The Transition from Mass Marketing to Content Marketing – For the entrepreneur and business owners who are struggling to share their world class companies and want to make a difference for those who need their products or services.
If you’ve ever been discouraged by your marketing efforts or left feeling confused as to why you’re not reaching new prospects and customers, this book is for you! Every business today builds a website, sets up their social media pages and some even blog.
We start expecting and hoping for big results only to find out that no one is interested in reading, consuming, or sharing our content; let alone contacting us about doing business. After ten years of owning an on-line community website, on-line newspaper and having over a hundred web design and development clients; I’ve learned that the things we do off-line in marketing are often forgotten on-line.
Many small business owners have built incredible businesses through networking and building relationships, yet when they come on-line they assume that just posting about themselves and what they do is good enough. They discover very quickly that it is not and instead of asking why the Internet isn’t working for them they dig deep into sites that teach them how to use social media websites and email marketing. But still it does not work because their problem is not the tool or their platform, it’s the lack of clarity around their business, who they serve, why they serve them, and why a prospect would choose to buy from them and become a customer.
The Shift is in learning how our minds are shaped for mass marketing principles but discovering how mass marketing is failing in an on-line world where both business-to-business and business-to-consumer buyers are more educated and savvier than ever about how they want to be approached by businesses. Gone are the days when businesses can just intrude upon people and expect and hope they will buy from us. Intrusive marketing like commercials on TV and radio, telemarketing, and even pop-up ads on websites frustrate and discourage buying. So how as businesses owners are we supposed to market? Instead of being forced to go to the consumer, how can we relate to the consumer in such a way that they want to come to us and do it in profitable numbers?
The world is changing. Now it’s time for your business to change as well. In this book you will discover how to message your business in a way that is powerful and inspiring, and resonates with those who are out there looking for your product or service. The ideas and principles in this book were developed, refined, and practiced by real businesses – my businesses and a few of those who I’ve coached or consulted with over the years.
The best way to use this book is to read it straight through. Study the first chapter. It will reveal what the changes are that have occurred in marketing for over 300 years and in particular what has happened since 1995. The rest of the book is devoted to helping you understand how to change the emphasis of your marketing from communicating how great you think you are to helping you learn how to start thinking like your prospects and customers and giving them what they need so that they can choose to buy from you.
Chapter 1 A Brief History of Marketing and Why It’s Important
The times are changing and technology is moving us forward at the fastest pace in history. So much change is happening so fast that it can leave one to wonder what is next? When I was a kid we only had five TV channels to choose from, one local newspaper, and if you really wanted to learn on your own how to do something you had to buy a book and actually take the time to read it. How the times have changed. Now I can go to YouTube and learn how to change the brake pads on the car, fix the refrigerator or learn how to do just about anything I want to do. Yes, the times have changed and so has the way we do marketing, but the fundamentals have not changed. In a real sense, marketing allows us to share how we make a difference in the world and it helps us discover our purpose and mission in life and business when we take the time to understand it and apply it appropriately to our audiences.
For hundreds of years mass marketing has been the catalyst for virtually all marketing, except for maybe word of mouth. But even word of mouth has a role to play in mass marketing. This is not a book about mass marketing or if it is good or bad; it’s a book about the direction I believe marketing is headed in based on research, facts and ten years of being in the middle of the marketing shift from mass marketing to content marketing. But before we go too much farther, let’s explore a brief history of marketing in order to set the stage.
As early as the American Revolution you could find in every colonial American town a newspaper and that newspaper would have some advertisements in it. You could find out about public auctions like this one from George Washington or an advertisement for carriage services between Philadelphia and New York City. Mass marketing has been with us for a long, long time. It makes complete sense that we would want to get the message out to as many people as possible about our products or services. That way those who needed us would have a means of finding us. The whole point of mass marketing is to spread a wide net and capture as many eyes as you can on your advertisement. Even if that means only a small percentage of those looking at it are actually your buyers.
From the 1600’s through the early 1920’s the only means of marketing was in a newspaper or maybe a magazine. In the 1920’s radio stations starting springing up and in 1922 there are approximately 600 radio stations across the United States. We were starting to transition from being a “saving” society to a “consumer” society. There were all kinds of things that needed to be sold:
Ready made exact-size clothing
Electric vacuum cleaners
Radio was a new way to share a marketing message to a massive audience in a way never before experienced. The opportunities to reach thousands upon thousands of listeners was staggering to that generation and
radio became a product of the mass market. Families gathered for nighttime entertainment around the radio all over the country.
People consumed music, sporting events, lectures, newscasts, weather reports, market updates and political commentary. In 1922, a San Francisco newspaper reported, “There is radio music in the air, every night, everywhere. Anybody can hear it at home on a receiving set, which anybody can put up in an hour.” Radio altered the daily habits of its listeners more than any other previous invention. It was during the 1920’s that the first advertising agencies hired psychologists to create the first marketing campaigns to build brand name awareness:
“By 1929, American companies spent $3 billion annually to advertise their products–five times more than the amount spent on advertising in 1914.”
