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  • The most important thing about marketing
    • The most important thing about marketing
      • intro- how I think everyone is fucking dumb and talks stupid shit that doesn’t matter (say it nicely)
        • I have a confession to make, and one I’ve been nervous and anxious to talk about, because the most likely outcome is that I’m wrong. But I still haven’t shaken this intuition after years, so I figure I’ll just come out and say it, and then deal with the consequences:
          • I think most people have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about when they’re talking about marketing. I read a lot of blogposts, even things by really good writers, and I feel like everyone tends to focus on the details. On how to arrange deckchairs on a cruise ship when we haven’t yet talked very much about how to build boats, and how to make sure that ships don’t sink.
          • I think we interview success stories, and they just list out what they’ve done- and the implication is that if they’re successful, whatever they did must have gotten them successful. I think of this as the Spray Tan Fallacy- if all bodybuilders have great spray tans, will getting a great spray tan make you look more like a bodybuilder?
          • Yet somehow we feel like- oh, if those guys did those marketing tactics, they must be right. They must know what they’re doing. But that’s not necessarily true! The only thing that matters is product market fit.
          • There are a few people I’ve read who make sense about this to me. Seth Godin approaches it from a nudgey perspective. He doesn’t try to tell you what to do, he tells you to seek out what is most compelling, what is most remarkable, what is most important. Some people describe this as flakey, but fuck it. It is what it is.
      • product/market fit.
        • Marc Andreessen wrote an essay once about Product/Market fit. Businesses that successfully reach… https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/marc-andreessen-product-market-fit-startups-marc-andreessen
        • there are a few people who seem to make sense about this- marc andreessen talked about product/market fit. when you have product market fit the market pulls the product out of the team, there’s feedback, etc
        • engineers/innovators/creators/designers, they focus on innovating the product. marketers, we focus on making sense of the market. understanding what people want
      • understanding what people want- what does that mean?
        • the most critical part is identifying the internal, intrinsic motivations that people have
        • “if I asked ppl what they want, they say they want faster horses”- well- what they want is to go across the state as quickly as possible
        • why do they want to do that? maybe they’re speed demons. they want to feel powerful. maybe they’re explorers, they want to see more of the world. or maybe they’re hungry for connection, and they want to cover distances to connect with other people.
      • that’s the highest order bit. the critical insight that dramatically influences everything else you do. every perfect-length blogpost with clickbaity headline. every perfectly-scheduled tweet. every piece of marketing collateral.
        • it’s good and important for marketers to have all these tools in their toolkits- but the marketers that win big are those who figure out what those tools are actually supposed to be used FOR. Why are you building that computer? Why are you building that camera? (GoPro vs Contour)
      • and ultimately, when you fucking zoom all the way out, marketing is about helping people creating pleasure and utility in our brief, desolate existence (lol)
      • part of the ills and sins of marketing in the old days was when we directed this towards things that harmed us in the long run
        • cigarettes, unsustainable consumerism, unhealthy foods, etc’
      • but the job of the marketer is to listen, to pay attention, to see where people are trying to go and then help them get there faster, better. to create meaning where there previously didn’t seem to be any.
      • so some test conclusions/insight to work backwards from:
      • Conclusion: the most important thing about marketing is figuring out Why. What makes people do what they do. What would give people pleasure, relief, respite.
        • the most important thing about marketing is helping people get more precise about what they want’
      • we don’t buy what we need. we buy what we want. but we aren’t super clear about what we want. we know what we want when we see it, but most of us are too busy, too tired, etc to sit down and figure out for ourselves what we want. (This is an excellent exercise, by the way, which everybody really ought to do.)
      • when we figure out what we want, the next step is to figure out what we need to do to get there. but that’s relatively trivial, in my opinion. if you do nothing else as a marketer, you should figure out why. and the rest almost takes care of itself. (Almost. Actually it’s a ton of work. But if we don’t figure out why, we’re chipping away randomly in random places at random things and the net result is mediocre.)
      • I would love it if we preceded all our conversations about marketing with why. I work for X company- why? Why does the company exist?
    • What is the most critical, important thing about marketing? About customer acquisition, about building a brand? There are all these books to read. there are all these blogposts. all these case studies. I have 100s of case studies, dozens of books. I’ve been doing marketing for a couple of years. What’s The Most Important Thing?
      • I googled “The Most Important Thing About Marketing”-
        • 8 things- nope, nada.
        • How To Show Undeniable Proof
    • The most important thing is aligning yourself and your offering with the intrinsic motivations of your customer. Of somebody. Anybody.
    • There is an old saying in marketing: A great product will sell even if the promotion is poor, but a great promotion cannot sell a bad product. It isn’t always true, but the fact remains that the most important factor in marketing is whether your product is a good fit with the needs, concerns, and desires of your customers.
    • Examples
      • What did GoPro get right that Contour get wrong? Marketing.
      • What does Coke do better than Pepsi? Marketing. Santa Claus wears red, damnit. http://60secondmarketer.com/60SecondArticles/Branding/index.html People look at a coca cola truck and think Christmas. Coke belongs in a museum, but somehow not Pepsi. http://adage.com/article/news/pepsi-tackles-identity-crisis/234586/ Why do people drink sugary drinks? (lol). I’d like to buy the world a coke. Coke is about sharing precious moments together, about celebrating an occasion, about relief on a hot day, about connection. What is Pepsi about?
