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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 April 8, 2020

          11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

          11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

          We all know some overachievers: supermoms who manage to get online degrees between cleaning, cooking, and taking kids to practice; students who write 10-page papers when the directions call for 4; managers whose resumes look more like pages from the Guinness book of Records.

          How do they do it all? How is it possible that one person can graduate at the top of their class, found an orphanage in India, run 30k marathons, write a best-selling book, travel all over the world and learn to speak Mandarin Chinese while having a full-time job?

          What’s the secret of an overachiever? Here’re 11 things overachievers do differently that you can learn from.

          1. They Know How to Manage Their Time

          It’s pretty simple actually – you can never become an overachiever if you don’t know how to organize your time efficiently.

          The great thing is that overachievers are ready to share their knowledge and time management talent with the rest of the world. Read The 4-Hour Workweek or The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

          2. They Don’t Spend Hours Watching TV or Playing Computer Games

          Mostly because they have better things to do, like exercising, reading, spending an evening with their family or volunteering to work in the local soup kitchen. Their philosophy is simple – the world is full of wonderful things to try, explore and experience. Watching TV is not one of them.

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          3. They Are Obsessed With Perfection

          Imagine Steve Jobs’ work approach and you’ll understand the level of perfection and painfully high standards that overachievers set for themselves and those around them. Often it pays off (especially if they focus on just one domain). But sometimes compulsive over-striving turns into a sure-fire road to disappointments and unfinished tasks.

          Learn how to strike a balance: How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up

          4. They Know How To Inspire

          Overachievers learn quickly that it is much easier to achieve goals through collaboration (and especially delegation). So they know how to inspire, encourage, persuade and motivate people around them. Even though they often drive their team crazy with their stubbornness and perfectionism, people quickly follow under the spell of their enthusiasm and greater vision.

          Learn these 10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively.

          5. They Set Clear Goals

          The term “overachiever” itself implies that they know how to achieve goals. That is kind of hard to do if your goals are vague, unclear and lack specific deadline, which is why overachievers educate themselves, read goal-setting books, and think about the best way to approach a new task.

          Although, it’s worth mentioning that overachievers usually use their time management and goal-setting skills towards competitive, “I want to kick butt” type of goals rather than self-improvement, mastery goals.

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          Take a look at these tips to help you set clearer goals: What Are SMART Goals (And How to Use Them to Become Successful)

          6. They Are Organized

          It’s hard to imagine a disorganized overachiever, isn’t it? Their great organizational and planning skills usually serve three main purposes: keeping track of time, keeping track of progress and keeping track of achievements.

          This hasn’t been confirmed by scientific research yet, but overachievers might actually get a “runner’s high” from crossing tasks off their to-do lists, and making new to-do lists.

          Here’s How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

          7. They Try to Avoid Failure at All Costs

          Some psychologists believe that overachievers place their self-worth on their competence, driven by an underlying fear of failure. Rather than setting and striving for goals based on a pure desire to achieve, their core motivation becomes avoiding failure. This may explain the fact that overachiever beat themselves up for even little setbacks and seemingly-insignificant mistakes.

          But be aware that having a strong fear of failure can wrek havoc your productivity. So the best thing to do? Learn to conquer the fear: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

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          8. They Love Awards

          Who doesn’t love them, right? True enough, but unlike most people who like to feel acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts, overachievers are bent on collecting ‘awards’, be it university degrees, spelling bee prizes or unusual destinations.

          While loving awares isn’t bad, it’s even better if you’re driven by internal motivation instead of external ones which could be quite uncontrolable or unstable: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It).

          9. They Don’t Understand the Concept of Work Hours

          Don’t get surprised if you receive a work-related email anywhere between 8 p.m. and midnight. It’s something overachievers usually do and you weren’t the only one. At least 20 more emails have been sent during these hours to other people. The concepts of over-achieving and working overtime usually go hand in hand.

          The downside of this is an imbalnced life, which may need to problems in other aspects of life including health and relationships. A better way is to Achieve a Realistic Work Life Balance.

          10. They Rest

          Overachievers might often be labeled as “workaholics”, because they often ignore bodily signs of hunger, fatigue and even a full bladder, hoping to finish just one last little part. This doesn’t mean that overachievers don’t know how to disconnect and relax.

          True that they tend to work in the highest gear, but they also have enough sense to give themselves time to rest and recharge. Of course, they do it in their own overachieving way, preferring climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or hiking through the Amazon jungle to lazing on the beach.

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          11. Overachievers Continuously Educate Themselves

          A great quality that most overachievers have is the hunger for knowledge. They surround themselves with bright people. They know how to listen, and most importantly, they get tons of mentoring.

          Despite the fact that overachievers want to excel at everything they set their minds on, they are humble enough to admit that to get on top of their game, they need help. And they are willing to pay someone to push, coach and guide them.

          You too can learn How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

          More Tips to Help You Achieve Success

          Featured photo credit: Nghia Le via unsplash.com

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