By the 1940’s television had become the new rage and thing to have. TV advertisements were on the rise and some even called it the “advertising industry boom.” Total U.S. billings more than doubled during the 1950s, from $5.7 billion in 1950 to $12 billion in 1960 and the number of marketing agencies skyrocketed (http://adage.com/article/75-years-of-ideas/1950s-tv-turns-america/102703/).
From the 1960’s to early 2000’s marketing remained virtually unchanged. If you wanted to grow a business and you wanted to grow it significantly then you had to be on the radio, TV, and in newspaper and magazine advertisements. By the 1980’s TV commercials were the king of advertising. Nothing could compete with its reach and visual power as cable introduced new ways of watching sports, music and news. The idea of marketing to a niche was not well conceived compared to what it is today. Mass marketing has traditionally been a powerful tool to gain access to as large of an audience as possible that was ready, able and willing to buy.
But it was expensive, clunky and very inefficient. Businesses were always trying to figure out the return on investment (ROI) and how long it would take them to break even on an advertisement. It was a very inexact science at times. TV was, and still is, extremely expensive and out of reach for all but the largest companies who have massive marketing budgets and brand name reach.
But there is a shift that has been picking up momentum since the Internet started becoming more mainstream thanks to companies like AOL that allowed for dial-up Internet connections over a phone line.
Just consider the fast paced changes since 1994: 1994 – 2002: Mass marketing dominates marketing. 2002 – 2010: Websites start to get numerous and targeting of actual paying audiences is possible because of SEO and targeted advertisements on search engines like Google’s Adwords. 2010 – 2015:
Rise of social media, blogging, pod casting, video and the ability to even segment highly targeted and specific audiences becomes possible. Today, more than ever, the possibility exists to reach a highly targeted group of prospective buyers for your product or service in a way never before conceivable.
But there is a problem. And that problem is that the overwhelming majority of business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers are still stuck in a mass marketing mindset.
As a result, business websites, blogs and social media tend to focus on the business and the businesses products and services. The public has moved on from this mindset even if it’s a subtle shift and as business owners we are now setting ourselves up for failure. We are chasing all the wrong numbers and metrics in our search for mass audiences that we hope will translate into new customers and a lot of money. It reminds me of the old days when we knew that we had to send out “x” number of direct mail pieces in order to get “x” of responses. We had it down to a science. But the world is radically changing thanks to technology and a weak economy that has forced consumers to think more about how they spend money and who they spend their money with.
People are still concerned nearly 10 years after the economy crashed. They are concerned about lower wages, higher taxes and increases to the cost of basic necessities such as food, clothing and transportation. So whatever discretionary income they have, they are very careful about how they spend their hard earned money.
That is why it’s up to us to give them a reason to buy from us and ultimately that is what this book is all about. That’s what putting your marketing in the context of your prospects and customers is all about.
If you market on-line at all in any way through a website, blog, social media or any other platform you cannot just throw out messages that scream “buy me!” Instead you will have to learn to talk with your prospects about their problems, needs, concerns while building up confidence that you are competent to help them with whatever need they may have. Building that kind of confidence comes through really understanding your prospects and showing them that you understand them by how you message and communicate with them.
That’s what this book is all about!
You will be asked to think differently about your marketing, discover how to start learning to think like your prospects and customers, and make the shift from mass marketing models to learning how to identify and converse with those who are ready to buy from you.
It’s not easy and much will be asked of you. But, if you take the time to establish yourself the right way the rewards are deep, lasting and profitable to your company. So let’s get started on the journey together, shall we?
Chapter 2 Is Your Mindset Ready for Exceptional Marketing?
If I were to say to you; “Harness the Internet or prepare to become obsolete!” How would that make you feel? Would you be nervous, angry, hesitant or maybe even a little afraid? Or would you feel excited, ready and willing to take on the task? Are you pushing too hard for a sale because you are not generating enough new leads to fill your marketing and sales funnels?
We’ve already established that marketing is changing at an accelerated rate and that means you have to be open to making changes if you’re going to capitalize on the opportunities that are in front of us. You have to be open to a new way of doing things and being willing to try things perhaps you’ve not seen anyone do before. The reason people feel that the fast paced shift is so hard or confusing is because we have been wired to think in a mass marketing context and now we must learn to think beyond it. Yet, most of us don’t have the awareness of what is happening around us or the training or skills to make that shift.
Some of us are aware of what is happening but we are afraid of what we don’t know or don’t understand and it’s just comfortable to stay right where we are at. The truth is that mass marketing is comfortable. It’s
what we know instinctively because it’s what we’ve directly and indirectly been taught all of our lives. But as we will see later in the book, it’s costing big and small businesses in terms of reach, opportunity and revenues. If we are going to make the shift from mass marketing and learn how to resonate with our audiences better and give them a reason to buy from us we will have to learn to take the focus off of ourselves and learn how to think like your prospects and customers.
Exceptional marketing requires that you stop thinking about yourself and almost exclusively about them! I can already hear some of you saying that you already do that or that you already know it. If we were talking together right now in person you might even rationalize with me how you’re doing it extremely well. The truth is that 99% of the time someone thinks they get it, but when I go to their website, blogs and social media guess who it is all about? Yep, you got it right. It’s all about “me” and there is nothing exceptional about my message when I make it all about “me.” The truth is that for much of our marketing says nothing, means nothing and it helps no one.
