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Why All the Best Marketers Know Each Other

Why All the Best Marketers Know Each Other

Perfect Reverse Psychology Marketing by docpi.

    Photo by docpi

    First, the title’s meant a touch colloquially. Second, that doesn’t budge the fact there’s a lot of truth to it. Third, if you’re into lifehacks (presumably that’s why you’re reading this blog), particularly marketing ones, I’ll reveal why the best marketers knowing each other matters to you.

    There’s no shortage of self-help books that claim to help you get what you want. Some of them drown in quackery and kooky pseudoscience (like The Secret), while others are about practical applications which are rational and empirically demonstrable through results which can be measured — the scientific process. Suffice to say, join me for a fun thought experiment. answer these 3 questions without second-guessing yourself:

    1. Name a famous painting in a museum?
    2. Name a wild-haired scientific genius?
    3. Name a marketer with a popular blog?

    Alright…

    You have nothing to be ashamed of if you answered the Mona Lisa and Einstein for #1 and #2. #3 isn’t as ubiquitously defined, but if you’re knowledgeable, I’m betting it’s someone hugely influential, like Seth Godin or Guy Kawasaki. They’re supernodes in the marketing world.

    Here’s where things get fun: click-through and learn a bit more about Seth and Guy if you don’t already know them (I’ve done my part promoting them to prove a point), and let’s continue on…

    Torley’s epiphany can be yours for free!

    Over the past stretch of months, I’ve read over two dozen of the top books on lifestyle improvement focused on marketing. “Top” defined as in sales, popularity, and positive reviews, which I mostly deduced from Amazon.com. The best ones have earnest, obvious, time-tested principles wrapped in layers of delicious eclecticism. Or as I like to say, Stats & Stories (S&S). They cover overlapping areas from different angles, like sitting around a sculpture with friends. Some are more marketing-oriented from a business perspective, others talk about marketing yourself (as a personal brand), but all are part of a Venn diagram that talks about the dynamics between work and play.

    Some books use very structured systems (like Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid, which I’m in the middle of now). Others are freeform and have sections, but are told in a story form (such as Tim Sanders’ Love Is the Killer App). And in every single one of them, you can expect the same fellow authors to come up time and time again.

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    At this moment, a skeptic might growl:

    “They’re rehashing the same material over and over to sell more books! They’re all buddies and they sure know how to milk the marketplace!”

    to which I say,

    “Yes, but how does any of that lessen their success as a marketer?”

    Lest you think I abstract too copiously, I shall drill down.

    As Seth and others point out themselves, you’re not going to remember an ad (meant loosely) unless you see it multiple times. And each subsequent viewing/impression may get you closer to buying the product/service. Furthermore, many ideas are obvious as water is wet — one of the biggest is “being likeable will make you more popular!” — but obvious ideas and goals are nothing next to executing them with excellence.

    To the “buddies” point, yes, it’s clear many of these authors are friends. Even across generations. But they aren’t the same people, and it’s intriguing to spot the differences in their philosophies, specifically how they suggest you make progress. For example, Jay Conrad Levinson, aka “the father of guerilla marketing”, is from an earlier generation than Seth Godin, and he advises being resourceful about TV ads — something which Seth is generally seen to be against, since it’s not part of his permission marketing (ads which are personal, relevant, and anticipated) ethos. Nevertheless, they’ve collaborated, and the guerilla marketing brand has led to dozens of spin-offs in its own right. Seth’s “ideavirus” ideologies can be seen as descendent strains of Jay’s earlier memes.

    I’m getting to the point

    You can make a game out of seeing how many times some of these marketers namedrop each other from cover to cover. Or look for forewords & afterwords. That doesn’t invalidate them, it only reinforces “OH MY GOSH, THEY’RE PRACTICING WHAT THEY PREACH!” insofar as marketing themselves.

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    For instance, Michael Port mentions both Seth Godin and Jay Conrad Levinson in Book Yourself Solid. Oh, and Tim Sanders too. (Pay attention to chronology.)

    Not only did Seth Godin do the foreword of Andy Sernovitz’s Word of Mouth Marketing, you should also be aware Guy Kawasaki did the afterword. As I joked to my wife, it’s like Andy’s sandwiched between two great gurus! Which lends him credibility and boosts his profile, and no doubt accomplishes the word of mouth purposes he writes so enthusiastically about. Certainly, they hold similar beliefs to be true, too — no one introduces a text without approving of what’s to come.

    Naturally, Guy Kawasaki did the foreword for Rohit Bhargava’s Personality Not Included, and since I have no end of examples, I’ll leave it there.

    Now —

    Uplifting each other by energizing an ongoing, positive connection is the key reason why all the best marketers know each other. Obvious, yes. True, even moreso. Recursive, recursive. But did you ever notice this so acutely before?

    *string cue plays*

    So, that’s the point of this post. But if you’re intrigued in what else I’ve observed, I’ve got more gems to share:

    Marketers who talk about social networking are even more impressive when they repeatedly show off publicly, like how “I make money showing you how to make money” John Chow recently photographed himself with Tim Ferriss (#1 self-promoter, Wired sez) and… YOU GUESSED IT… Guy Kawasaki.

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    Guy Kawasaki and John Chow by marketleverage.

