the grumps are out there.
I was running ads on Facebook and Instagram with previous blog posts which had gotten the best response from my online family (i.e. you) in the past.
One of them, entitled “Use smaller words,” got an avalanche of negative comments such as:
“Why are you supporting mangling the English language?”
“Who are you to tell me how to write and speak?”
“Terrible advice. Why should I listen to you?”
And of course a few of these:
“Why is this nonsense in my feed?” (The beauty of lookalike models and pixels)
Obviously the broader outside audience didn’t understand the subtlety of the piece which is about matching message to list…and I was by no means suggesting to use smaller words with everybody.
But I created lots of controversy just the same. And I don’t think I would have had as many negative emails about it in a different time period.
To quote comedian Bill Maher, “I can’t prove it but I know it’s true.” 🙂
I know it’s true that writing to a fifth to seventh grade level is usually more effective in most markets.
And the words don’t necessarily have to be smaller but they always have to be understandable.
I chalked the negativity up to going wider with my message…but I have heard from many others that in a time of upheaval it is important to know what your audience is going through and to communicate with them accordingly.
This example might be more anecdotal but once I surveyed others, I realized it was indicative of something more.
I wouldn’t have predicted this response with this particular blog post in advance…but there is an anxiety in the marketplace currently which affects how the marketplace is responding.
Moving live events to virtual events
This is not a trend…it is a fundamental shift…and it’s working extremely well.
In many cases, events online are doing even better than the live events originally conceived.
More attendees, more interaction (with hosts and sponsors/vendors), and more money (in sales at the event)…and no minimums on food and beverage at the hotel and no cost for the space (except your deluxe Zoom account).
But don’t think this is a cheap way to make more money either.
The digital version of a large live event is not simply a livestream—far from it.
And the folks who are doing it at the highest level are leveling up the experience of the online version of the live event.
For example, sending SWAG bags in advance…with breakout sessions with sponsors and certain speakers that are much more meaningful and beneficial…and a check-in process that insures stickiness during the entire event…are all contributing to these enhanced results.
You need to be all in and spend more money on other things for the virtual and not only because you are experiencing a huge savings going online from offline.
And I’m not saying to throw good money after bad—just use some of the savings on a live event to spend some more on the virtual event.
You can’t spend more if you try—and you should focus on things that can move the ball forward.
These are events that normally get 500 to 2,000 attendees live…and they are getting 50% to 200% more total attendees digitally…and most are staying live (on their computers or whatever device they prefer) on the “event” the entire time (up to 3 days).
How’s that for a meaningful pivot?
Also—smaller mastermind groups are doing the same thing…with groups of 10 to 50 (or more)—with similar results in terms of participation and usefulness) despite not having a selling component to them.
I don’t think these virtual events will replace live events…but they will be a serious “AND” (not an “OR”).
Sort of like direct mail in your media mix 🙂
But until we can safely be together—and we must hug each other when that happens!—these types of digital events are working and getting better every day.
A significant trend here (for pre-launch content, evergreen webinars etc.) is going from recording in advance with a long runway to live content throughout.
And this too has worked very well—in some cases with more than double the revenue.
This was a must during the first peak COVID period…and I am not saying COVID is over…but with news changing daily recording content months in advance won’t cut it.
Live launches have shown some promise in the past…and that trend will only continue when we are driven by news cycles rather than just selling our wares. It’s pretty exciting to watch.
I’ve been stopping a lot more these days (and I’ll stop here for today).
I’m also looking around a lot more too (to stay on top with all that’s going on and sharing all I can with you and my mastermind groups).
And I’m also listening more than ever to advice and new thinking about what is trending now and figuring out what might be trending in the near future.
Finally, after stopping, looking and listening, I’m deciding what might make the most sense for my entire marketing family.
That is, what we can learn together, what we can take action on (whatever is applicable), and then profit accordingly.
However let me repeat an earlier refrain:
I am not tone deaf to the problems and issues that we have all been dealing with over the past few months and I will always try to be as empathetic first by stopping, looking and listening.
But I am also NOT a non-profit operation…and I refuse to be paralyzed by what is going on…and we must still seize the day.
And then seize the next month.
And seize the years ahead too.
P.S. The Titans Xcelerator launch which ended last Sunday…thank you to all of our new members for joining…you won’t regret being part of this extraordinary group.
Those of you who missed it, there will be opportunities in the future to get in later in the year.
I decided to leave the page up for you with two free videos (a “sneak peek” of two recent live calls from Titans Xcelerator), one with the one-and-only Jay Abraham (at the top of the page) and one at the bottom of the page which is a typical live monthly call I do with members including discussions, hot seats and more.
You can also get on the waiting list for Titans Xcelerator on that page so you will be the first family members notified when I open up membership again.
Just hit one of the “JOIN TODAY” buttons within the sales letter.
Click here for the two free videos and the sign up page for the waiting list.