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Archive | February, 2019

Why Stealing Magazines is a Good Thing

It used to be that when I went to the doctor, I would find my favorite magazine in the lobby and read it until the doctor was ready to see me. But this last time, I couldn’t find a single issue. I asked the lady at the desk about it, and she explained that the magazine was so popular, patients were taking it home, so the doctor stopped buying it.

Why Stealing Magazines is a Good Thing

Now there’s a business strategy I don’t recommend – find out what your customers want and then don’t give it to them…

Personally, I would have ordered more subscriptions, not less. Because not only do his patients like the magazine; it also keeps them occupied instead of watching the clock when the doctor is running late (and he is always running late.)

Many businesses do this – they find out what customers want and then don’t give it to them.

I used to have a restaurant I really liked, and one of the things I liked best was they would swap one side dish for another. Then one day they told me they couldn’t do it. It was too difficult to swap baked potato for French fries, or broccoli for green beans, even though they had all four in the kitchen.

I figured if they couldn’t swap sides to give me what I wanted, then I couldn’t eat there. And I don’t.

Another restaurant used to cook their ahi tuna all the way through if you asked. Then they got a new chef who insisted that patrons only eat food the way he liked to prepare it. In other words, I could eat raw tuna or I could go elsewhere. Now I go elsewhere.

The trick to a successful business is to truly understand what your customers want and then give it to them, and keep on giving it to them.

It’s not that difficult. Yet so many marketers and business people get this wrong.

And when in doubt, just ask. One time I was going to consolidate all of my courses into one big course and actually ship out a physical product, because I’d heard this was the thing to do.

But first I asked my customers how many thought they would buy it. The answer was, only about 1% would even consider it. Thank goodness I didn’t do it.

One last tip – develop your products or services based on what your customers really want, and not what they should want. Maybe your customers should want to learn how to do an easy task in their business, but they’d rather hand the task over to you to do.

Ok, so your customers have told you about another product they want to buy from you, and you can be obliged to sell it to them!

Giving customers what they actually want may be the greatest business secret of all.

Lying as a Short-Term Success Strategy

I’m going to try and NOT go on a rant here about how, “These days” no one in marketing is telling the truth, everything is exaggerated or an outright lie, lies of omission are so common they’re expected, and so forth.

Lying as a Short-Term Success Strategy

Okay, maybe that was my rant.

My point is, there are plenty of marketers out there streeeeeetching the truth until the truth is completely lost. And yes, these marketers often do experience short term success. If a person wanted to make money and run, this is the method they would use.

But they better keep running, because government agencies are getting a lot better at not only monitoring what happens online, but also apprehending and charging people when they out and out lie to customers.

In my opinion, a far better strategy is to look at the long picture and tell the truth.

Marketers and businesses who tell the truth might not make as much money up front, but in the long run their businesses will survive while so many others fail.

They’ll get recommended by their clients to other prospects. They’ll get more repeat business. And their proprietors can sleep at night, too.

“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.” – William Bernbach, cofounder of international advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), director of many breakthrough ad campaigns.

I don’t know when William said this quote, but I do know he died in 1982. Yes, truth has been scarce in advertising and marketing for a long time – perhaps as long as its been around.

Yet people want the truth. They crave the truth. And when they find someone who will tell them the truth, they will do one of two things: Either look elsewhere for the “quick fix,” and eventually come back to the person who told the truth, or recognize the truth as being what they need in the first place.

Either way, if you’re in it for the long term, the truth is the way to go.

Here’s a classic example: You teach people how to make money online. You tell them it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work. There is a learning curve. They’ll need to invest both time and money. They’ll make mistakes along the way and get discouraged, and that’s okay, because it’s part of the process. But if they stick with you, and they do the work, in a year’s time they’ll have a very real, viable business that replaces their current income.

Or, you tell them they will make a gazillion dollars by Tuesday with no work… But they don’t make a gazillion dollars, or whatever you promised them. And they’re mad. They want their money back.

Hopefully at that point you’ve pulled up stakes and you’re running (just kidding) or you still have their money and refund it (that’s the right answer.) And when they get their money back from you, where are they going next? To the person who told them this takes time, effort and money. Because that person told them the truth, and they realize that’s exactly what they need.

Look, I understand how tempting it is to stretch the truth, to lie by omission (yes, that is a lie when you don’t tell them something they need to know) or to make things “rosier” than they are. It’s all a part of marketing and advertising.

But should it be? Only you can decide.

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