Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: General Marketing (page 1 of 98)

A powerful business lesson from an absolute genius!

Warhol

The artwork above carries a massively valuable lesson. It explains one of the most important elements in the development of a successful business. Yes, it’s Andy Warhol’s masterpiece, Campbell’s Soup Cans.

Here’s the story!

When the collection was first exhibited in 1962, very few people attended. The exhibit was arranged by West Coast art dealer, Irving Blum. It was Warhol’s first solo exhibition. Those who attended the exhibition at the Ferus Gallery either made fun of the art, dismissed it or ignored it. Very little art was sold. It was a huge failure.

Blum decided to buy the Campbell’s Soup Cans canvasses. He paid Warhol $100 a month for 10 months. Just $1000. Though many believed it was $1000 more than they were worth.

Of course, despite his disastrous, first solo exhibition, Warhol refused to quit. He kept on creating his art. He also kept on hustling (getting his art in front of people), believing that if the right people saw it, they’d see it for what it was. Art that would change the landscape for ever.

Warhol hustled

He worked hard. Damn hard.

Instead of working from a studio like every other artist, he worked from what he called The Factory. This was a very deliberate strategy. He created as much art as he could and took every opportunity to showcase his work.

As you know, his belief and hustling finally paid off. Warhol became one of the most important names in art of the 20th century and his work is even more valued today.

Irving Blum’s $1000 investment in the Campbell’s Soup Cans, which people laughed at, was sold to New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1996 for $15MILLION.

This was seen partly as a gift from Irving Blum, as the art is valued at well over $100MILLION.

Warhol without the hustle?

Without hustling, there would have been no Andy Warhol. Certainly not the internationally respected artistic genius we know today.

  • Had Warhol decided to quit after his initial, disastrous exhibitions, a genius would never have flourished. At that time, he was being rejected by his peers and his work was being insulted.
  • Had Warhol created the same great art, but refused to work hard promoting it, both he and his art would have remained undiscovered.

Instead, Warhol hustled. Creating and promoting great art.

Business without the hustle

How many great business owners have worked hard without recognition, because they failed to promote their work correctly? How many business owners reading this post, are struggling financially because too few people know how amazing their products or services are? How many business owners are not putting their ideas into action, because they allow fear of failure or ridicule to stop them?

I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that some amazing people, providing great products and services, fail to get the rewards they deserve. Why? Because unlike Warhol (Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Walt Disney and every successful business in your area), they resist the hustle.

Instead of doing what’s required, they do 100% of the things they are comfortable with. They hate (yes, hate, not dislike) the idea of marketing their work correctly. They either fear investing in the help they need or they get expert help, but refuse to promote their business as enthusiastically as they should.

So they dabble. In one of the most competitive economies in living memory, they choose to dabble. I find that fascinating.

Embrace the work. ALL the work!

The alternative is simple. By simple, I mean anyone reading this can do it. Anyone reading this can turn an average business into a successful business or a successful business into an even more successful one.

So long as… you embrace all the work required in order to succeed.

This means changing things. You can’t improve without change. It also means giving your business 100% — working hard and working smart. Doing great work and proudly hustling the value you bring, so people get to see how amazing you and your business are.

You don’t need to waste time between now and the first day of January to make the commitment… to resolve to crush your old ways and replace them with something highly effective.

I know you can do it. I believe in you.

Your move!

Tell them what you stand for. Here’s why!

stand

When you communicate what your business stands for, something magical happens.

  1. A section of your marketplace, which believes strongly in the same things as you, will find themselves far more attracted to your business.
  2. Those who are strongly against what your business stands for, will look elsewhere for a provider.
  3. Plus, you will have successfully differentiated yourself from other providers in your industry, who struggle to get noticed at all.

The power of standing for something

By letting the marketplace know what matters most to you and your business, you attract the very people you will derive the most joy from working with. This will make the business of business massively more enjoyable. It will improve the quality of your work too, by default.

By driving those away, who disagree with what you stand for, you no longer have to endure the enormous emotional and financial drain of low value customers.

If you haven’t already done so, make a list of what you and your business stand for. Then, consider using a condensed version of it in your marketing.

It’s one of the fastest ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors, get noticed and attract the attention of the best customers.

Last few remaining

queue

Have you noticed what happens when the media report that something is about to be in short supply? Queues form. People stand in line, just so they can get it before it runs out.