Because we are programmed to think like mass marketers due to years and years of print ads in newspapers, magazines flyer’s, etc; or listening to radio commercials or watching TV commercials.
Mass marketing puts us in the unfortunate position of making our messaging all about our business or the product or service and the prices of those products and services. But the Internet doesn’t work like that. It’s not important how many people are on your website; what’s important is that your message is drawing the right people to your website who are able, willing and ready to spend money with you.
Though there are billions upon billions of people every day on the Internet you are probably seeing less than .00001% of them on your website. That’s okay if you’re attracting the right people.
According to Netcraft, a company out of Bath, England that offers research data and analysis on many aspects of the Internet, there are over 644 million active websites on the Internet and some estimates are that there are over 861,379,000 registered domains. If you’re going to be successful, you will have to learn how to think more specific, targeted, direct and personal than you ever have before.
The bigger your vision and mission is the clearer you will have to get in your focus. That means there is some major work ahead for you.
Are you willing to do the work?
Are you willing to spend the time doing what others won’t so that you can earn the success they will never have?
If so you are going to have to change your mindset.
If you’re struggling and you’re telling yourself that all you need is money to solve your problems then you are missing the point and your business will likely fail sooner than later. Think of it like this. There is a show called “My 600 Lb Life” on TLC. Unfortunately, the folks on the show who were massively obese struggled with their health for so long that they were on the verge of dying due to heart issues, diabetes, and a whole host of other life threatening issues.
Do you know what their real ailment was? It was not food. It was the stories they told themselves in their minds. They justified and they lied to themselves about the situation they found themselves in and for whatever reason they couldn’t see past their emotional hurts and pains.
Yet, if they want to live they will be forced to change and change quickly.
Mass marketing is like obesity to the small business owner.
It’s slowly piling on and killing your business. It’s time to make a change. Here is where the real shift has to happen in your mind; Money is not your root problem. There are so many things you can do right now that cost very little money but require a tremendous amount of effort. For many people, marketing is little more than communications and advertising.
It’s viewed as a tactical communications function rather than a strategic growth driver. It’s not about getting your logo out there or offering a few sales. It’s about connecting, resonating, inspiring and giving people a clear vision of how you can make a difference in their lives no matter what your business might be.
People are tired of feeling like businesses don’t understand or identify with them. They are tired of feeling that businesses are just trying to sell them something they don’t perceive they need or want. In any given day, you see or hear hundreds of mass marketing advertisements: TV commercials Radio commercials Billboards on the drive to wherever Ads in the airport On websites In on-line videos On grocery carts On the sides of vehicles In the mail And on and on they come asking for more and more… How many do you actually remember? How many catch your attention and you say; “yes, I need that!”
When will businesses learn that we are in a new economy?
Mass marketing is predicated on us going to them; but now they don’t want us to go to them they want the freedom to come to us.
How do we help them come to us?
By changing the way we think about and interact with them.
We have to get to the reasons they want to buy and who they want to buy from; and that comes through learning how to think about marketing differently.
People don’t buy based on logic. Yet, isn’t that how the overwhelming majority of businesses market?
Look at any website and you will find a list of reasons why the business thinks a prospect should buy from them. We end up trying to appeal almost exclusively to our needs instead of their needs and we end up forgetting that every time someone comes to a business to buy something it’s based on emotional decisions and every time they open their wallet it’s an emotional decision.
So how do we change the conversation so that we can appeal both to their brains and their hearts?
That happens when we learn:
1. What business am I “really” in?
2. What are the tangible values that my customers receive when they buy from me?
3. What problems do I “specifically” solve?
4. Who do I “specifically” solve them for?
5. How are my products or services “a” part of a solution?
This process helps your mind learn to take the focus off of you and put it exclusively on your prospects and customers. This is the mindset shift that must happen if you’re going to move from mass marketing to a more meaningful buying relationship with your prospects and customers.
Are you willing and ready to make the shift?
If you are then you’re in for an exciting time of learning to think differently than you’ve ever thought before while at the same time learning to connect with your customers in a way that will give them a reason to buy from you over and over again because it’s not about you, it’s about them.
This is one of the hardest shifts people are having when it comes to their marketing.
It feels awkward and uncomfortable at first as you re-train your mind to think in a different way.
That can lead to feeling uncertainty and even a little doubt.
But as Jim Rohn has been popularly quoted;
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
Your business exists not to make money. That’s the result of your business. Your business exists to make a difference in your community, region, country, or maybe even the world. That’s worth being passionate and excited about. If you don’t know how you make an impact in your customer’s lives or businesses right now, it’s time to set sail and figure it out together.
If you’re ready to learn how to put mass marketing behind you and gain insight into how you can personalize the digital experience (or even the off-line experience) between your company and your prospects and customers then let’s do this!
Let’s make marketing exceptional and start making a difference today in the world. Now that we’ve got our mindset clear and we understand that in order to get where we want to go we will have to change what we are doing, let’s talk specifically about what that change looks like.
Chapter 3 What Business Am I “Really” In?
