Seeking Clarity

I hear a lot of good ideas. (Yes, nearly everyone I meet I ask what they would work on if they had all the time and resources to make it happen.)

I see a lot of people quickly give up on their good ideas because when they communicated them, they didn’t communicate them clearly and got discouraged.

Certainly if you can’t communicate your idea, it’s not a good one, right?

You see where I’m going here.

We need to surround ourselves with people who don’t criticize our ideas, but point out the spaces which aren’t clear.

When people ask about your idea, (usually) they’re not trying to break you; they’re sharing their confusion with you.

When I ask a question to flush out someone’s idea and I know they can’t respond immediately, I say, “you don’t need to respond right now. Think about it differently and get back to me later.” Sadly, few understand clarity is something figured out over time.

For now, know you have permission to go back to the drawing board, you have permission to suck, you have permission to think about it a bit more.

For great (not just good!) ideas follow these steps:

1) share your ideas

2) listen to people’s confusion so you know what you need to clarify

3) break. think about things differently

4) share your idea again

5) repeat steps 2-5


Stay Positive & Please Don’t Get Held Up On Step 1

More Choice, Easier Choosing

There’s a reason Baskin Robins only sells 31 flavors. It seems to be just enough choice to choose what you want. (Truthfully, just enough to choose two scoops. If they wanted you to only buy one scoop of iscream, perhaps they would offer only 16 flavors.)

If Baskin’ Robins were to sell 248 flavors. That would be overwhelming. You wouldn’t feel content without leaving with 8 scoops of different iscream.

The tipping point in making a choice easy is seeing the larger picture. When you notice that you’ve already chosen Baskin Robins over the other nine or so iscream venues in the area, it takes some of the stress away of choosing what’s in front of you.

When you notice you’re having iscream in the town of Rockford when you could be anywhere in the world getting iscream, the pressure of choosing an iscream flavor lessens again.

As it goes with all choices (e.g. to date this girl or not, to buy a new water softener or not, to stress about finding a job or not), when we see the bigger picture, when we take a moment to recognize all the opportunities and options we have instead of just the ones in front of us, choosing becomes easier.

So it goes, the marketer’s intention ought to focus on sharing perspectives, getting people to see all the choices, the angels, and the bigger picture. In doing so, the buyer can understand more, see their choice isn’t as stressful as they thought; in the grand scheme of things, this purchase won’t impact you as much as you’re telling yourself it is.

As Ohara Hale said, “The more you can understand, the more you can love, the more compassion you have, and in a world of compassion, will you find peace.”

Marketers call that brand devotion.


Stay Positive & It All Starts With Broadening The View Of Potential Leads

Keeping Sane

  • Not everyone needs to approve of your work.
  • The “good” in a good idea comes from having passion, not from the actual idea.
  • You’re told to ask good questions, “can you help me?” is the best one.
  • Always have something fun planned two weeks in advance.
  • You’re enough.

It’s easy to go insane when your work load gets heavy. It’s hard to implement the habits above. You know how I feel about easy vs. hard.


Stay Positive & It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It

Episode 12: Startups, Rewards Points, Staying Humble And More

Episode 12: Startups, Rewards Points, Staying Humble And More

On this episode of In The Box Podcast, we talked about the state of things like everyone wanting to start a business, the continuous rise of rent, and if rewards points are better than cash back.

We lightened things up when chatting about why it’s hard to change our minds, how we can stay humble and embrace humility, and discovering our own balance.

Subscribe if you haven’t already, and enjoy.

Episode 12: Startups, Rewards Points, Staying Humble And More

Startups – Does it feel like everyone wants to start their own business?

Rent – Despite a ton of housing going up in Madison, why has the price of rent continued to go up?

Rewards Points – what are the advantages of having a credit card with reward points as opposed to cash back?

Change your mind – Why is it so hard to change a mind?

Staying humble – What does humble and humility mean to you? (How can we be more of each)

Input vs Output – How does one know when its time to focus on output vs. input? (should they be balanced?)


Stay Positive & How Do You Balance?

Outside Of Experience

Marketing anything outside of your own experience puts you at a disadvantage.

Working with a non-profit? Go on site. Field some calls. Go to the country you’re trying to provide water for.

Working for Chobani? You better have had some, shared some with a friend, and tested all the flavors. Not having done so sets you way back in understanding the buyer persona.

Marketing is as much about experiencing new things yourself as it is getting others to.

One of the most frustrating things growing up is when I would talk about a particular movie with a  friend and that friend would try to converse with me about it without ever seeing it themselves. Is that how you want to fuel your marketing?


Stay Positive & Become The Persona

Dancing Personas

Personas are built, not bred.

Marketers establish their buyers’ persona to give them direction on how to communicate.

Kids establish their everything is silly and cute persona to get out of spilling the cup of juice you gave them in the pool.

I’ve established this persona of allowing myself to be vulnerable so it makes it easier to ship something each day.

Personas are incredibly interesting because they are ever-changing, always dancing. We, as marketers and as people, have the ability to influence the persona of others, but we’re also forced to update our persona when it doesn’t work anymore.

Leaving direct mail on the doorway handles of people’s homes used to work for a construction business. It fit their buyer’s persona…until it didn’t. Same with the kid and his juice. Silly and cute only works for so long. And it will be interesting to see if being vulnerable ever stops working for me. (I assume it will once it becomes constantly expected.)

While no persona lasts forever, we have a say in the longevity of it for ourselves and others.

I have a young friend who you would think is an old man by how much he aches, complains, and doesn’t care what comes out of his mouth. Not to mention how slow he drives. Since his friends (including myself) always call him a geezer and point out all the things that make him an old man, he continues to fill the shoes of that persona.

Michael and I chatted about this phenomena on our podcast (episode 9) when discussing why people become referees. Since recognizing my influence, I’ve started pointing out all the things that make my friend young and I holler at those who feed his old man persona.

Personas are simply a new name for category, and humans are naturally categorical in thinking, in acting, in deciding to buy product X or product Z, but they don’t often realize it.

Being the best you, making a positive impact on others, and crafting the greatest marketing message is almost all rooted in your understanding of the personas of those you’re engaging with as well as yourself.


Stay Positive & Now You Know, Leverage It

Who Decided This?

When someone walks through your agency, reviews your strategy plan, considers purchasing your product, can they answer this question?

Do they know who decided to have yellow lights instead of white lights in the chandelier? Do they know who decided to pitch magazine publications instead of Television news outlets?

Next, is that person accessible?

Ignorance is more rooted in not having a pathway for feedback to the person who made the decision than it is them not caring in the first place.

One of my colleagues sets the work flow up perfectly for the team. She says, “Garth, I want you to own this.” If anything were to go wrong, everyone knows who decided it and they have my contact info.

On the other hand, when I go to the bathroom and see the toilet paper isn’t on the right way or when I walk to the bank and I try pushing the door open when it’s meant to be pulled, who can I talk to about that?


In a world packed with designers and decision makers, are you making it clear to the customer, the viewer, the attendee, the visitor who decided X or Y or Z?


Stay Positive & Communicate Who Owns It And How To Reach Them