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Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 04 2021
Can We Do That Again?

Can We Do That Again?

Some things are one-off events.

Special moments that can never be repeated. An amazing find in an antique store. A one-time event for one night only.

Most events aren’t like that.

One of the reasons people buy iPhones is because they know there’ll be another ready for them in 2-4 years time when they replace their current one.

One of the reasons people buy from Amazon is because they’ll probably be able to find what they’re looking for when it’s time to pick up a quick something online.

One of the reasons people stick with their cell phone provider or ISP is because “better the devil you know”.

Showing up today for your customers is important.

Whether or not you’ll show up tomorrow is equally important to us, today.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 04 2021
Gurus Everywhere!

Gurus Everywhere!

There are gurus everywhere in the business world.

Let’s rank them:

#1 Obvious Frauds: These say all the right things in their blog posts and social bios, but struggle to back up their claims in live social environments like Clubhouse. The illusion breaks down when asked probing questions.

#2 Subtle Frauds: These say all the right things even in social environments like Clubhouse, where they can chip in with quotes that reenforce their claims. The illusion breaks down when discussing one-on-one and there’s nowhere to hide.

#3 Experts: These guys say all the right things and may even have bestselling courses to back up their claims. The illusion breaks down when customers are able to connect with each other and realise they’ve all failed to get any results.

#4 Practitioners: These guys tend to be a bit quieter, and thus are harder to find. They’re busy doing the work, learning from mistakes, trying new things, making results happen in the lives of those who trust them. The illusion doesn’t break down because there is no illusion.

Which are you following for advice?

Which are you doing business with?

Types 1–3 will cost you. Type 4 is worth the search.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 02 2021
It Could Be The Message

It Could Be The Message

If your outbound calls aren’t working, it could be the way the calls are being handled or operated. Or it could simply be that you aren’t saying the right things to the right people.

If your conversion rate is down, it could be your layout is suboptimal or your testing suite isn’t being utilised properly. Or it could simply be that you aren’t saying the right things to the right people.

If your paid advertising results are creating a negative ROAS, it could be your understanding of how to effectively use the platform is off. Or it could simply be that you aren’t saying the right things to the right people.

It could be a technical, tactical, channel-specific thing that’s holding things up.

Or it could be the message.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 01 2021
Shifting the Pile

Shifting the Pile

I’ve bought and filled more Moleskine notebooks than I could count, over more than a decade. I keep a pile of them ready to dip into so I need never stop jotting.

Over a decade of brand loyalty exists there.

But if someone at LEUCHTTURM1917 (a competing, similar brand) reached out and showed me personal care and interest in my world, the pile would shift.

Many notebook brands could go first, and shift the pile.

Showing care and interest in your audience is often looked down upon as an unviable form of marketing.

Yet it could displace a decade of brand loyalty in a day.

Seems pretty powerful to me.

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.

Don’t.

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.

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