I love going to networking meetings to meet new people. I always find something interesting or inspiring from every person I meet for the first time. I can remember those days before I learned the art and science of
networking how I felt when I met a fellow business owner for the very first time. It was awkward and uncomfortable as everyone tried to figure out what to say and how to say it. What do we have in common? Well, we have business in common. So we are all bracing for that one crazy question we hate to answer: “So tell me, what do you do?” I can remember how I felt scrambling in my mind trying to figure out what I was going to say, but what always came out of mouth was the same. As I proceeded to tell them what I “do” I could see the boredom and the disconnect. It was as if they were at a “B” rated movie just buying their time before they found a way out of the conversation to something a little more interesting.
Isn’t that how we really want to treat one another?
When I ask the question “what business are you “really” in?” I’m asking you to tell me how are you making a difference in the world and how can you make my life or business better; it’s rooted in discovering and articulating your purpose. I’m not asking you to tell me what you do. That is easy, uninspiring, boring and frankly for people who are honest, it’s a turnoff.
No one is listening.
I’m sure you don’t listen when others just tell you what they do. Yet, we keep on just doing the same thing over and over again. In networking meetings, on our websites, on our social media, in our emails… it’s an epidemic that seems to have no end.
Our messaging is squeezing the life out of our businesses. Let’s say I just met you and you ask me what I do. If I “do” five things but it takes me five minutes to explain it to you are you really listening?
Probably not, you’re probably thinking about another person you really want to meet or you might even be verbally telling yourself you want to get away from this person and go talk to someone more interesting or who might be a great sale for you? Isn’t that the danger in any kind of marketing?
We’re always looking for the next sale instead of thinking about and focusing on the one person we are actually talking to. You may never know who you are really talking with. When we don’t message ourselves well in the few minutes we have with one another we never really get to know who that person is or anything about their business. In my view, marketing is the one tool that allows you to share how you are competent and offers a person a reason to consider buying from you. Sharing competency and what we do are two very different things. Competency comes from the positive experiences and results of working with real people that we had a positive effect upon.
They had a real problem and my business had a real solution. How we take and message a business is by discovering the business you are “really” in from the publics point of view; not your point of view.
What business would they say you are in?
Would they tell you what you do or would they tell you the difference you made in their lives?
Why Tag-lines Can Make Your Marketing Worse Tag-lines used to be cute little phrases that corporations or businesses would use to try to distinguish themselves and what they do.
Let’s look at a few and them:
3M – Innovation
Acura – The road will never be the same
Aflac – Ask about it at work
AIG – We know money
Allstate – Are you in good hands?
American Airlines – Something special in the air
American Express – Don’t leave home without it
Budweiser – The king of beers
Burger King – Have it your way
Coors – The silver bullet
Dell Computers – Easy as Dell
Ford – Built for the road ahead
Grey Poupon – Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?
All of these were awesome in their day… but it’s a new day. In what way do the tag-lines tell you anything about how the business makes your life better or solves a single problem for you without an explanation?
They don’t and that’s the point.
These are tools of mass marketing in a world where mass marketing is only valued by those who receive payment for access to their audiences and those who give the media companies the money.
The odds are that you are probably not a large corporation with million or hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing that you can experiment with and do focused study groups and a lot of interesting things that require you to spend money to make money.
So, how do you discover what “business you’re “really” in?”
Let’s follow the journey of The Warehouse Academy and find out
Chapter 4 The Warehouse Academy –
A Journey of Discovery Like any start-up, Charles Ware has a dream of what he could do as a business based on his years of experience to provide for both his family and make a difference in his world. For nearly twenty seven years, Chuck worked for the same moving company as a Quality Assurance Manager. The company he worked for was a larger moving company and over the years Chuck learned everything there was to know about the moving business, especially in areas of safety, best practices, moving, packing and customer care.
So in January 2014 Chuck took all of that experience and decided it was time to start The Warehouse Academy. His business is very unique and different within the moving industry where training normally happens on site through a DVD instead of with a real, live, experienced person who can provide instruction and answer questions.
To his credit, he is a really intelligent and amazing man who has unlimited potential and has not been stung by some of the harsh realities of business yet. He just had a great idea and a lot of contacts. It’s really simple as most businesses are at their core. It’s just we forget how simple they are and so we complicate them. He essentially said “Moving companies, especially small moving companies, struggle with gaining access to the training they need in order to become safer, more efficient, most cost effective and obviously more profitable.”
Does it get any better than that?
So, the next question was how can you take those principles and turn them into a message that is exciting, inspiring and encourages moving companies to spend money getting the training they need to be all those things?
Over five weeks he worked through the following material.
1. What are you passionate about; what are your tangible values; and what problems do you solve?
2. What business are you “really” in?
3. Who is your specific target market?
4. Strategies, goals and objectives
Chapter 5 What Problems are You Passionate About?
Every business has a purpose and reason for why they offer the products or services they provide to their customers. But there is so much more to it than that! When it comes to marketing, your passion is a driver of your messaging.
