Archive of posts from May 2020

May 31, 2020     Daily Post

FOFOMO

FOFOMO

FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – is pillaging great minds of their greatness.

Where deep work was possible, FOMO reduced it to self-imposed thinly-sliced Facebook reprieves.

Where divergent thinking was possible, FOMO diluted it to trend-following safe plays where average output becomes your happy-place.

Where evening learning and relaxation were possible, FOMO replaced with negative news cycles and stodgy nights of streaming video.

What we really need is FOFOMO – fear of missing out.

May 30, 2020     Daily Post

The Birthday Test

The Birthday Test

How well do you know your clients?

If you couldn’t buy your client a thoughtful gift for their birthday, it’s because:

  1. You stink at buying presents
  2. You don’t know what a thoughtful gift would be for them.
  3. You don’t even know when their birthday is…

It’s not about their birthday, but about knowing your audience intimately enough to speak their language and hear their hurts. That’s where real innovation comes from.

You might think deep-dives into client research might take a lot of time and money…

Got a phone? Got a call plan? Super – this is free, and will only cost you the time it takes to make a phone call.

Whatever your budget for marketing planning and ongoing client relations, that’s something you can do today if you choose.

A key distinguishing factor in effective marketing for cause-driven work is simply caring more. Consider the birthday test above to be a crude indicator of whether or not you’ve got work to do in this area.

They’ll thank you for caring, and for the innovations, you produce that feel like they were made just for them.

May 29, 2020     Daily Post

Wins Along The Way

Wins Along The Way

This is not Post 1,000 of my daily blog.

But it is Post 900.

Sometimes, while producing bodies of work that are important to us, we can lose sight of the wins along the way.

1000 is on your mind when you hit 900. That’s natural. But if we remember that 900 was just as important when we hit 800, we create space to celebrate the win.

2000 could be on your mind once you hit 1000. There’s no finishing line. Instead of fixating on arbitrary numbers, it’s better to focus on what matters.

Who you become as a result of doing this work.

What positive change you can create for others as a result of doing this work.

Whether this work is worthy of you, not if you’re worthy of it.

Goals move. Celebrate the process, it’s all we have.

May 28, 2020     Daily Post

Marketing and Pets

Marketing and Pets

Or, “Why investing in your message matters”.

Imagine you called your mother today and then didn’t talk to her for three years.

After those three years had passed, let’s say you called her again and asked how her guinea pig is doing.

Chances are, that ‘pig is gone.

She’s got a dog now.

She walks Sparky every day, getting out and meeting new people in the park. She shops for hiking boots and travels on the weekend to explore new trails. Life is different.

You’ve known this lady your whole life. But, three years in, you’re borderline strangers.

What’s the take-away here?

The world keeps changing. So should your marketing message. Not for the sake of change, or as a dilution of focus, but as a recommitment to your audience.

If you want to sell more effectively so you can stay at the top of your choice of market, you have to continue learning about, caring about and connecting with that choice of market.

Your message is your way of showing you care.

May 27, 2020     Daily Post

What Will It Take?

What Will It Take?

“Do whatever it takes” is a terrible guideline for important work.

“Whatever it takes” hemorrhages time and cash, pushing everything else into a similar state of emergency that put this project into “whatever it takes” mode.

“Whatever it takes” breeds freneticism in teams that won’t stand the test of time when pitched against teams who prefer to ask, “What will it take?”

“What will it take” nurtures mindful contributions of time and cash, enabling them to be efficient and essentialist with their resources. This mindset outperforms and outlasts chaotic competitors stuck doing whatever it takes.

If your work is important, don’t declare “whatever it takes”. Instead, inquire, “What will it take?”

May 26, 2020     Daily Post

If It Creates Stress, It’s Bad Design

If It Creates Stress, It’s Bad Design

Many social media platforms spent countless dollars trying to make their services more “sticky” for people like us.

To produce nervous energy in their visitors which releases only once that visitor returns.

They’re effective at doing what they set out to achieve… but let’s not pretend it’s “Good design”.

Good design helps people to…

…Understand things: Nothing is really being understood on those social platforms. Instead, people are just left wondering where the last 20 minutes of their lives went.

