Another great webinar courtesy of Vocus (#vocuswebinar) by Seth Godin (@sethgodin) entitled "No Secrets. No Shortcuts."
Implicit in the title is there is no silver bullet, there are no secrets and there are no short cuts to successfully developing, marketing or acclerating sales of a product of service.
You must create a product or service that has a meaningful differentiation from competing products. Ideally something remarkable.
Following are 15 key takeaways from Seth's presentation in addition to my thoughts based on my experience:
- Your story must be true. Authenticity and transparency are key. If your story is not true, you will be found out and you will be called out on social media. See Amy's Baking Company's social media gaffe that may well end their business.
- Tell your story to people who want to hear it. People who have already expressed interest in your product or service want to know more. They've "opted-in" to hearing your story. Tell them more to improve your relationship with them and make it sufficiently interesting that they will want to tell their friends. This is how something goes "viral" and is the concept behind inbound marketing. Enhance the relationship with people who have identified themselves as your prospects.
- What are you making that's worth talking about? What about your product or service is "different and better" than anything else out there. If yours is a "me too" product or service, nobody's going to talk about it.
- Earn people's permission to engage with them. Permission is the ability to tell truthful, relevant stories to people who want to hear them. The recipient determines what's spam. You must earn the privledge to engage with them. Real permission is when you are missed. This is the emotional connection to the brand for which we ultimately strive.
- People want "me" mail, not email. Email must be relevant to, and meaningful for, the recipient. If it's not, don't expect it to be read. If you don't provide sufficient value, your emails will end up in the spam folder.
- The internet takes word-of-mouth and amplies it 1000 times. This allows small and medium-sized enterprises to compete with Fortune 1000 companies, build a following and accelerate sales.
- "Remarkable" = worth making a remark about. What about your product or service is remarkable? What can you do to make it so? If nothing, is it "different and better?"
- A tribe is a group of people who are connected and care about each other. Who is your tribe? Everyone wants to feel part of something. Successful brands today grow by connecting consumers to one another. What can you do to create a tribe or a community?
- We are in the "Connection Economy." Being connected to other people is where we are going after being hammered by mass, unpersonalized, irrelevant media. The four elements of the "Connection Economy" are: 1) coordination of the message across all channels -- consistent, honest, transparent; 2) trust -- people in a tribe trust each other; 3) permission -- people have said they want to engage with you; and, 4) exchange of ideas -- value is created when we share ideas.
- People don't want to connect with distrustful people or companies -- people and companies that take, but give nothing of value in return. Be relevant, be reliable, be responsive, be real, or be gone.
- If your ideas spread, you win! Good ideas, that are different, spread quickly. You need to be creative to differentiate yourself and be irreplaceable.
- Sharing information of value is generous. Be generous, be vulnerable, take ownership. The internet punishes people who hoard information and reward people who share it. Google is a great example.
- Decide to stand up and make a difference. Do it because it matters. Do it because you can. Do it because others are afraid to make the commitment to be different and better.
- Make an incredible product that people want to talk about. Faking it is worse than not doing it at all.
- Be purposeful in noticing what's going on around you. What can you do to solve a problem? To improve the quality of life? To save people time? To make people's lives easier?
I believe having an in-depth dialogue with people will help you uncover their needs and wants. The people you are speaking with won't necessarily be able to provide you with exactly what they need, but by listening to enough needs, you can create the solution that benefits a significant segment of people.
It also helps to have transparent, authentic and honest leadership who are committed to developing and delivering remarkable products and services in a remarkable way. The commitment must begin at the top if it's going to be executed by empowered employees.