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Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 28 2021
How to create a goldmine

How to create a goldmine

Here’s a story of how to create a gold mine:

When I had flowers sent from M&S to my Mum after she got out of hospital, they were sent to the wrong address. The redelivery took the same flowers to the right address a few days later (posies out of water for a few days arrive dead, of course).

The cost associated with not issuing new flowers costed them our trust, and our future business.

When I purchased a Fitbit, it stopped working a few a few weeks. The company issued a new one to me, no questions asked. That one stopped working. So they issued me another one again (even asking if I’d like a different colour this time).

The cost associated with sending a new product (instead of complicating the relationship with returns and repairs) earned our trust, and our future business.

Future business is gold. Gold is worth more than one bouquet of flowers. Knowing what your audience values (and building business around those same values) is a goldmine.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 27 2021
‘Best’ Is Relative

‘Best’ Is Relative

We all have different ideas of what ‘best’ means:

Being “the best in the business” only matters if the buying criteria defined by “the business” aligns with your own. The best restaurant in the business isn’t best for a Brit when it’s all the way in Singapore.

Being the mainstream “people’s choice” only matters if the mainstream has the exact same requirements you do. If you – and those like you – have needs or preferences unique to you, going with the mainstream winner won’t be “best” at all.

Being the best in “the world” means you need to know what “the world” consists of.

Being the best for those you wish to serve means knowing who they are and what they need from you. What “the business” or the mainstream think about your work is tangential.

How well do you know the specific world you’re trying to be the best in?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 26 2021
The Altar Of Scale

The Altar Of Scale

“It requires a strong constitution to withstand repeated attacks of prosperity.” – James Basford

Talking to customers helps a company succeed but doesn’t scale easily, so when growth hits, most abandon it or delegate it to someone they don’t talk to very often.

Changing marketing messaging quickly each time you learn something new from your audience helps a company succeed but doesn’t scale easily, so when growth hits, most lose pace or stop listening.

Care doesn’t scale easily because it’s an individual investment made into each person, not broadly and blandly to an ‘audience’.

Perhaps it’s why so many organisations abandon it at the altar of scale.

Perhaps it’s precisely what you need more of in order to outperform them.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 25 2021
When Does A Fireman Fail?

When Does A Fireman Fail?

When does a fireman fail?

A fireman doesn’t fail at being a fireman when a house burns. He fails when he’s afraid of fire and won’t engage the flames.

A salesman doesn’t fail at being a salesman when a deal won’t close. He fails when he’s afraid to pick up the phone and try again.

A writer doesn’t fail at being a writer when writer’s block shows up. He fails when he puts down the pen because it showed up.

A leader doesn’t fail at being a leader when people don’t follow. He fails when they stop trying to lead them.

Keep showing up. Embrace the flames, pick up the phone, write anyway, keep on leading.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 24 2021
“We Get To Have Fun!”

“We Get To Have Fun!”

Our team regularly gets replies thanking us for sending cold emails (which is really nice!)

We were recently asked, on a phone call following such an occasion, how we’re able to create such valuable and personal outreach assets.

The answer is two-fold:

First, having a really clear understanding of who your audience is and what they need to hear from you, means you’ve a great chance your work will resonate with who it was made for.

Second, “We get to have fun”!

Knowing what to say is hugely important, getting to have fun in light of it enables brands to activate that message with creativity and originality.

Are you nurturing your understanding of your audience and what they need to hear from you?

Are you having fun with what you learn?

If not, why not?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 23 2021
UnSwipe File

UnSwipe File

Many of us have heard of a Swipe File…

The place where we put emails that made us open, ads that made us click, calls that made us glow… all the good stuff, archived for our future reference.

These things are great to look at when the opportunity comes to work on a similar piece, to stand on the shoulders of giants and explore ideas for doing our best work.

…But what about the other things?

The emails we scoffed at, the ads that offended us, the calls we hung up on?

We stand to learn just as much from these undocumented pieces that represent that which has failed us.