    • There are several scales of marketing, so it’s actually pretty disingenous and unfair to talk about marketing as if it’s one big homogenous thing. Marketing a startup is different from marketing a publicly-listed company. It’s literally a completely different game. Ants have to worry about surface tension, elephants have to worry about gravity. Entirely different concerns.
    • How do we get people to think or talk about referral marketing?
    • “if I asked ppl what they want, they say they want faster horses”- well- what they want is to go across the state as quickly as possible (reference the intercom.io post)
      • why do they want to do that? maybe they’re speed demons. they want to feel powerful. maybe they’re explorers, they want to see more of the world. or maybe they’re hungry for connection, and they want to cover distances to connect with other people.
    • Steve Jobs- “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back to the technology – not the other way around.” – See more at: http://blog.topohq.com/buying-experience-important-thing-sales-marketing/#sthash.JMcvzMDO.dpuf
    • UserOnboard- what superpowers will your product give people? Once you figure that out, I think you have to figure out- what are the fundamental human things that we care about? And
    • similar
      • http://www.earlytorise.com/the-most-important-part-of-marketing/
      • http://smallbusiness.chron.com/key-things-marketing-22970.html
  • Things I’ve Learned About Marketing, Writing, etc at ReferralCandy
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      • Immediately smack them in the face with the meatiest bit.
        • Tell it straight. People don’t have time for smartassery. Smartassery is for smartasses trying to impress other smartasses, and it’s a circle jerk that doesn’t make the world a better place. What’s the single most useful thing that smartassery has ever achieved in the world? Oscar Wilde was a smartass, and he was very entertaining. He used his wit to poke holes in the bullshit of elites and ruling classes, and he helped to reveal the circus nature of reality. And that’s awesome, that’s great. But if you want to create real, lasting value, smartassery doesn’t help very much. Elon Musk can say things like “93 million miles” and “0 degrees Kelvin” and “Newton’s Third Law”, but the point is that he builds rockets that can land and relaunch, and he builds electric cars that can drive across the US while recharging quickly at free charging stations.
      • Create real value and tell it straight. The smartassery is tedious and a waste of time.
      • Know exactly what you’re going to say, and know exactly what you want people to take away from something. Figure out the exact action you want them to take and work backwards from there.
      • I once spent two to three weeks- I think maybe even four weeks writing a blogpost about Oreo vs Nutella. And it was a train wreck. I tried to talk about the entire history of chocolate and about Hershey and Mars. I tried to talk about how Oreo’s advertising and promotion was great, while Nutella’s was lukewarm. I tried to argue that Nutella was a better product because it had a crazier fan base that was more addicted to the product. My problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted the reader to take away from all of that. Was I going to help you do a better job? Does it actually matter that it’s interesting that Nabisco, the holding company that runs Oreo, is short for National Biscuit Company?
      • Headlines aren’t just about getting clicks. They’re also about helping you figure out what you want to give people, what you want to tell people.
        • And again, smartassery isn’t useful. Can you tell something to a person in a headline that’s interesting and useful by itself? If you can, do that. If you can’t, can you get them interested or curious about something, and then give that to them? Then do that.
      • We once discussed the nature of listicles. Should we use listicles, or should we not? We changed our mind when we discovered that all of the posts that we had written that were most widely shared were listicles. We have a few posts that have over 1,000 shares, and they’re all listicles. Why? I’m guessing it’s because the value of a listicle is easy to communicate. They’re kind of like the fast food of articles. here, a list of things. I’ve personally always been a fan of listicles of great photos, etc. It’s just a format that people are familiar with and like, and the creative challenge for the writer is to figure out how to repurpose that in a way that’s interesting, to populate it in a way that communicates some real value.
      • Here are some of our listicles that are performing pretty well by our standards:
        • 6 ways to acquire customers with your about page
        • 13 companies
        • 10 things
      • why do people love listicles so much?
        • People want light content that’s easy to digest, easy to share, and that stuff gives you a lot of exposure really quick. But we also know that that’s the high-fructose corn syrup of content. How do we get to the really good stuff that’s wholesome and good for us?
      • Headlines should tell people what the product is about, and what the benefit will be.
        • In a blogpost, a headline is to tell you about what the next paragraph is about, and what the benefit will be. Sometimes you don’t know what the headline should be until you’ve written the paragraph. And after that when you condense it into a headline, you find that the paragraph is redundant, and can be eliminated altogether. When that happens, eliminate it! You just saved the reader a bunch of rubbish that they didn’t have to read. That’s great. Now you can add actual meaningful context. This is how you build value, layer by layer. It involves summary and reinforcement, summary and reinforcement.
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      • I think it’ll help me clear up my thoughts about why I do what I do, what I ought to be doing, and how to best do that.
      • Measure.
      • Keyword intent / Search
      • Social
      • Skyscraper
      • follow your curiosities
      • GOOD lists of examples
  • my approach to writing and creating content. I should have good answers to all of these questions.
    • Why is ecommerce worth caring about?
      • Because commerce is worth caring about. Ecommerce is just a new way to do one of the oldest things people have ever done. And it’s exciting because now the barriers are much lower and anybody can start their own business.
    • Why is referral marketing worth caring about?
      • Conventional advertising is a pain in the ass. Everybody has a megaphone today. Everybody has the opportunity and the ability to communicate with tonnes of people everywhere.
    • Marketing itself?
  • 1 year at work. What I’m proud of. What I’ve learnt. Questions to ask. What is ecommerce? What are ecommerce platforms? What is marketing? What is b2b? What are startups?
  • Post mortems at work – what mistakes have we made? what would I have don’t differently?

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