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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 January 15, 2019

          How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

          How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

          Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

          In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

          Step right up, don’t be shy!

          Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

          The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

          Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

          Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
          So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

          A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

          Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

          Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

          When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

          Culturally Conditioned

          We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

          I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

          The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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          Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

          Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

          Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

          1. Broadens Your Network

          After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

          2. Improves Your Communication Skills

          I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

          Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

          3. Continually Learning

          So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

          Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

          4. Increases Self Confidence

          Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

          Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

          So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

          How to Talk to Strangers

          Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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          1. Say Hello

          Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

          Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

          Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

          2. Ask About Them

          Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

          You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

          As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

          3. Just Do It

          One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

          When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

          Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

          4. Don’t Take It Personal

          One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

          When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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          5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

          I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

          One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

          6. Detach

          A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

          Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

          7. Share Your Stories

          Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

          To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

          So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

          8. Give a Compliment

          Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

          When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

          9. Relax Your Body Language

          If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

          When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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          If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

          10. Practice, Practice, Practice

          Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

          Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

          After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

          The Bottom Line

          As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

          There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

          Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

          Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

          More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

          Reference

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