Openings we should avoid. Subject lines we yawn at because we’ve seen it too many times before. Ads that made our toes curl.

Standing on the shoulders of giants is great, with a Swipe File. But so is make sure we don’t get squashed beneath the feet of monsters, with an UnSwipe File.

Avoiding documented mistakes is as useful as following documented success.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 22 2021
There Are Many Paths

There Are Many Paths

There are many paths.

You can ski down the easy slope or the hard slope, both take you to the bottom of the mountain if you ski properly.

You can use SEO or social ads or content marketing to get attention, all get you that attention if you implement properly.

You can build high-volume or high-ticket methods of solving a particular problem for people, each can work if you build and market properly.

Your customers can choose you, or any other number of routes to the destination on their journey.

Be the best choice by focusing on their journey and their destination, rather than on your means.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 21 2021
Does Ethical Marketing Exist?

Does Ethical Marketing Exist?

There is no such thing as ethical marketing.

Only ethical (or unethical) intentions behind a message and it’s implementation.

Opting in for something via email isn’t an unethical delivery model. But when the offer is bait for subsequent harassment, rather than a genuine effort to help, it goes bad.

Web cookies aren’t unethical in themselves. But when they’re used to as a flair for stalking and manipulating, it goes bad.

Social ads aren’t unethical in themselves. But when they’re governed by companies who permit brand poaching and political meddling, it goes bad.

Marketing tools get a bad reputation when frequently used as part of campaigns or systems with bad intentions.

It doesn’t make them bad.

But it does mean marketers should think carefully about the tools they use: are you using them because they’re the right ones, or because they’re what everyone else uses?

Is there a better way?

Will you take it?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 20 2021
Changing Metrics

Changing Metrics

When we really care about those we serve, our metrics start changing:

“Content worth sharing” doesn’t mean “longer”, but “more relevant to those you serve”.

“Great value” doesn’t mean “cheaper”, but “more of what your people need and less of what they don’t”.

“Great results” aren’t based on your metrics for success, but on what those who buy it consider a win.

Without a real appreciation of those we serve, we resort to longer or cheaper, assuming these things are important.

Spend more time with your audience, just watch what it does to your goals.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 19 2021
Buying Movement

Buying Movement

We don’t buy products, we buy movement:

We don’t usually buy non-alcoholic drinks to be contrary. Perhaps it was to be more present with our choice of company while respecting our own boundaries.

We don’t usually choose software because we couldn’t perform its function any other way. Perhaps it was because the manner with which it approaches the solution is aligned with our own.

We don’t usually replace our laptops because they became underpowered. Perhaps it was because renewed battery life represents renewed freedom, unshackled from cables.

We don’t buy card games because we didn’t have any card games but found ourselves requiring one. Perhaps it‘s because we enjoy creative ways of spend time with our families and want to do more of it.

What if our marketing reflected the uniqueness of our audience’s journey, and sold them ways to move further along that journey, instead of mere products?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 18 2021
We’re Just Making Chocolate

We’re Just Making Chocolate

Cadbury’s staff have a great line for the heat of conflict, enjoyed by all able to remember it in the moment:

“We’re just making chocolate.”

It’s not uncommon to see passionate people burning-midnight oil and falling out among themselves in defence of their important work.

On one hand, it’s admirable – they care and they want the vision to be realised.

On the other hand, it’s a crying shame – as Napoleon astutely put it, “Men of great ambition have sought happiness…and found fame.”

Most important work doesn’t benefit more from 80 hour weeks than they would 40 hour weeks. More often, they produce subpar decisions from a fatigued mind, followed by a week of burn-out.

Most important work doesn’t benefit more from arguing than it would collaboration. More often, it produces a short-term tactical win at the expense of a long-term strategic success.

When ego strikes and we risk forgetting these things, consider the chocolatier’s retort: “We’re just making chocolate.”

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 17 2021
Your Focus VS Their Goals

Your Focus VS Their Goals

Are you focused on making work better for those who buy it, or did you get distracted?

