Marketing lessons from the steam room.
The other night I went to have a steam at the local swimming complex. I go there to ponder my thoughts and wonder if I’ll ever achieve my boyhood dream of ruling the world. But wouldn’t you know it, something stopped my pondering; it was the raging discussion about everything from Australia being a corporation to free speech and the truth about COVID. Also, did you know we never landed on the moon?
In the room were two general points of view.
The first was loud, factually fluid, and convincingly presented. The second was much less popular, far more reserved in its presentation, and sought to understand the nuances of what was being said. At this point, I’ll call myself out because I get genuinely frustrated when someone is condescending, and the above could well be considered just that.
This conversation, though, highlighted something to me. The highlight was that most of us don’t really care about right and reasonable. We want the ideas that most align with us to win the day’s argument. Anything that’s out of view is out of mind regardless of which side of something you sit on.
This revelation coincides with a pondering from late last week — when I realized that my entire premise on marketing is to sell results based on experience, research, and reason. This basically means I’ve come up with and dived into selling a form of selling that is less about selling and more about solving, but nobody seems to care about that — not the masses at least — so I might be screwed.
Two things to note.
- When you “sell” a solution. You aren’t trying to sell to everyone. Solutions are not popularity contests. Which is a good thing since (as just mentioned) nobody cares about solutions except the people involved in implementing them.
- People follow people. Even if you look at the data, the person that interprets that data is who you’re listening to.
Point 2 is behind so much it’s borderline scary. We think after we feel, and we feel what other people say. So really, if you need to get a message across: put a person first, get them to express a feeling, and only then offer the solution.
My point — that people are more persuasive than any single fact, reason, or solution — is underscored with these two examples.
Elon Musk’s production targets.
We know the facts and realities are very far apart when these are presented. But because he’s so mega-successful and famous and seen as a quirky genius. We’ll believe pretty much anything he says because, if nothing else, we want his claim to end up being proven true.
Hugo Boss and Chris Hemsworth.
I know that no matter how hard I try in the gym, how genuine my intentions are (to impress my girlfriend), and no matter what experimental substance I consume. I know, objectively, that I cannot look like Thor. But when I see Mr Hemsworth strutting around in a Hugo Boss suit. I want that suit. I feel like that’s a super-suit that I could, somehow, find a way to afford. Even though, objectively, spending $3000 on a suit is a different kind of difficult to swallow. Those facts don’t matter as much as me wanting to look fantastic.
How to be personal.
If you read enough marketing materials, they’ll sum standing out to being ‘different’… Here’s my learning on the topic: Being yourself is different enough because most people don’t have the balls to be that honest. Here’s the thing, if or when you show people who you are, there are two benefits.
The First) Speed. Things go faster because you see who’s trying to tell you something.
2) It’s safer. If you put your name to it, sure, there’s the risk of being cancelled or vilified or having a little bit too much popularity (which can lead to stalkers and hackers wanting your passwords). But it’s also true that if you put out content by yourself, nobody else can copy you. I mean, they can, literally. But that would be weird, called out, and the whole fraud would naturally unravel. Especially if you put your content out consistently. Consistency is how you get the credit and, most likely — the business.
That’s what I learned about marketing while trying to think about nothing.