A little over a year ago my summer intern (paid in case you’re wondering), undertook a market research project for me. She reached out to fourth year College students across Canada, or as we would say in the great white north, University students, who had all expressed an interest in becoming entrepreneurs sometime in the future. Many already had side gigs. Our goal was to identify their biggest challenges so we could figure out how we could best help them. I was expecting to hear a lot about marketing, raising capital, and other business oriented topics. We got some of that, but by far the biggest challenge that these students shared with us was much more basic. They know that they need to fill gaps in their knowledge, they just don’t know who to trust when it comes to filling those gaps.
This is a generation that was born with technology and can access something in the order of 44 zettabytes of data by simply using their phone. Now if like me you don’t have a clue what a zettabyte is, I’m told it means that there are 40 times more bytes on the internet than there are stars in the observable universe. Is it any wonder people are confused? We can find answers to any question we might want to ask. Even to questions we don’t want to ask. But how do we know if the information we’re getting can be trusted? And that’s just passive searches.
When it comes to marketing, I think this is one of the least understood realities. Phillip Stutts, my guest on Episode 106 put it this way:
“Marketing is kind of a metaphor for life right now? You must earn trust with clients and customers. You cannot demand trust. If you have trust, your marketing will work. If you just throw a bunch of ads up and think it’s going to convert without earning trust first, you’re not going to have that. And that’s kind of how it is in life”.
Philip knows a thing or two about marketing. He’s the author of Fire Them Now: The 7 Lies Digital Marketers Sell. Phillip was kind enough to send me an autographed copy and I would highly recommend the book to any entrepreneur or individual that is involved in marketing.
Phillip also has more than 20 years of political and marketing experience. He’s worked with multiple Fortune 200 companies, and contributed to over 1,200 election victories, including hundreds of U.S. House campaigns, dozens of U.S. Senate campaigns, and even three U.S. Presidential victories.
Stutts has made more than 200 national TV appearances and has also appeared on some of the world’s most popular podcasts including Gary Vaynerchuk’s The DailyVee, The James Altucher Show, The Dr. Drew Podcast, and of course Screw the Naysayers.
When we talked about the trust issue, Phillip candidly admitted that his failure to earn trust with potential clients was the reason his first corporate marketing agency failed.
“I tried to get clients, right? I was screaming from the hilltops. I’ve got this model. I was screaming trust? But I hadn’t earned their trust. I just demanded their trust. And I failed in trying to create a corporate marketing agency. And I couldn’t figure out why, cause I was like, I’m trying, I’m the guy you can trust. I was demanding it. And if you think about this, like in the way marketing works today, people throw up a bunch of Facebook ads or a bad website or an SEO spray and pray and it’s all tactics and they’re demanding you buy something from them. Well that doesn’t work. I mean, it may work in the short run. It’s not going to work in the long run. That’s a tactic. Earning trust is a strategy and putting a strategy that understands how your customers think and feel and how they want to connect with your brand or your client or your customer or your company. I mean that’s what works, right? And that is because if you make a connection, you earn trust. So how do you build trust with the consumer? The only way you can do that is to build a strategy around how they feel and how they think”.
So much about what Phillip said resonated with me, but I’ll also say that that last sentence is killer. “The only way you can do that is to build a strategy around how they feel and how they think”. And yet in my experience most people seem to be building digital marketing strategies around themselves. Look at me! I’ve got experience, I understand your problem, and I can show you how to solve it. I, I, I…It’s all about them. It’s easy to identify potential pain points for people. That’s why everybody and their brother can show you how to attract an infinite supply of your dream customers. But do they know what you’re feeling? Do they know what tactics you’ve tried? Do they know why you’re customers aren’t buying? Do they know what your prospects are saying, what your customers are saying? The truth is if you’re looking to build a sustainable business you must take the time to build relationships and engage with your potential customers at the level that they are at. And you’re going to have to demonstrate over and over again that you know what it’s like to be in your prospects shoes. This is hard work and it takes time.
I’ll leave you with this last thought. If you have to tell someone that they can trust you, they don’t trust you. Telling them won’t change their mind. This is Tim, and until next time, remember, Screw the Naysayers. They Suck Anyways. Tim…