…Complete tasks: There are tasks that get completed, but these interfaces were designed to create tasks for visitors faster than visitors can complete them.

…Solve problems: The tools are designed to prevent people from solving problems. Otherwise they’d optimize their designs for connecting with the right people and fostering relationships, instead of pandering for Likes and rewarding consumption. You’re not supposed to leave, remember? Because ads.

Some honest questions to ask ourselves about our work:

  • Was our work designed to help people understand, or stay stuck?
  • Was our work designed to help people get things done, or add to their load?
  • Was our work designed to help people solve problems or keep them hooked?

Do we like the answers we end up with?

May 25, 2020     Daily Post

If It’s Important, Slow Down

If It’s Important, Slow Down

Wait, what?

Shouldn’t it be that the important stuff should be done double-time, before all else, at any cost, as soon as possible?

Don’t disrespect important work like that:

Important work needs to be thought about. If the prescribed solution – and implementation thereof – isn’t worth properly thinking through, surely it’s not very important work?

Important work needs to be done right. If it just needs a quick throw-it-together response, surely it’s not very important work?

Important work needs no reactive behavior. If you’re moving fast, you’re reacting to things that come your way, rather than really considering things and acting in their best interests.

Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

May 24, 2020     Daily Post

Giving Lame Presents

Giving Lame Presents

Does your business give lame presents?

Let’s take a look at your social media profile. Is it mostly photos of yourself doing things you like, or pictures or boring office shots and periodical award posts? These are all pretty lame presents to gift your audience with.

Let’s take a look at the emails you send. Is each a reflection of your fiduciary responsibility to elevate the lives of your recipients? Did each reflect your ability to serve? No? Then they’re likely lame presents to gift your audience with.

Look across your whole company. At everything that touches your choice of market.

Are you giving lame presents, or presents so thoughtful that they’ll tell all their friends?

May 23, 2020     Daily Post

The Trick Course ​

The Trick Course ​

I almost made a trick course.

One that advertises on Facebook, portraying a young “guru” negotiating the halls of his achievements, attributing his wealth to a simple course he’s prepared for a low low fee of $497.

One where victims, upon submitting to the waves of unrelenting emails that would follow, would buy into the sarcophagus of secrets.

One where, upon opening the course, they would be met with a single PowerPoint slide, which reads the following:

“The path to success is to not buy sensationalist crap like this. Focus on doing your meaningful work for those you wish to serve, no shortcuts.”

I decided to save you the embarrassment by writing this blog post instead.

Focus on doing your meaningful work for those you wish to serve, no shortcuts.

May 22, 2020     Daily Post

There Is No Business

There Is No Business

“Business” is not a skill.

“Businessman” is not a job title.

“Business books” aren’t about business.

So what is there?

Real skills, such as the ability to resourcefully produce something from vision, either through the work of your own brow or through leading others (or both).

Real jobs, such as leading, accounting, marketing and development.

Real books, such as autobiographies documenting the experience of others, or tombs of wisdom on very specific subjects.

What are you doing today? (Hint: it’s not “business”)

May 21, 2020     Daily Post

Overprescribing Solutions

Overprescribing Solutions

We have so much opportunity and potential before us. In everything we do.

Sometimes, we over-prescribe a solution, over-paint the painting, and over-write the message.

Sometimes, simpler is better.

A funnel when a phone call will do. Marketers love their ‘funnels’, complete with lengthy (arduous) follow-up email sequences and sensationalist language. Show love to the project, not the medium. If your message is right, all you may need is a phone call to get the right message to the right person.

A book when a post will do. Every idea starts tweet-sized. Some ideas served best by growing into a blog post. Others are best served by growing into a full book. Show love to the idea, not the medium, to remove dead weight when writing.

WordPress when HTML will do. Many assume even a basic website needs a full LAMP stack server with PHP, SQL and WordPress (with its many plugins) are required for even the most simple of website projects. Love the message on the page, not the tech – sometimes a simple HTML file is all that’s required.

How could you be mistakenly adding dead weight in your projects?

How could you cut it off?

May 20, 2020     Daily Post

On The Shoulders Of Giants

On The Shoulders Of Giants

When I designed the BuiltForImpact system – a way to clearly and effectively engage visitors on a website in order to lead them forward – the theory behind it didn’t come out of just nowhere.