Here’s the thing: Whether it’s fuel or the latest must have Christmas present, demand shoots through the roof as soon as people think they could miss out.

A great example of how powerful this can be, comes from Apple. There are long lines outside Apple stores every time they launch a new product. Why? Because their marketplace has been trained to understand that demand will outstrip supply. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Enough about Apple

More importantly, what limited availability product or service could you introduce to your customers?

The huge marketing problem that no one talks about

silence

I was in a coffee shop earlier, when a guy with a very obvious hairpiece came in. He had natural, thick brown hair around his ears, with a jet black wig on top. Of course, no one mentioned it to him. People just pointed and smirked when he wasn’t looking. Whether this chap needed the hairpiece for vanity or medical reasons, it’s entirely possible he has no idea that his wig is so poorly matched to his natural hair.

The same happens regularly in business. Allow me to explain.

Think about it

  • We go to a website to check out a potential service provider, find the site looks amateurish and decide not to consider them. We don’t then call them to let them know their site created such a bad impression.
  • We start reading a poorly written ad or marketing message and quickly discard it, because it’s crap. We don’t write to the company and tell them their content is terrible.

So, how do we determine if what we’re doing is working for us? Simple. We ignore the silence and instead, look at the results generated.

For example:

  • Your website or blog should be a 24 hour business generating machine. If it isn’t, it needs to be improved.
  • Your marketing messages should generate targeted sales or leads from your ideal profile of customer. If this isn’t happening, it needs to be improved.

Start counting

Don’t wait for someone to tell you your marketing is crap. Start counting!  Count the number of daily sales or sales leads your marketing generates. Measure your progress over the past 12 months. Look at your bank balance.

If you’re not satisfied, fix what’s broken. Don’t just accept bad results. Get some expert help and turn it around. Those who ignore the lesson here, leave money on the table every day. Worst of all, it’s 100% avoidable if you decide to do something about it.

Tip – If you found this interesting, you really should read: 4 Ways to attract more customers from your website.

How to crush the competition

crushed

Joe emailed me with a very direct and important question yesterday. Here it is, along with my answer.

Hi Jim. What’s the best way for me to crush my competitors?  I’m going to lose my business soon unless I turn things around and I’m sick of losing out to competitors that are no better than me!

I think crush is a strong word, but it certainly gets Joe’s point across.

Think about it.

  • You can outsmart your competitors. This means spotting or creating opportunities before they do.
  • You can out care your competitors. This means showing the marketplace that you care enormously about what matters to them.
  • Alternatively, you can out manoeuvre your competitors by doing both! By outsmarting them and out caring them, you leverage 2 enormously powerful strategies.

If someone turned up in your marketplace today with the out manoeuvre mindset, they would eventually attract many of the best quality clients or customers. They would crush the competition.

That someone… could be you! Yes, it requires a mindset adjustment, but the rewards can be huge. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

PS – Here’s some advice on how to compete and win against big businesses.

2 Powerful tips from marketing that stinks!

stinks

I’d like to share an example of shockingly bad  marketing with you today. In fact, you could say this marketing stinks! However, there are 2 great lessons to learn, which you can apply directly into your business.

Smelly marketing

I’ve used the same brand of deodorant for years. Recently, my brand wasn’t in stock, so I looked for another brand and noticed for the first time that they all claim to offer 48 hour protection.

Think about that for a moment.

Clearly, there are very few people who only shower or wash every 2 days; whose armpits remain unwashed for 48 hours. And if you’ve ever stood close to someone with such bad hygiene habits, you’ll know these people don’t buy deodorant! Sadly.

But that’s OK. The ridiculous 48 hour claim on the packaging has nothing to do with deodorant. It has everything to do with uncreative marketing.

Here’s how it happened

The marketing people behind one of the brands decided to use a bigger number on their product (48 instead of 24), to make it look more powerful.

The others followed suit. The number remains, even though it’s now totally meaningless. No one needs 48 hour protection and having that number no longer generates additional sales, because they all use it.

As a marketing tactic, it stinks. It fails on every level.

There are 2 useful lessons here

Firstly, if you want to make your product or service stand out from the competition, make it meaningfully different. Provide something that adds genuine value. Something your marketplace will get additional utility from.

