Mindset Episode 7 Marketing

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I stood in a store deep in the Navajo Nation. On the counter was salve made from different local plants for everything from arthritis, colds and flus and burns. Because I have no awareness at all of racial divides or tension, I asked the man behind the counter a question.

“Who buys the salve?”

The man looked at me, curious for a moment until I said, “This is for white people who visit isn’t it? Natives don’t buy the salve do they?”

He smiled, glanced at me then looked at the man standing behind me. He was a tall native man, holding a bottle of Robitussin.

The story that we wrap a product or service in, is what we buy, not the product or service. Let me explain. No one buys transportation. They buy Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Hybrids or motorcycles because of what those vehicles say about them. I typically stay in Hiltons, but when my friend booked us a room at a best western I cringed. It was a great hotel, as good as the Hiltons where I normally stay, but I still stay at Hiltons because I like what the name stands for, and I have a sizable amount of points, but that is another story.

First off, you have to market. If it means a $100k marketing blitz or sending an email to your tiny list, you have to market. But before you market, you have to know who you are marketing to and what story they are telling themselves about what they are buying. Do they want to tell their friends how much money they saved or how much money they spent? Do they talk about quality, weight, MPG or HP? Sell the details of the product. No car dealer says, my car will start in the morning and get you to work!

They sell the details.


Manoj Bhargava was a monk. He doesn’t like to talk about it but it’s one of the most intriguing things about him. The others, he is a billionaire and developer of 5 Hour Energy. Manoj looked at the world of energy drinks and asked,

“If I’m tired, why am a thirsty too?”

He understood that the energy drink market was selling two things, energy and a drink together. He knew that some people were buying this stuff, not because they wanted a soda, but because they were tired. He also knew that a healthier version of the drinks would sell in stores like GNC, where the 20 oz sugar filled drinks wouldn’t.

So he sold just the energy, in only health and fitness stores, to start.

Manoj is credited with being a business genius, a monk, a philanthropist, and an all-around good guy. But, what he did was actually very simple. He will tell you this himself, he found a detail, (energy) that one group of people were already buying like crazy, and he marked it to a different group of people (health fanatics), who wanted the same detail. He wrapped the same thing in a different package and now his net worth is 4 billion.

This leads to traffic vs conversions conundrum.  Number of views or traffic does not equal sales. Manoj knew better than to start in Wal-Mart, even though the traffic was much better there than in the small health supplement stores where he started. He put his product, not were people would see it, but where people would buy it!

When you are marketing, buy conversions, not traffic. Your marketing needs to connect with your audience when and where they are thinking about the problem you solve. If you audience reads Techcrunch, don’t advertise in Field and Stream.

I know that sounds silly but the next time you sit at a table in a cheap restaurant and see the ads glued in the table, look closely at them. You will see realtors, and wedding gown dealers and auto mechanics and sporting goods stores. What you never see, which is the only logical ad, is an ad for desert.

That is what I am thinking of at dinner but the restaurant doesn’t want someone else to advertise desert because they want to sell you desert. It’s a horrible advertising option that sells out everywhere because it is sold on the premise of how many people see it, not how many people convert.

Marketing does not have to feel bad. In fact good marketing feels great, which is why I brought on Grant Baldwin for the interview in this episode.

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