It was built upon the shoulders of giants:

“Use metaphors, similies, analogies, things that are easy for people to relate to. Sometimes when you’re trying to distinguish what it is about you that makes you different or superior, no one gets it. Help the market develop their discriminators. – Jay Abraham

“The subconsious mind will not be influenced by any suggestions made to it except those which are mixed with feeling or emotion. – Napoleon Hill

“Establish where they are, where they want to be, what the gap is, what that feels like–not just what it is intellectually–and then how to move them to the next stage.” – Tony Robbins

“We moved away from a pain-oriented society into an aspirational-society. Relate with their ambition–your job is to find what is the ambition for the people, and touch on that in an authentic and passionate way.” – Brendon Burchard

“If you don’t learn how to tell your story, you’re not going to grow. Storytelling is the #1 way to build your brand.” – Dave Asprey

“People don’t think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride” – Jonah Berger

“Finish conversations they’re having, not what you’re having. People don’t learn from you, buy from you, appreciate you, unless they feel understood by you, not when they understand you. When people feel understood, they’ll trust you and buy from you.” – Dean Graziosi

You get to build greatness upon greatness, instead of re-inventing the wheel for the sake of misguided attempts at “intellectual property”.

What greatness does (or could) your work build upon?

May 19, 2020     Daily Post

Now’s Good

Now’s Good

You know that project or piece of work you’ve had on your heart and your mind?

The one that you thought should perhaps wait until later because you should probably just work on safe things today, things that won’t change the culture or rock the boat?

Now’s probably a good time for that piece of work.

There’s no “easier” or “more convenient” time to be brave than any other. Particularly if you’ve a heart of service for your choice of market

Now’s good. What are you waiting for, anyway?

May 18, 2020     Daily Post

The New Local

The New Local

We used to market locally, because that’s all there was. There was the nearest town, the one beyond that, and that was it. At least, unless you were a mega-brand with deep, deep pockets.

Then the Internet happened, and we all got access to everyone. Facebook ads that can target anyone anywhere in the world meant that everyone can be as ‘local’ as everyone else.

Then local changed again. Because “everyone in the world” is too many people. No longer scoped by geography, our new local is “people who are just like us”. I’m typing from England with a friend in Croatia as I write this, and he’s far more “local” than my next-door neighbour.

When you go to market, you’re going to go “local” again. Be sure to select the right kind of local. Only two of the three work anymore, and only one remains when the world goes on lockdown.

May 17, 2020     Daily Post

Don’t Want To Be Beige

Don’t Want To Be Beige

In marketing and in life, you don’t want to be beige… at least that’s what you tell yourself. Let’s put that to the test:

You don’t want your marketing message to be beige… you just want everyone to like you. If what you say is liked be everyone, it won’t be loved by anyone. Strong messages tend to polarise. To be clear on where you’re going, there will be many who will say, “But I don’t want to go there.” Those who do want to go there, won’t, unless you’re brave enough to point it out.

You don’t want your life to be beige… you just don’t want to let anyone down. If your calendar is a to-do list for everyone else in the world, you won’t let anyone down… except for yourself, those you care about, and those who your work could have made a real impact for.

Is beige for you, or are you brave enough to pick another colour?

May 16, 2020     Daily Post

Reducing Strokes

Reducing Strokes

It’s made out to be more complicated than it actually is.

You probably already know I enjoy “reducing strokes” – making things better by making them simpler. So when I speak with a lot of mission-driven entrepreneurs and enterprises and routinely see people over-complicating the impact they want to make, I decided to make some brief notes:

Passion keeps the tank filled. Never mind what people are telling you to do, a journey you don’t enjoy taking is a journey you won’t complete. Don’t cut everything out that brings you joy just because others like you did.

Don’t let the strategy be sexy. We’re promised easy success in almost every advertisement we see. That’s sexy. Don’t trust it. Meanwhile, the hard work of continually getting to know your people better so you can serve them better isn’t considered very sexy. It’s considered monotonous and boring. That’s what’s actually sexy.

