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525: What We’re Saying When We’re Not Communicating

How often do you inadvertently communicate negative message to your prospects and customers?

  • “Sorry, let’s reschedule, again” actually says, “You’re not very important.” Otherwise the new opportunity wouldn’t have taken priority, right?
  • “Please leave a message after the tone” actually says, “You’re not worth my time.” Otherwise they would have picked up the phone, right?
  • “There’s been a change of plan” actually says, “You don’t get to get my best.” Otherwise the promise would have been kept as planned, right.

Whether we mean to say these things or not is not the point. In the moment, it’s how other people will interpret it. Interpretation matters: forget what you think your marketing says, what does it really say to those you wish to serve?

Tip: If you want to make sure you cover the bases in you marketing message, communicating clearly to your audience, not just to yourself, can help.

524: This Is Your Next Big Idea

Do all great companies start with the next big idea?

  • Windows transformed the way we use computers, and the computing landscape. But it was really just a visual to accompany what was already being done with DOS. The big idea was to listen to customers and make what they already had easier to use.
  • Instagram started out as a Foursquare competitor, and not a very good one. Originally called ‘Burbn’, you could check-in to places and share photos. The big idea was to listen to customers and make what they already had focus on what they cared about: the photos part.
  • Slack started out as a video game, an endearing-but-short-lived online adventure. Called ‘Glitch’, the game enabled organic open-world discovery and intuitive chat with other users. The big idea was to listen to customers and focus on the part they did really well: chat.

Your narrative about your work is different from the market’s. If you’re too busy listening to–and sharing–your narrative, you won’t hear the story going on in their minds. How clear are you on what your market needs to hear–and see–from you?

Tip: There’s a simple process for finding out who they are and what they need to hear from you. Check out to find out.

523: Your Business Is Being Watched

It’s not obvious to you, and you may not feel it yet, but you’re being watched:

  • Consistently high-quality experiences are very, very rare. When folks encounter one, they often share it with those we know, even if we aren’t CC’d on every chat.
  • Consistently showing up for those you wish to serve with meaningful, valuable acts of service does not go unnoticed, even if you can’t measure it in Likes.
  • Consistently going beyond what we would expect of you in care, service, and ethical advantage does not go unnoticed, even if you can’t feel the eyes on you.

If you do great work and you tell your story effectively, some will take notice. Not in tsunamis of monetized engagement, but in drips and drops, over time.

Tip: If you’ve got the ‘great work’ part covered, check out for the ‘tell your story effectively so people will take notice’ part.

522: Going Beyond Market Scarcity

We like scarcity.

Owning something rare is cool. The tension to buy something that may not be available tomorrow can be a thrill. There’s something better, though:

  • Scarcity works by excluding many. Limited-run items designed to make you feel exclusive, and it’s designed to move product. Buy now or you’re out.
  • Inclusion works by including many. WhatsApp (like the Web) works well because everyone is on it. The more people who use it, the better the experience becomes.
  • What about using both? Something for your whole tribe to belong to, with limited-run items designed to celebrate the most passionate community members. Power in inclusivity, power in exclusivity.

If you’re trying to create exclusivity (or, worse, false-scarcity) consider what it could do for those you wish to serve by instead creating inclusivity. Then celebrate your champions: you need them as much as they need you.

Tip: Getting the messaging right for this sort of thing can be tricky. helps make it simple.

521: What Our Words Say About Us

When we talk to the marketplace-and it listens-it’s trying to figure out who your message is for: them, or yourself?

  • “# secrets to (desire) without (roadblock)” – The online marketing world is fixated upon ‘formulas’ like this which promise untold riches to all who use it. The focus? Yourself and your wallet. It is the bait, they are the fish. The market understands this. That’s why they’re skeptical.
  • “Tell me about your problem” – This ‘formula’ is usually reserved for medical professionals and priesthood. The act of caring enough to learn what a problem is, and helping solve it. You are the doctor, they are the patient. The market isn’t used to this. That’s why it’s refreshing.

Your marketing message hurts or heals your market-there is no middle ground. Which is yours?

Tip: If you want to be certain your marketing message heals vs hurts your market (it is always one or the other) check out

520: Misallocated Effort

What’s a million dollars worth if you don’t use it properly?

What’s a week of uninterrupted time to work if you don’t use it properly?

Misallocated effort is what holds us back:

  • Having a great website, but only sending paid traffic to a drag-n-drop landing page that took only minutes to prepare. Where your message doesn’t shine through. Your mission is missing, as is the level of care you bring to your work. What if your site was able to do the work of a landing page, allocating energy where you need it?
  • Having a great car, but only driving it once every three weeks because you’re never home (or never leaving home). Lovely vehicle, but depreciating in the garage. What if your resources were spent where you actually spend your time, to enhance your journey through life where it counts, for you?
  • Having a great company, but only investing time in the short-term gains because the big vision is important, not urgent. What if urgent is permitted to continue for so long, that your collective team vision is never realized? What if you spent as much time investing in your vision as you did putting out the daily fires?

We rarely have energy, potential, or money problems. We have misallocation problems. Are you investing in the mission you set out to achieve?

Tip: If a free investment in enhancing your company’s marketing message seems like a good deal, head over to