Personally, I love to know what business people think they are “really” in. There is something interesting, almost romantic about learning why and how businesses are motivated to helping their customers. This question started out as a challenge to Chuck. Why? Because it’s the most personal and the most intense of all the questions I will ever ask. It gets straight to motivation and what drives the business owner and entrepreneur. Without understanding your “why?” as an entrepreneur, it becomes a challenge to keep your head on straight day-to-day when you’re stuck in the muck and mire of the details of your business.
When it comes to incentives, most business owners believe there are only a few and maybe only one:
Money – Happy customers – Growing company
Okay, but what if only two are happening or worse yet; what if it feels like none of them are happening; and here is the biggest thing…
Your prospects and customers don’t generally care about you if you can’t help them!
If you go out of business your customers will find somewhere else to shop or someone who can help them with their needs. Your interests are not their interests and until you figure that out your messaging will focus exclusively on you.
That’s where understanding your “why?” and the problems you’re passionate about are so important. They will drive you when things don’t appear to be going your way. They will push you to keep moving forward because you believe in something bigger than yourself, money or a job well done.
Your job is to inspire others to believe that you are the one person who can solve their problems or meet their needs. If you don’t believe in yourself they certainly won’t believe in you. If you can’t persuasively and passionately give them a reason to buy from you, you risk just becoming a commodity and they will go elsewhere with their money.
In his book “Start with Why”, Simon Sinek says: “Great leaders…
are able to inspire people to act.
Those who are able to inspire give people a sense of purpose and belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained. Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people who act not because they were swayed, but because they were inspired.
For those who are inspired, the motivation to act is deeply personal.” Passion is the seed of personalization. It’s what separates a commodity from someone or something that is unique, relevant, different and inspiring even if we are all selling the same products or services.
Those who “get” you are those who will gravitate towards you and want to buy from you.
What was Chuck passionate about?
At first he wasn’t sure. That’s perfectly normal and okay.
It’s a big question that most of us don’t cognitively think about. It’s always under the surface but rarely thought about on purpose.
Here is what Chuck came up with on his first try:
The problems I’m passionate about is: The image of the true professional mover An accomplished mover only makes the industry that much stronger and everyone involved in the process is better for it as well.
This is a really good start, but that isn’t something I would say sounds very passionate. After talking it through for a few hours it dawned on Chuck.
He said, “I feel really passionate about: The lack of caring in the moving industry. Employees are disposable in many companies and they can be replaced. There is no reason for them to care if they don’t feel cared for. The lack of professionalism. People who start moving companies aren’t business owners and rarely stop to think about moving as a business and therefore they hire anyone who is able and willing to pick something up and drop it off without any professional training or expectations.
It’s just a J O B and it’s all about me instead of the customer.
Lack of communication between the moving company and the customer that creates unrealistic expectations.
Training competent staff and helping owners of moving companies understand that you get what you pay for. Everyone is a winner when a customer’s possessions are returned the way they were received by the moving company.
What Chuck realized through the process was how much he learned over the years and how big of a difference he could make, not just for moving companies but also for the millions of people that will move in any given year.
Suddenly the lights went on!
What Chuck will do doesn’t just affect his own livelihood or that of other business owners. As he trains people how to carefully take care of priceless possessions he is also indirectly affecting all those who trust a moving company with their most precious possessions.
This was turning into something much bigger, much scarier and more exciting than he had planned.
Chuck was just getting started on the journey to discovering what business he is “really” in.
Chapter 6 What Problems Do You “Really” Solve?
This is the one area that is radically changing the way we approach marketing and messaging.
As I shared in the introduction, mass marketing isn’t all that interested with the details. It can’t be in order to appeal to a very large audience. Mass marketing by definition is about bringing brand awareness and maybe quickly telling a mass audience about what a company does and maybe how much it will offer a product or service for.
For example, Southwest Airlines spent thousands upon thousands of dollars for this one billboard: It may or may not appeal to you. If you’re not interested in going to Hawaii anytime soon then maybe you’re interested in going someplace else?
The truth is that according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (http://www.transtats.bts.gov/), an average of 1.73 million passengers flying per day.
This statistic counts individuals every single time that they board a plane as a different passenger. There are over 300 million people who live in the United States. So, how targeted is this form of advertising?
It’s not at all and big companies are okay with spending an average of $1 per flyer knowing they could gross $200 per flyer.
But you don’t have that luxury.
So that means as a small or medium size business you have to be a little more flexible, creative, smart and more specific than a large corporation. That is actually a major competitive advantage!
A little less than a week after Chuck sent me his first assignment on the problems he was passionate about, he emailed me assignment two. I specifically asked him to share with me “what problems do you specifically solve?” In this phase, I’m not looking for or wanting solutions. We just want to identify the specific problems. It’s your job to know what the problems are and then isolate them to common ideas or principles. I find that of the all the businesses I’ve worked with over the years this is the hardest question for them to answer. It’s hard because it forces us out of our comfort zone and asks us to see our business as the world sees us, not how we see ourselves.
Again, Chuck struggled initially but he recovered very quickly and nicely. To be fair, I didn’t prep Chuck. I just asked him to answer the question to the best of his ability.
His initial answer was “I solve the problems of lack of overall training at the crew/ mover level. Training new or unqualified movers, retraining of existing crews and under performing crews.” Again, it was a good start but there were some places we had to dig deeply.