Reduce the strokes. If you can tell a complex story or a simple story and achieve the same result, tell the latter; the former only impresses you and your parents. If you can send someone 1,000 marketing emails copied from someone else, or 1 that speaks to the heart of your chosen recipient, send the latter. The former impresses other marketers, the latter gets the job done.

Play better with less moves. Paint better with less strokes. Enjoy the creation process.

May 15, 2020     Daily Post

The Only Way, Isn’t

The Only Way, Isn’t

Everyone promises to know the way:

Instagram gurus all claim to have the secret to success. It’s either a badly kept, or ill-defined secret, isn’t it? Every time we see it, it appears to be defined differently. One day it’s Facebook Advertising, the next it’s a special social media hack, the next, email.

The secret is that it’s shiny. The fact that the advertised means of doing email (or whatever it is) is probably different to your way, is where it gets its appeal. And the fact that you keep changing course, is why you’re still looking at the shiny things to begin with.

The only way, isn’t. Each works to the degree it is worked. Methodical implementation and optimisation of your chosen practice isn’t as shiny as the secret, but it’s probably the practice you need to get what you’re looking for.

Know your people, go where they are, show them what they need in a way they understand, by whatever means they’d like to hear from you.

Avoid the shiny secrets.

May 14, 2020     Daily Post

Questions For Getting Things Done

Questions For Getting Things Done

Successful projects (and a successful life) is in getting the right things done, in the right way.

Consider asking yourself these questions…

“Regarding this thing I’m trying to do or want done…”

“Who do I know that knows how to do this?” Get to know them, instead of the thing they know how to do. They’ll probably do it better.

`“Is it the best use of my/our time to be doing this?” Hint, if it’s not in your area of genius, please see the previous point.

“Is it something to achieve, or merely ‘do’?” The difference between achievement with activity is the difference between business and busyness.

“What don’t I know that I should know in order to get this done?” Speak to those who can help you answer this question, then refer to the previous questions.

How do these questions shape what you’re working on right now?

May 13, 2020     Daily Post

Every Rep Counts

Every Rep Counts

We cancelled a large software subscription today.

But not because the software was no good (it’s actually quite good).

We cancelled because every rep counts.

We had been assigned a sales and support rep that had no desire to help us. When a member of our team would reach out for support, the response was always derogatory and pronounced: “You have no idea what you’re doing”.

The job of a sales and support rep is to help people derive maximum advantage out of that which he/she has far more idea about than those he/she is helping. To be there for them and advocate for them. To support them and help them create the results they’re looking for.

This software company has over 800,000 employees. They lost us because of one.

Are you building a company and a culture that maintains your standard of excellence? Are you equipping every member of your team to be a standard bearer for your brand?

Every rep counts.

May 12, 2020     Daily Post

Hey Batman

Hey Batman

If you stand in the middle of Gotham City and shout, “Hey, you!” who turns around?

Nobody.

If you stand in the middle of Gotham City and should, “Hey, Batman!” who turns around?

Still nobody. If you want to communicate with Batman, you’re closer than the first question, but still off. Maybe a couple will look at you like a looney, but Batman isn’t going to show up for you.

Because if you knew Batman, you’d know to use the Bat-Signal.

Most companies think they’re being clear enough about who they’re talking to. Usually, they’re not, and when they are, they don’t communicate in the way that audience wants to be reached.

Does yours?

May 11, 2020     Daily Post

Don’t Touch My Base

Don’t Touch My Base

“Just checking in with you to touch base.”

I’m sure you’ve received these emails before.

About that…

Checking in doesn’t help anyone do anything. Are you connecting with me to help me with what I’m working on, asking for my help with what you’re working on, or something else? Be specific, don’t check in. I’m not a hotel.

Don’t touch base. It doesn’t mean anything. Again, do you want to help me with what I’m working on, or vice-versa? The clearest communicator wins, so be clear and specific to get the response you’re looking for.

If you’re doing work that matters, dignify it – and those on the receiving end of your communications – to get to the heart of the matter at hand.

It will unlock better conversations and better work.

Next time someone wants to touch your base, get a restraining order.

May 10, 2020     Daily Post

Applied Ceilings

Applied Ceilings

What ceilings do you install on your work?