      Photo by marketleverage

      Really, the best marketers are all connected. And if you rise up the ranks, you’ll be too.

      That is actually a blunt barometer of your success as a marketer.

      (Not accomplishing this would be hypocritical. Think about it.)

      Amazon.com, save us!

      Ever use the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature on Amazon.com? You’ll see many “clumps” of the same books. Sometimes even package deals. And often, they get associated in search due to name value alone; there are numerous times when a foreword/afterword author gets the same lead billing in Amazon’s formatting as the main author. Why, I don’t know. (Can I hypothesize “Marquee marketing?”)

      That leads to the unequal growth where certain titles carry more “gravity”, and the further up the charts the go, the more they self-perpetuate and are bought. People look at a Top 10 list and they buy #1 more than they think about how it got there. That distribution curve relates to the Pareto “80/20” Principle, which — as you could’ve predicted — was emphasized by Tim Ferriss as a way of focusing on the very best stuff while “cultivating selective ignorance” (I love that phrase) about the rest.

      The same examples, over and over

      When you get to be an old hand at this like me, there’s only so many times you can see Steve Jobs and Apple’s design cited as an anecdote. Yes, brilliant marketing. Yes, being #1 like that with a devoted cult will get you repeatedly cited. Pudding, meet more proof! Speaking of food, this applies whether it’s the “Don’t eat iPod Shuffle” as a remarkable (Seth’s fave-word) form of “personality marketing” (cited by Rohit), his success despite not graduating from college, or any one of a number of Steve’s most excellent triumphs over adversity.

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      Do not eat iPod shuffle by re-ality.

        Photo by re-ality

        Speaking of more food, Krispy Kreme has often been used as a company that stands apart and how the opening of a new franchise attracted crowds, but more recently, they tend to be brought up as an example of “losing your way”, with decline in profits used to illustrate this (I don’t know which caused what).

        If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about re: repetitious examples, if you read the top marketing books, you will, soon enough.

        Get me right (which is more positive than “don’t get me wrong”): repeatedly using the same story across multiple tomes by different people makes it no less valid. But what I’ve learned from this is, empowered by those examples, I search for new ones in my life. Only ones I’ve experienced can be spoken of with such conviction. For example, the exceptional customer service I’ve experienced at the professional-yet-humorous hands of DreamHost, Wufoo, and Lijit — each & all of them encouraging me to spread the word (without explicitly doing so) with their delightful personal care.

        But, beware of ideological incest

        A lot of these books — and I generalize — are inspiring. However, I’m starting to feel diminishing returns. I’ve observed many copycat and derivative books about social media crop up, with far less punch and potency than the originals. Too many established ideas rehashed with no new insights. I desire new ideas + successful execution which keep invigorating me, and you should too.

        And to riff off of Seth Godin, some marketers really are liars. In the worst way. This post isn’t about them at all. Nor is it about about superficial interaction and glib blurbs exchanged which have 0 impact on our lives when it comes time for us to die. It is about connecting with other likeminded marketers and promoting what you stand for, while simultaneously emphasizing how you can benefit others through consensual exchanges — knowledge, money, action figures, etc.

        Torley gets Seth Godin action figure at Archie McPhee by you.

          Ah, I haven’t explained “ideological incest” yet: it’s when ideas inbreed too much without anything new entering the meme pool. Some say this happens in an echo chamber. They have redundant mutations which render them stagnant, then unhealthy, then degenerative, and ultimately, crippling. Luddites suffer from advanced stages of ideological incest, as do political polemicists who engage in too much wordslinging and not enough changebeing.

          The best marketers have immunized themselves against such a plague of mindjunk, and in knowing each other, just as I’ve said, are able to share common unity, while injecting divergent life experiences into each other. This keeps the diverse discussion going with the strength of focus, generates multiple possibilities for followup, and perhaps most earnestly, wards off anti-spam and corporate drone-ness by establishing that marketing can be humorous and human.

          It’s true that a lot of popular marketing, and in a broader sense, ideas are fresh views on conventional wisdom that’s oft-quoted but little-changed: Dustin Wax’s declaration that “People LOVE change” when it comes to leading change is a great inhouse example. Nevertheless, it’s important that beyond judging whether something “sounds good” at surface level, to test ideas, you must actually apply them to your life. The results, both what you feel inside and external measurements — such as metrics, people sharing personal testimonials — will tell you whether they hold validity or not.

          Are you passionate about self-promotion & marketing? What eclectic insights do you have which you feel others haven’t noticed? Share them with me in the comments! :D

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          Last Updated on March 14, 2019

          7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

          7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

          Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

          For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

          Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

          1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

          A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

          It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

          It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

          How it helps you:

          If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

          Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

          2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

          Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

          Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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          How it helps you:

          Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

          Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

          If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

          Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

          3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

          Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

          Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

          How it helps you:

          This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

          For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

          Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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          A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

          4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

          To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

          A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

          How it helps you:

          One word: hierarchy.

          All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

          In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

          If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

          5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

          Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

          Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

          How it helps you:

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          Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

          If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

          This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

          6. What do you like about working here?

          This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

          Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

          How it helps you:

          You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

          Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

          Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

          7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

          What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

          As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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          How it helps you:

          What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

          First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

          Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

          Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

          Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

          Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

          Making Your Interview Work for You

          Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

          Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

          More Resources About Job Interviews

          Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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