By the time we were done brainstorming and exhausting our mental faculties, we came up with the following problems that Chuck solves for his customers:
Reducing damages to a customer’s items during packaging, loading, transporting, unloading and unpacking.
Negative perceptions about the moving industry.
Low client retention and increasing repeat business.
Unsafe and inefficient workplaces for moving workers.
Reducing insurance claims that cause insurance rates to climb when damaged items occur too often during packaging, loading, transporting, unloading and unpacking.
Reductions to workman’s comp to lower employee injury rates and insurance costs.
Dependable employee’s who don’t take of from work due to injuries.
Workers who are not prepared to work safely and professional.
Prevention of lawsuits before they ever begin.
Employees who experience poor working conditions that lead to physical injuries.
Customers who sue because precious, sentimental valuables are broken and lost forever.
Grandma’s broken china that cannot be replaced.
Though there were a lot more specifics than what is here, we were able to condense and group problems that Chuck solves together into a more concise set of common problems which you see here.
At this point, clarity is starting to take place and clarity is your absolute best friend when it comes to marketing and messaging in a content.
That is the stage that is now being set.
Chuck doesn’t realize it yet, but he is creating content that will now resonate to one person that has one specific problem. Clarity will allow him to eventually define what business he is “really” in because he is becoming more and more aware of how he actually solves problems for his clients.
Out of each problems comes an article that is real, personal and to the point. If you think about it, why and how do you search for anything on Google?
Every single thing you search is either for the purpose of solving a problem or looking for information on an issue… which is usually a problem of some kind for you. In the future, Chuck can write articles on his blog like:
Why is Your Moving Company Having a Hard Time Keeping Employees?
How Can Your Moving Company Really Protect Valuables from Being Broken?
What Should You Expect from Your Moving Company?
10 Ways to Safely Package, Store, and Move a 500 lb Dresser
How to Find a Real Moving Company That Doesn’t Hire Day Workers Who Don’t Care About Your Valuables.
These types of titles will lead to articles that are specific and targeted and they all come from the problems that The Warehouse Academy solves for both their clients and the moving public.
The problem with the overwhelming majority of businesses websites and blogs is they are putting out okay content, but not great content.
They spend way too much time talking about themselves, their products and services, their promotions and sales and how wonderful they are. But they don’t inspire and they certainly don’t take the time to demonstrate that they understand or care for the reader, prospect or customer when it’s a never ending story about themselves and what they want to sell me.
Stop selling and instead give people a reason to buy.
Chapter 7 What is the Tangible Value You Provide to Your Customers Through Your Products or Services
You might be wondering; what in the world is a tangible value?
It depends upon what kind of business you have.
A tangible value is determined by asking what can someone expect if they buy from you?
Each tangible value offers a solution and is attached to an emotion. This one came much simpler to Chuck, as it should, because of the work that had already been done. In this instance, we chose to do tangible values after defining the problems The Warehouse Academy solves through their training. In some cases, it’s easier for some companies to determine the tangible values first and then solve problems for each tangible value.
In Chuck’s case it was easier for him to define the problems he solves and then group them by categories to arrive at the tangible values he offers his customers. Remember, each tangible value offers a solution and is attached to an emotion:
Moving companies will have trained, educated movers who care about their work and their customers. Moving companies will increase their profits by increasing their efficiency and lowering their variable costs like insurance claims and workman’s comp.
Moving companies will experience happier and more satisfied customers who will be proud to refer your services.
Moving items will return to the customer exactly as they were received.
Again, look at the clarity that The Warehouse Academy is experiencing! It’s much more concise, clear and easy to understand. I want to give you another example.
Another client is creating a business that works with youth sport leagues.
Here are the tangible values that they came up with:
Healthy kids make healthy adults that are empowered to live active, productive lives.
Developing young people to become responsible citizens as adults and contribute positively in society. Provide opportunities so that every kid can play the sport of their choice and become more physically active and emotionally healthy.
Training responsible volunteers that make a difference in kid’s lives.
Create funding opportunities for your sports leagues so that no kid is ever denied an opportunity to play a sport.
This kind of clarity is powerful!
It enables the business owner to move from talking about themselves to identifying with and talking about the prospect and customer. Clarity through understanding the tangible values we offer our customers also helps us to gain clarity around our mission and purpose.
As I said in the introduction, In a real sense, marketing allows us to share how we make a difference in the world and it helps us discover our purpose and mission in life and business.
Your tangible values are the very heartbeat and center of your marketing world. They will guide, protect and help you establish a brand and an identity that your customers will come to know and experience you through.
You shouldn’t have more than four or five tangible values. If you have more than that you risk confusing your message and your brand; and you may be trying to do too much in your business.
Chapter 8 Discovering Who You Solve Problems For?
One of the exciting, more cost effective things about marketing on-line is that you not only can control your cost and attract a potentially larger audience; you can define who that audience “specifically” is.
This is called target marketing.
We have now defined the “real” problems that The Warehouse Academy solves and the tangible values that they offer through their training services for moving companies. We know that The Warehouse Academy trains moving companies, but it’s not that simple.