We could install a technology ceiling where we short-change ourselves on equipment, electing to forgo our potential in favour of a few dollars. Or we could invest in what takes us where we believe we’re capable of.

We could install a communication ceiling where we short-change ourselves on messaging, electing to forgo an effective website in favour of a few dollars. Or we could invest in what takes us where we believe we’re capable of.

We could install a presentational ceiling where we short-change ourselves on our market positioning, electing to forgo a proper phone service or respectable suit in favour of a few dollars. Or we could invest in what takes us where we believe we’re capable of.

Most ceilings are self-inflicted.

Be mindful of that as you make your decisions.

May 09, 2020     Daily Post

Doing Something With That Knowledge

Doing Something With That Knowledge

Done researching yet?

About the piece of software you want to use for that project. Time to do something. Get started. The biggest cost is self-inflicted: if you wait too long to decide, you’ll have to live with your decision whether it was right or wrong. If you take swift, informed, decisive action then even if you’re wrong, there’s time to change course.

About which company to work with on that new initiative. Time to do something. Get started. The biggest cost is self-inflicted: the more you engage a team, the faster you’ll learn if they’re who they claim to be. Our creative team proactively encourages people to kick their tires so that they can be seen to be as they really are. Whereas many other teams push for the sale and then reveal an uglier, laxer truth.

About the type of couch you want in your living room. Time to do something. Make the call; when you decide with the information available instead of agonising for lengths of time, you’ll have more time and energy to invest into things that really matter.

Well done for doing your due-diligence with research. Next comes taking decisive action so that you can learn if your research was right or not. We only learn that through doing.

May 08, 2020     Daily Post

Which Of These Would You Rather Buy From?

Which Of These Would You Rather Buy From?

You’ve seen both of these. Which would you rather buy form?

“I need you to buy this thing so I can get what I want.” For examples of this, open Instagram and scroll down until a sponsored post emerges. You’ll find them. It’s this undertone that makes us not trust them.

“I’ve made this and it’s bloody brilliant, have it if you want it.” For examples of this, watch someone like Jobs or Gates reveal something they’ve worked on. It’s this undertone that makes us want what they made.

If you hold up the work above yourself, we trust you more. If you hold up yourself above the rest of us, we scroll on by.

Which are you doing with your marketing communication?

May 07, 2020     Daily Post

No Snowflakes

No Snowflakes

Why live by how we feel, if we allow our feelings to be controlled by external forces?

Don’t feel like making the call? Modify your state: the only people who don’t get the jitters when needing to make an important call are those who maintain a discipline of making a lot of important calls. If the resistance breeds resistance, action breeds action.

Don’t feel like writing that email? Modify your state: if it could produce a 1/100 chance of new business for your team, while producing a genuine transformation for the recipient, giving up at email #27 makes little sense. We grow when we do difficult things against difficult odds. Conveniently, writing emails to people need not be “hard”.

Don’t feel like hitting that task? Modify your state: you get to choose between behaving like a high-performer or like a spoilt child. Our reactions to tasks we don’t feel like doing can enable growth: we either assign it to a better suitor, or if we’re the best fit for the task, we get to develop mental strength by pushing through the I-don’t-feel-like-its.

Modify your state to modify your outcome. Or make room for someone who will, for the benefit of your peers and those in your care.

May 06, 2020     Daily Post

Write It Up For Me

Write It Up For Me

You could try to grab my attention with texts and alerts.

Or you could write it up for me properly, so I can get to it when I can.

You may be shooting “alerts” to people almost daily. Requests of people’s immediate attention in order to move things forward. “Are you there?” “What’s the latest?” This information rarely gets communicated well, and it never gets communicated in ways that transcend the alert for posterity.

You could be writing it up properly. A thoughtful email or post that addresses what you would have said if the answer to “Are you there?” was “Yes” anyway. Where whatever “the latest” is gets captured in an organised, searchable format that will serve as a valuable artefact today and in months to come.

Which sounds more conducive to effective communication (despite seeming slower)?

Which sounds more like things will get done faster (despite seeming slower)?

Next time you want to move fast, slow down.

May 05, 2020     Daily Post

The Good Side Of Stress

The Good Side Of Stress

What is “stressed out”? Is there a “good side” of stress?