Secondly, if you want to really stand out, get creative. Because the first deodorant brand with the ridiculous 48 hour claim simply moved the dial on the number, every competitor could follow suit almost instantly. Any competitive advantage would have quickly been lost. So choose something that is harder for others to copy and you will maintain your competitive advantage for far longer.

Avoid gimmicks

To consistently stand out from the crowd in a meaningful way, you need to continuously look for opportunities to make your product or service worth talking about. This requires creative thinking.

Yes, it’s easier to come up with a gimmick. Gimmicks require almost no creativity and anyone can copy them, which is why they’re of so little value.

Remember — the less creative your marketing is, the easier it is to copy and the less remarkable it will be.

How to earn massively more by solving better problems

Money

I want to talk to you today about money. Specifically, I’d like to share an idea with you about how to earn more money, lots more money, without you needing to work more hours.

Whilst aimed primarily at service providers, all business owners can benefit mightily from this idea.

How to earn more money

If you want to earn more money, the answer is pretty straightforward. You need to either:

  1. Work longer hours. The challenge here is that there are only so many working hours available to you. It doesn’t scale. This puts a low ceiling on your income.
  2. Solve better problems. A brain surgeon earns 2 thousand percent more than a strawberry picker, even though they work the same number of hours a day. Why? Because a brain surgeon solves a bigger, better problem than the fruit picker. The bigger the problem you solve, the greater the financial reward.

As most people reading this are already working long hours, I’d like you to consider the second option. I’d like you to think about working the same number of hours or even working fewer hours, but using those hours to provide greater value by solving better problems.

The opportunity right under your nose

Think about it: You have a lifetime of experiences. Thanks to the Internet, you have access to the combined intelligence of millions of people. You also have access to free, global digital communications. This opens up an incredible resource to you, unmatched at any point in history.

This is the golden age, which business owners have talked about for decades. Today, equipped with the right mindset, a laptop and an Internet connection, you can achieve things unthinkable in previous generations.

Now consider this: What does the average small business owner do with these amazing resources? They focus on solving the same low value problems, as they did a decade or more ago. Sure, they are able to get more done thanks to technology, but their competitors are all able to do the same, so it’s of no additional value to them.

More importantly, what are you going to do with all this potential?

That’s a great question for you to focus on.

  • Maybe you’re going to use technology to allow you to collaborate with new partners, so you can provide a better, more valuable service to your marketplace.
  • Perhaps you will take advantage of online learning, to increase your knowledge so you can solve bigger, more valuable problems.
  • You may decide to leverage tools like Skype and work with clients worldwide, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for you.
  • And you could decide to create some digital products, as many of my clients have, which you can earn additional streams of income from.

It starts with the decision to look for better problems to solve. When you do, the possibilities for you are pretty-much endless. It’s limited only by how far you are willing to go — how big the problem is, which you’re willing to solve.

All the help you need is out there. So, what are you waiting for?

How to stop The Blame Game from destroying your business

you

I spoke with a small business owner earlier, who was blaming his customers for the slowdown of his business. He went on to explain that his customers were fools for turning to other suppliers, who are a little less expensive than him.

He was wrong

Here’s the thing: Blaming your customers for the failure of your business, is like blaming your car for grinding to a halt, because you neglected to put fuel into it. The customers you attract, the amount they spend with you and their decision to recommend you via word of mouth… is all down to YOU.

As the owner of a business, you direct the path of the business.

  • You decide whether to adapt your business based on the economy or blame the economy for the failings of your business.
  • You decide whether you market your business professionally or rely on ineffective, DIY marketing.
  • You decide whether you give customers an experience that they want to tell their friends about, or an average experience.
  • You decide whether to invest in the expert help your business needs or invest in a nicer car / vacation / gadget.
  • You decide whether to sell based on price or sell based on value.

It’s YOU who decides. Always!

That’s what a business owner does. She makes decisions, which direct the course of her business. If she doesn’t like the direction her business is heading in, she adjusts her course.

To blame the marketplace, economy, weather, government, competition or anything else for the failings of your business makes no sense. Why? Because others with the same challenges, do what’s required and overcome them.

Excuses are easy to come up with. And that’s the problem. If you practice making excuses for long enough, your excuses will be so convincing that people, including you, start believing them!

The bottom line: It’s down to you.

Your move!

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