There all kinds of demographics for moving companies and the owners who started, built and run them. I wanted to know and I asked Chuck, who is your ideal client?
He was really specific and it came easy to him as we talked about identifying who he solved problems for:
Independently owned local residential moving companies.
Start-up independently owned local residential moving companies.
Moving companies that have already started but are in the infant stage.
Moving companies that see the value of training and education.
Moving companies that see and value saving and making money through an efficient, safe and trained workforce.
Do you think that a different problem exists for each target audience?
You bet there are and Chuck has to think about the context for each one and appropriately communicate to each one.
The next challenge was to ask Chuck; “What do you think they care about?”
His answer was they care about:
Providing great customer service.
Making lots of money and keeping as much of their money as possible.
Equipment that will be maintained and last a long time because it’s used properly.
Employees who are happy to work for a company that cares about them and their customers. Maintaining a positive reputation and image.
We have built incredible clarity and detail by defining:
What problems Chuck is passionate about
What problems does he “really” solve
Who does he “specifically” solve the problems for
Chapter 9 Becoming a Business of Purpose!
We are now ready to define the business The Warehouse Academy is “really” in. It took five full weeks of brainstorming, thinking, researching and struggling with an identity that Chuck could brand an entire company around.
Here is what we ultimately came up with:
The Warehouse Academy is in the business of inspiring locally owned independent moving companies to become the best, safest and most profitable moving companies in the industry. Becoming a business of purpose is no accident and neither is communicating it.
To move from a mass marketing mindset to a content marketing mindset is an exciting journey of discovering, learning and developing a passion like any you’ve had before.
Today Chuck has created a simple but powerful website that is resonating with his prospects and clients, has been on a highly target pod-cast with a title
““That’s Grandma’s Dresser.”
Now that’s a title that will grab the attention of his audience!
Chuck is someone who is reaping the rewards of making the transition from being confused by mass marketing to learning how to really resonate with his audience.
Chapter 10 Understanding the Difference Between Creating Good Content and Content That Has a Context for Powerful On-line Marketing
Now that you have defined your business and done the foundational work, what’s next?
You have to do something with what you have: Build a website Include a blog Meet new people on social media In my next book I will talk more specifically about how to market your website and blog.
For now, I want you to understand that while we’ve established that mass marketing does not work today, neither does just writing content for the sake of writing content. All that work you’ve done is now ready to go to work for you!
You hear it everywhere that “content is king” and that in order for your business to experience growth on-line you need to blog and add regular content to it. Today, that is only partially true. We all know that there is something very wrong if we will admit it to ourselves. There are more blogs than ever created every day and even more blogs that are created and after a short time companies stop blogging.
Why is this happening?
Why do businesses feel that they don’t understand blogging or believe after they start blogging it’s a waste of time and stop? In the past few months I have read hundreds of blog articles, sat in on a few Internet marketing webinars, and heard from several social media “experts” as they talked about how businesses can build their on-line presence.
Here is the summary of what they said:
Write a blog article as often as possible Tell them in the article what you do
Share it on social media after you post it
Update Google Webmaster Tools
Watch your analytics
I sure wish it were that easy! This is very simplistic. Let me ask you a question; how much time do you have as a business owner, executive, marketing professional or sales person to read articles and blogs that in no way interest or help you be better at what you do?
That’s what I thought!
The truth is that too many are being taught to use content marketing in a way that they themselves don’t even like to be marketed to. You don’t like to read things that don’t help you or you’re not interested in.
Yet how many of us are: Creating content that you would never read yourself if you weren’t the one who wrote it.
Sharing products and services on social media and yet you would never look at that or click the link.
Post things on a blogs and social media that when you see it from others you would be annoyed by the content clutter.
Here is the harsh reality. Contrary to what the overwhelming majority of people are teaching businesses; Content is no longer king! If content is no longer king, what is?
I propose that CONTEXT is the new king.
What do I mean by context?
What does that mean?
Your business exists for the sake of your customers.
Why do they buy from you?
What attracted them to you?
Why do they keep coming back?
There is a context for that.
When I was in graduate school I learned that a good dissertation required a lot of research, time, strategy and thought. So does blogging and social media. If you want new readers, site visitors, prospects and customers then you must talk to them and their needs; not about you and what you have to offer.
Chuck has already created his context.
He did the hard work and he laid his foundation for his business and his marketing.
It doesn’t matter what you have to offer or sell if a reader or prospect feels that it’s all about you just trying to sell them. Context changes the perspective and moves the content from being about you to being about them. It creates clarity and focus and enables you to execute your messaging. Context is the process of establishing competency. It’s the initial starting point where people decide if you understand them and can solve their problems.
Once you can answer the questions we’ve already talked about you have to take it one step further and plan:
What problems are you passionate about?
What problems do you “specifically” solve?
What tangible values do your products or services provide?
Who do you solve the problems for?
I’m not talking about a content calendar as a plan. Personally, I don’t have one because I meet with people so often that they share with me the problems they have in real conversations, blog comments and social media posts. I know I’m writing about real solutions to real issues for real people. Not a fabricated content calendar that traps me into a false sense of security.