Consider your body:

When you stress your muscles, then relax, they grow. Physically, here we’re doing a full, solid workout. Mentally, this is where we might feel a little overwhelmed, or as though we’ve committed to something bold. And then we relax.

When your muscles don’t experience any stress, they don’t grow. Physically, here we’re being a couch-potato. We skipped the workout. Again. Mentally, this is where we played it safe, did things the way we did them last time, and avoided doing hard things.

When your muscles experience stress for prolonged periods, they get damaged. Physically, this is where you push too hard and pull something (that you still feel two days later). Mentally, this is when you do hard things… well into the night, every night, until you become a grumpy wreck.

I suspect you’ve tried all three of these scenarios. And that until now, you’ve considered “stress” to be a bad thing.

What if a little “stress” – without “stressing out” – is just what the doctor ordered?

May 04, 2020     Daily Post

Assumptions They Make

Assumptions They Make

What if a door-to-door salesman wasn’t selling crap?

We rarely care to find out – the assumption is that it’s something we don’t want, and the door gets closed (or it never gets opened to begin with).

Those you wish to serve are making assumptions about you:

  • “Professional agency? Probably can’t afford that right now.” They’ll assume you’re overpriced because most don’t anticipate assumptions, unless you dispel fears with your accommodating options. They can’t know if you don’t tell them.
  • “Coach? Ugh, don’t need to talk about my feelings with anyone.” They’ll assume you’re all woo-woo and no results, unless you unpack the results you create, rather than the means you leverage. They can’t know if you don’t tell them.
  • “New software or system? Don’t have time for that.” They’ll assume they don’t, unless you’re able to show then–quickly–that this system was designed for speed. Designed to migrate everything perfectly and enhance performance, no risk attached. They can’t know if you don’t tell them.

If there’s a need, the rest is mostly a communication problem.

May 03, 2020     Daily Post

Ads Disguised as Products

Ads Disguised as Products

Hands up if you’ve ever had to go looking for single-cell round batteries on Christmas Day, because somebody got a present that didn’t have batteries included.

How annoying is it when the manufacturer didn’t anticipate the recipient wanting to turn it on when they got it?

There’s a lot of content online that ships without batteries – and you can only get those batteries if you sign up for the more expensive offering.

Marketing techniques like this can actually be pretty effective in generating low figure sales… But they dilute the value of your word in the process. Is it worth it? Really?

If low-ticket single-purchase operations sound appealing to you, go right ahead.

But if you want to build something significant, remember:

  • Is this an ad disguised as a product? If your content doesn’t offer value right out of the box, then it’s an ad, not the support or solution your prospects are looking for. Let them be clear on the difference.
  • If you blur the lines, your audience may become wary of the products and services you offer to them, fearing they may not get the substance you say they will.

The disguise doesn’t work anymore.

May 02, 2020     Daily Post

The Secret Of Local Business

The Secret Of Local Business

People like doing business locally, don’t they?

There’s still a grandfathered appreciation for the idea of working with local businesses. The thought that “if this person is local, they must be like me.”

But this is only implied.

If you’re in New York, it’s the assumption that if this person is also in New York, they must know what my world is like and what problems I have, better than someone from Munich.

This is a communication problem, not a location problem.

Through good communication – be it on a website or advertisement or simply a phone call – you can articulate, express and unpack that you understand what it’s like to be that person in New York – even if you’re based in Munich.

Soon it won’t matter where your company is based – every business has the opportunity to make explicit what was previously implicit…with good communication.

May 01, 2020     Daily Post

Caterpillars In Your Broccoli

Caterpillars In Your Broccoli

Nobody’s returning food right now.

Food’s trickier to get when the market freezes and the pandemic dissuades you from going into stores personally.

Food quality appears to be going down. Rotting lettuce, moldy bread and caterpillars in your broccoli. Who’s gonna return it when it’s that or nothing?

We’ll remember this when the market recovers. The time when we needed you and you rested on your laurels. The time you could have led us, but instead you focused on expanding your margins.

Maintaining your standards when you don’t have to (or when nobody’s looking) will also be remembered. We won’t see a “return on our integrity” right away, nor is it a “metric worth tracking”.

But it’s the one most worthy of your investment.