A three-step marketing ladder

Probably worth reviewing at your next marketing meeting (or every marketing meeting)... There's a three-step ladder:

Awareness

Education

Action

Awareness is when someone knows you exist. The knock-knock part of the knock-knock joke, the person who has another interest and trust to want to know more. 

Education is the story we tell, the transfer of information and emotion from us to the aware consumer. 

Action is the last step, but the only one that the CFO is measuring. If you sacrifice the first two steps to boost this one, you'll regret it.

       
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Sign your work

We expect authors, painters and singers to identify themselves, to sign the work they do.

And surgeons and lawyers as well.

What about managers, committee members, engineers and everyone else who makes something? Who made this policy? Who designed this menu? Who approved this project?

If you're not proud of it, don't ship it. If you are, sign your work and own the results. We'll know who to thank. If you work for a place where work goes unsigned (internally, in particular) it's worth asking why.

       
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The jobs only you can do

One of the milestones every entrepreneur passes is when she stops thinking of people she hires as expensive ("I could do that job for free") and starts thinking of them as cheap ("This frees me up to do something more profitable.")

When you get rid of every job you do that could be done by someone else, something needs to fill your time. And what you discover is that you're imagining growth, building partnerships, rethinking the enterprise (working on your business instead of in it, as the emyth guys would say). Right now, you don't even see those jobs, because you're busy doing things that feel efficient instead.

       
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A little more than a bushel, a little bit less

Marketing works best when the effort you put into it is a little more than you think you need and a lot more than the market expects from your project.

And projects work best when the amount you need to get done is a little less than the resources you have available.

Marketing rewards a taut system, a show of confidence, the ability to be where you need to be with a true story that works.

Projects reward slack, the ability to keep your schedule and your quality, to watch the critical path and to make smart decisions.

The common errors, then: Pick too big an arena for your marketing, and seem underwhelming. And pick too big an agenda for your project, and run out of slack.

You have a bushel basket. The generosity of overflowing it makes it much more appealing when it's on the shelf. But when your job is to transport those apples, overfilling it even a little makes it likely you won't get to where you're going.

Make unexpectedly big promises. Keep them. Show up with enough resources to do both.

       
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The tragedy of the last 10%

In a competitive market, if you do the work to lower your price by 10%, your market share grows.

If you dig in deep, analyze, reengineer and make thoughtful changes, you can lower your price another 10%. This leads to an even bigger jump in market share.

The third time (or maybe the fourth, or even before then), you only achieve a 10% savings by cutting safety, or quality, or reliability. You cut corners, certainly.

The last 10% costs your workers the chance to make a decent living, it costs your suppliers the opportunity to treat their people with dignity, and it costs you your reputation.

The last 10% isn't worth it. 

We're not going to remember how cheap you were. We're going to remember that you let us down.

       
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