You might be different than me and need one. I’m okay with that. But I want to teach people how to listen, hear, critically think and then put their words into a context that really helps people. That means each blog article and social media post has to have a context.
Writing content for the mere sake of writing content is only going to make your website look like you care more about yourself than those you want to serve and earn as customers or clients.
If you take the time to establish your context you will realize that you really are very different. You have unique passions, perspectives and a voice that attracts those to you who identify with you and needs you! Now let me ask you, do you prefer to just write content and blend in or learn your context so that you can stand out and attract the right crowd?
If so, you’re ready to make the shift from mass marketing to content marketing and you’re ready to do the hard work that will reap rewards for years and years to come!
Chapter 11 Marketing is Changing;
Are You Changing With It?
Mass marketing is alive and well and there is absolutely a time and place for it. But times are changing and so are our prospects and customers who many times live in a different world than we as business owners live in. Traditional mass marketing is still expensive, clunky and difficult to measure. It doesn’t speak to people or their problems and it just screams buy me, buy me, buy me. The Warehouse Academy has taught us that there is a better way to learn how to market. Yes, the work is at times hard and it’s always challenging, but the rewards are lasting.
When you know what business you are “really” in you have a guide and the means to message yourself consistently with authority, persuasion and inspiration. The Internet is transforming the way we interact and engage with prospects and customers and has truly transformed the way that businesses can interact with their prospects and customers. It has allowed for a two-way conversation that ultimately gives people a reason to buy our products or services over-and-over again.
It allows us to demonstrate that we are competent, confident and able to really help others instead of helping ourselves to just their wallets.
It’s a new marketing economy that is built on collaboration with:
But collaboration cannot happen and intentional business growth will not happen until you learn how the world really sees and defines your business. The biggest change in business history is that you as a business no longer get to dictate the terms. You may guide them but only your customers and the public can define them.
How do you guide them?
By learning the foundation of marketing through answering the questions:
1. What business am I “really” in?
2. What are the tangible values that my customers receive when they buy from me?
3. What problems do I “specifically” solve?
4. Who do I “specifically” solve them for?
5. How are my products or services “a” part of a solution?
No one knows your business like you do, but no one experiences it like your prospects and customers. If we are going to grow dynamic companies the days of talking about ourselves are over. It’s up to us to start talking the language of those who will buy our products and services. In doing so we are giving them a reason to buy and a reason to keep on buying.
It’s not important what you think, it’s important what they think. Allow me one example of a company that didn’t get it and one that did.
In the early 2000’s Blockbuster was a thriving company. You could walk into any Blockbuster store and rent the newest movies available for nearly $4 per night. There was virtually no competition and it seemed there was one on every street corner. In 2001 Blockbuster had more than 9,000 retail stores across America but by 2011 they were in bankruptcy
I can remember the first time I heard about Netflix.
This small little startup was offering a plan for under $10 per month where you could get up to 2 movie rentals at any one time through the mail. It was cheap, the service was fast, and there were no due dates.
According to an article in Variety.com, Blockbuster could have bought Netflix company for only $50 million dollars.
Marketwatch estimates that Netflix is worth $27 billion dollars with over 100 million subscribers. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-600-is-the-new-450-for-netflixsstock-2014-10-15)
Blockbuster didn’t know the business they were in nor did they care to keep up with the times or technology. Dish Network ultimately bought them out and then as early as 2013 closed all of their stores. Blockbuster’s failure was they refused to see the changing digital landscape and take it serious.
I ask you, how serious are you taking the Internet in your marketing?
Will you continue to market in ways that are no longer effective or are very cost prohibitive?
Mass marketing will always have a role to play, but it will be a smart role. The Internet allows you opportunities like no other tool in the history of the world just like the technologies that came before it.
Newspapers, flyers, radio, television, niche magazines… for over a hundred years technology has been changing the way businesses try to reach new audiences. Many businesses are struggling with the concepts of how to blog, what to write, when to post, how to use social media and when to email people.
There is a lot of energy being used to learn how to use the tools that exist to get your message out there. But your problem is not the tools. The problem more and more is that people are trying to take short cuts to make money as fast as possible through the Internet and businesses are finding out that it does not work that way.
Technology is a great thing if you know your business inside out and who serve and why you serve them. If you don’t know all the technology will do is expose you for who you are and for what you have not done.
If you don’t know your business, neither will those who discover your website through a search engine.
If you don’t know your business, neither will your prospects.
If you’re confused about your business, your audience will be as well!
It’s up to you to give people a reason to buy you!
Are you ready to make the shift from traditional mass marketing to putting yourself in your prospects and customers context?
Imagine if every one of your prospects felt that you understood them and cared about them genuinely just by reading your blog or a social media post.
Imagine if a prospect or customer understood exactly what you do and how you can make a difference for them in their lives or businesses.
If you take the time to learn how to message to your audience you can earn the opportunities that the Internet has waiting for you.
Will it be easy in the beginning?
But it will make you better for the long-term.
As this book illustrates, if you and your customers can answer the foundational questions about your business you have a distinct competitive advantage going for you. If you take the time to learn what business you are “really” in, you can change the world! That’s worth building a business around.
Select The Service That Fits You and Generate More Leads Today
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