We create design patterns because it helps users know how to use things. Not because it makes the life of designers easier. When a designer defends a pattern when breaking it would make things easier for users, the designer lost focus.

We create SOPs and productised services because it enables teams to deliver more value with less cost (to the customer). Not because it could make hiring cheaper or fulfilment easier. When a team cries “it’s not protocol” in response to a customer’s cry for help, the team lost focus.

Making our work better for those who buy it is a winning strategy.

It’s easy to lose focus and get caught up with revering patterns and protocols over customers.


Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 16 2021
Communicating Badly

Communicating Badly

What do these quotes all have in common?

You’ve probably heard many of them yourself:

“Hi there, let me tell you all about my product, by the way here’s my card, and here’s another, tell your friends…” — at networking events

“Thanks for having me on, it’s an honour to be on the stage with such game-changers, real quick here’s a bit about me” – on social-audio app Clubhouse

“Thank you for following us, please also LIKE our Facebook Page and connect with us on LinkedIn” — Twitter direct messages

“I hope you have great success in 2021. How does your calendar look in next week for a Zoom call?” – LinkedIn messages

They’re all used for marketing/outreach, and they’re all about themselves.

You’ve heard many of them before because they’re normal.

To surpass normal, remember that marketing isn’t about you.

To surpass normal, make your words less about you, and more about the journey those you’re talking to are on right now.

To surpass normal, care more.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 15 2021
The Dot On The Line

The Dot On The Line

Don’t sell dots.

Selling dots is hard and unfruitful.

Between the Problem experienced in the lives of those we serve, and the Solution they seek, is a line.

We get to be a Dot on that line (part of the journey that bridges those poles) if we want to be.

The problem with most marketing activity is that it focuses exclusively on the Dot, its benefits, and how marvellous it is. Not the line it rests on.

Focusing on your Dot only interests people who happen to be shopping for Dots (not many), requiring you to sell better than the other Dot salesman in your market (hard).

Focusing on the line interests people who have embarked on that journey (everyone you can help), requiring you to simply show up with empathy and understanding to outperform those still stuck selling Dots (easier).

The less it’s about you (and your Dot) the more you’re likely to engage those you wish to serve.

Why sell a Dot when selling the line is so much more effective?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 14 2021
Narrating Vs Storytelling

Narrating Vs Storytelling

What’s a story, what’s a narrative, what’s the difference, and why should we care?

A story is a linear expression of a series of events that effect people and situations.

We tell stories to entertain or as a vehicle for transferring information. If all we want to do is find effective ways of peddling product, we can stop here. It’ll give us everything we need.

A narrative is a way of looking at the world and one’s journey through that world.

We each have a narrative and it’s got very little to do with your products. But if we know the narrative and how our work fits into it for the benefit of those who share that narrative (and can effectively express that to the market), we need never peddle product again.

We get to stick with stories if we want creative ways to sell.

We get to have our work sell itself if we learn and leverage the narratives at play.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 13 2021
Losing Your Head

Losing Your Head

Do you ever “lose your head”?

“Losing your head” tends to mean losing your cool, losing your patience, losing your confidence… for me, it means losing your clarity.

When we lose our clarity, we:

  • Stare at an idea without the inner-power to move it forward
  • Struggle to create instead of consume
  • Check Facebook instead of reading that book we’re apparently reading
  • Let our journaling practice ‘have a little break’
  • Change the due-dates on our important to-dos because effort
  • Lose the enthusiasm of our teams because we didn’t model it for them

When we keep our clarity, we:

  • Bend reality with our minds, making things happen with creativity & resolve
  • Dive deep into books that engage our interests and areas of growth
  • Get our to-dos done and our milestones on track
  • Model to our teams what people like us behave like
  • Create create create

If you think you might have lost your head, it’s worth spending a little time to go and find it.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 12 2021
Content & Connection

Content & Connection

We’re lulled into focusing on the wrong things.

So much content, so little context: Every social media channel is exploding with content. Yet so little of it is designed to serve individual groups of people. How can we create change when we aren’t committed to those we want to serve?

