Where’s The Tension?

Build The Tension

The point of marketing is to create change.

Change that concludes with someone purchasing your something, that is.

But change is peculiar. Not only do most people fear it, there’s a lot of tension around it.

It’s that tension that both the marketer and the marketed to have to overcome.

It’s that tension that helps the marketer decide how to tell a story and the marketed to to incorporate it into the narrative they are telling themselves.

It’s that tension that will either build or break the marketed to’s trust in the marketer and it’s that tension that forces so many marketers to play it safe, to under-promise and over-deliver instead of simply promising the marketed to something and keeping that promise.

What’s the tension the customer is feeling between where they are now and where they could be with your product or service? And do they know you feel the tension to? You do, right?


Stay Positive & Find The Tension

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The Narrative At Large

Narrative At Large

WholeFoods does have products that are less expensive than its competitors.

Zappos does have some customers who have had a frustrating return experience.

And good ol’ Zig Ziglar did have days that he gave up, stayed in bed and didn’t sell.

All of these experiences, though, we don’t see because of the narrative at large.

WholeFoods is perceived as expensive, so we’re more likely to notice all the products that are.

We read all the heartwarming return stories of Zappos and we listen to hours and hours of Zig Ziglar being the Zig Ziglar that we know and love because those are the narratives we tell ourselves are true.

It’s worth noting that the narratives for each brand were designed, formulaic and intentional.

The crux of creating a larger narrative is by surprising and delighting, but even more so by simply and forwardly connecting with someone to create a memorable (and by extension, often sharable) experience. And to do so, we must be intentional.

You’re not given a narrative at large, you earn it through providing a specific remarkable value, consistently.


Stay Positive & What’s Your Narrative Again?

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Expected To Succeed

Best Friends

Here’s a quick gauge on whether you’re investing in a valuable friendship or not.

If you tell them you want to own a company, be prom king, start a magazine or become a major celebrity in your passion-industry, how do they react?

If they expect you to succeed, if they hold you to your lofty goal, if they support the idea; then it’s worth keeping them close.

Anything short of that, though, find better friends.


Stay Positive & Remember, It’s A Two-Way Street

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When You Show Up Early

Showing Up Early

It was six years ago that I first wrote about the benefits of showing up early.

Six years later, I could write about 1,000 more experiences where I’ve benefited from showing up early.

I’ve connected with remarkable people. I’ve been able to focus on the work that matters. I’ve saved time by not having to wait in line. The list goes on.

Let this be a six-year-later reminder that great things happen when you show up early.


Stay Positive & Don’t Even Get Me Started On Staying Late

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Do Better Work … Or Else

Better Work ... Or Else

You can choose to do better work, bring the best version of yourself to the table, and differentiate your ideas from the competition rather than duplicate them.

By no means am I saying that choice is an easy one.

For those who find it difficult, you can do better work by forcing yourself.

There’s nothing like inviting your boss into the review or the client to your work session or an organization member to your brainstorm session to really force you to bring your A game.

Remember, Ringo (out of his control) had a session musician sit in his first recording because the producer didn’t trust he had the skill. Despite the likelihood of Ringo still impressing the team, he had a situation where he had to bring his best work … or else.

What’s your or else setting?


Stay Positive & Do Better Work

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One Thing To Say

Your One Thing

If you had to tell someone just one thing about your business, what would it be?

To answer that question, you need to know why you matter and know what matters to the person you’re saying it to.

When you have those aligned, well, it’s a match made in heaven as they say.

If you don’t have those aligned, however, don’t say anything until you do. Listen and reflect instead.

The best part when you nail it: They’ll tell people like them your one thing and those people will tell others like them your one thing, and, before you know it, a tribe’s at your door.


Stay Positive & What’s Your One Thing

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Communications Or Marketing

Tactical Communications

It will only help to draw a line between tactics you’re performing that are marketing and promotions tactics and what are communication tactics.

Marketing and promotions might be a way to get someone in the door, buy more or come back again. It can be good design, a cozy atmosphere, exceptional service and surprise and delighting. It might be a Buy One Get One deal or it might be a free gift bag with each purchase.

All can be effective marketing tactics if(!) the message is heard.

The challenge here then is to draw a line between what’s marketing and what’s communications.

Pitching your business deals to the city and neighborhood papers is a communication tactic. So is using social media, sending out a weekly newsletter and direct mail. Getting involved in trade groups is another great communication tactic.

By all means, you’re meant to blend communication tactics with marketing tactics, but know the formula you’re trying to use. Too many businesses have a well designed product at a discount and wonder why no one is coming in to buy it.


Stay Positive & If A Promotion Happens In The Forest And No One Is There To Hear It …

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