So much connection, so little connecting: More people have the Internet than ever before. Yet folks find themselves feeling lonelier than ever before. How can we connect with anyone when we’re so focused on connecting with everyone?

Building a real connection with our chosen few, or contributing to the white-noise.

Which do you think enables us to serve more people?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 11 2021
Fail Live

Fail Live

If you’re going to fail, fail live.

When a TEDx speaker stumbles, the room roots for him/her, eager for them to succeed. Applause at the end reflects this.

When a Cirque De Soleil juggler fumbles, the room gets more excited, knowing it’s a tough act and wants to see it succeed. Applause at the end reflects this.

Not every failure benefits from an audience. But failing let’s those watching know that we’re human, too. Now we want to see you overcome the challenge before you.

Success moves you forward. Oftentimes, so can failing live.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 10 2021
Tired Brain, Rested Brain

Tired Brain, Rested Brain

Which Brain are you thinking with today?

Tired Brain says, “You’re so behind, look at the people who achieve more than you. Get on it, slowpoke! No rest, no lie-ins… get on it.”

Rested Brain says, “You’re making progress daily, everyones on different paths doing different things to you. Don’t compare. Stay the path!

Here’s another:

Tired Brain says, “Stop playing! Competition won’t rest…if you rest, they’ll spend crush you. If you care about family, keep working or they’ll suffer.”

Rested Brain says, “Stop being paranoid! Competition don’t work 24/7 either. Give your family a full life, not an absent parent.”

We both have Tired Brain and Rested Brain. Which would you rather use?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 09 2021
Out in the Open

Out in the Open

If your message matters, put it out in the Open:

Open is your accessible website. No logins, no country limits, no being bought by Facebook and shut down. Open for all who need your support.

Open is your RSS-enabled blog. No third-party paywalls and content/distribution restrictions. Just the words people need, out in the Open.

Open is an email address you reply with. No “sign up to chat”, no app to download, no waiting lines. Just connection with people who need you, out in the Open.

Open is your podcast. No “only available on iPhone”, no subscription barriers, no limits on consumption. Just your voice straight to those who need to hear it, out in the Open.

If your people are on proprietary channels like Twitter, or Clubhouse, or Reddit, please meet them where they are. They need you to show up.

But if you want to be able to show up long-term, build a place we can always find you… out in the Open.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 08 2021
A Little Bit Of Care

A Little Bit Of Care

The more connected we become, the more people seem to want to talk about themselves.

What if we did… the opposite?

It takes three words to connect with me on LinkedIn:

“Love the comics.”

Taking a moment to see what was actually in my timeline – and comment on it – outperformed even the most fantastical of self-important tripe.

A little bit of care goes a long way.

In the era of automation, genuine feelings of care and attention are being abstracted away (ie ‘totally forgotten about’).

That makes it scarce, valuable, and potentially just what those you wish to serve need from you today.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 07 2021
What Do You Think?

What Do You Think?

What do you think?

When we hear that question, we hear a request for our opinion. We often figure it out while speaking.

It’s also a request for reflection. What you think determines how you behave.

If you think you ‘hate people’, networking will be painful and unfruitful for you. Change your think, change your results.

If you think you ‘have it all figured out’, learning will be sparse or beneath you. Change your think, change your results.

If you think you know how to think, you’ll never study great thinkers and improve your mind. Change your think, change your results.

So. What do you think?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 06 2021
The Thing You Should Have Done

The Thing You Should Have Done

Most of us feel it.

At the end of a day, you may have gotten a lot of stuff done. Things that impress our teams, our families, and our peers.

But not ourselves.

It could the the growth opportunity you had an excuse for: such as an important call you were nervous about making that you got out of because something urgent came up that you jumped on top of.

It could be the piece you know you need to push forward: such as an important sales system or a speaking gig you need to prepare for, that was more uncomfortable than making sure your admin is all in order.

We know it when we feel it.

How much better could this year be if you decided to make sure the shoulda’s all get done?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 05 2021
They’re There Already

They’re There Already

We don’t have to start from scratch.

The audience you want to serve? They’re there already, engaging in great content created by thoughtful creators. Why not show up with them? (Perhaps the host would like a sponsor. Perhaps you could enhance the work already being done there.)

The complimentary companies you want to collaborate with? They’re there already, engaging with those you can best serve. Why not show up with them? (Perhaps their booth would be better with you on it too. Perhaps the event would be twice as good with you picking up half the bill for all the attention.)

You’re probably not first, they’re probably there already. Why not show up too?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 04 2021
The Void We Avoid

The Void We Avoid

What if I don’t know what to say?

What if nobody comes to the show?

What if nobody buys the product?

What if nobody likes the post?

What if I run out of ideas?

What if they don’t like my opinion?

What if my question is just stupid?

The void is where all our ideas and actions go. Into the unknown. Out into the world, into space. Who knows what will happen in there.

They always come out of the other side.

Dud streams fade into history forgotten, rather than being remembered as a flop.

Empty rooms can’t be remembered because only you were there.

Some ideas will stick and move people forward from their problems.

Some will remember what you said if it was good and it resonated with them.

We remember the good stuff that came out of the other side of the void.

So create. Show up for those you wish to serve. We need not avoid the void, it’s the only pathway to connection.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 03 2021
Known & Attention

Known & Attention

Businesses want your attention.

Getting your attention means you’re not a secret anymore, but earning your attention means you’re not a stranger anymore.

Becoming known means you’re recognised by many, but doesn’t mean anyone got to know you.

We can put those together either way we want:

#1: Getting attention and becoming known? This means you chose to be loud.

#2: Or no longer being a stranger and letting people get to know you? This means you chose to care.

Which sounds like it’ll pay off most in the long-run?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 02 2021
Goals + Time

Goals + Time

Yesterday we talked about great goals.

What we didn’t talk about was the time it takes to let them germinate and bear fruit.

A big goal with no time to lose creates headaches, high blood pressure, and worried families. When there’s barely enough time to get it done right, there’s definitely not enough time to get it wrong (which you will, in haste).

A big goal with time to breathe and grow creates inevitability, fun, and value that the world needs.

We need you to choose the latter. We need you doing good work, with the energy to do so again tomorrow, and the day after that, as you make that goal a reality.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
February 01 2021
If You’re Going To Fail At Your Goals…

If You’re Going To Fail At Your Goals…

…make them great big goals.

Small goals fail because the motivation isn’t there. Losing a few pounds or earning a few dollars won’t motivate many past January, and the difference they make won’t amount to much anyway.

Medium goals must be met because anything short of success makes it a small goal, as above.

Great big goals get to fail because they’re so big. But falling short of a great big goal puts you in a much better spot than succeeding at a medium goal, while being easier to achieve because the motions you made to achieve the big ones leave you much better off.

Not everything needs to be measured, tracked and obsessed over.

But for the things you do, make them great.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
January 30 2021
What is “giving value”?

What is “giving value”?

We hear it all the time.

“Give people value.”

“Provide massive value.”

Sounds like a thing, doesn’t it. What’s it actually mean?

For some, it means, “The necessary evil I apparently must do in order to get what I want.” It’s what we hear on the podcasts and in the blog posts, being attributed to increases in sales and revenue. Ebooks and other artefacts are then created, to coerce folks to give you a shot.

For others, it means, “Not waiting for permission or transactions to start making someone’s problems go away.” Doing what you do, for those you do it, up front. No coercing necessary.

Which is it for you?

Which do you think works better?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
January 29 2021
Worth The Trip

Worth The Trip

It‘ll probably work. But is it worth the trip?

That product idea: is it worth the months or years it’ll take to get it up and running, in the hands of those it was designed for?

That ad campaign: is it worth the consistent outlay in funds while it gets dialled in?

That movement: is the change you seek to make worth the lifetime of commitment to your chosen people?

It’s worth first evaluating not if you’re worthy of the trip, but if the trip is worthy of you.

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