5 Steps To Making Things People Want

Here’s the subject line ‘just curious’ email I got the other day. Maybe you got one too? The marketing consultant had gone to the trouble to know my name, but that’s where the personalisation ended.

“Hi Bernadette,

By any chance, are you interested in solutions for getting sales appointments and leads?
XYZ does so on multiple channels. Our package integrates phone, email and Linkedin marketing.
This results in a better chance of contacting prospects and setting up more meetings.
You get to work with dedicated lead generation experts, a vast contact database and an advanced CRM tool. All these combined expedite the lead generation process. Our Campaign Specialist can tell you more about how our solution works. If you’re open for a quick call to discuss, please send me the best day and time and your direct number.”

The ‘by any chance’ method is not a marketing strategy and it’s no way to build a sustainable business. Here’s the alternative.

5 Steps To Making Things People Want

1. Understand who they are.
2. Listen to what they say.
3. Watch what they do.
4. Understand who they want to become.
5. Make the thing that gets them from here to there.

When you’ve earned the privilege to be curious about people you care about serving, to listen to what they want, and to observe who they want to become, you don’t have to work so hard to make them pay attention to what’s on offer.

Image by Daniel Gregory.

The Easy Way To Create A Mission And Vision Statement

There’s something beyond skill, talent, investment and resources that powers the most successful companies, and that’s a clear sense of where they are going and why. When you have a compass it’s not only easier to get to where you want to go, it’s also possible to take people with you.

I’ve written previously about how to write your mission statement but since it’s easy to get confused between mission and vision I thought I’d break it down.

Your mission statement describes what you do today and what happens because you exist. Your vision statement describes your future impact—the result and effect of executing on your mission. In their simplest form a mission and vision can we summarised in a single sentence.

We do, make, create, serve, empower [ABC], [XYZ] happens because we did [ABC].

Using this model we could describe the Airbnb mission and vision as follows:

Our mission is to build a community-driven hospitality company, that makes travellers all over the world feel like they belong anywhere.

Now it’s your turn.

Image by Michael R. Perry.

The Power Of What We Measure

It’s easier than ever before to create a set of metrics by which to monitor our progress and measure our success. Click-through rates, subscriber numbers, impressions and customer lifetime value are useful data points.

What if we measured our success by the results we delivered for our customers? Not what the customer did for us, but what we helped them to do.

How would that change the posture of our businesses, societies and the stories we both lived and told?

Image by Brandon Doran.

Who Exactly?

Who exactly is your ideal customer?

Was her mobile phone on her bedside table when she woke up this morning? Did she reach for it as soon as she opened her eyes? Or did she go for a run before sun up, then sip hot water and lemon as she scrolled through her Facebook feed? Did she catch the train to work, pack lunches before doing the school run, or head to the nearest cafe with nothing but her laptop and a full inbox.

How does she spend her weekends? Does she prefer the art gallery or a night club? What brings her joy? What does she put off doing until the very last minute? What does she care enough about to pay extra for? Where is she hoping life will take her?

Only once you have a sense of all of this, are you really ready to begin.

Image by Melina Souza.

The Unsurprising Way To Find More Customers

There was clearly a big job of work to do on the old Victorian home close to where we live.
We didn’t envy either the owners, or the painting contractor who was slowly and carefully laying down dust sheets on that first morning, long before many people had started their day.

The painter worked alone, quietly and methodically sanding, undercoating and finishing each part of the project before moving to the next. It took a week of noticing him every day before I asked for his number.

Peter didn’t have a branded van, or a sandwich board on the pavement, or business cards he could give to passers by. All he had was his work and that was enough.

In our rush to grow we sometimes forget that the best way to attract more customers is to do the kind of work that people want to both, experience and talk about.

Image by Mike.

3 Things Your About Page Must Do

Your website’s about page is the place where prospective customers come to look you in the virtual eye and it’s also the most overlooked marketing opportunity you have.

3 Things Your Website’s About Page Must Do

1. Build trust.
Think about the reasons we visit about pages. Mostly we want to get a sense of the values of the person or company we’re considering doing business with and to understand what it might be like to work with them.

2. Make the reader feel understood and show how you can help solve her problem.
When you really know the audience you’re serving, you can speak directly to them about the kind of challenges they are facing and describe how you can, and have helped people in similar situations.

3. Tell the reader what to do next.
Without a call to action you’re just inviting the potential customer to leave.
Your about page must have contact details, links your store or services and to other resources on your website.

When you give prospective customers a reason to hang around a bit longer they often do.

Image by wee.

The Gap Between Saying And Doing

You will have seen this image of a goldfish making a courageous leap from his bowl on countless websites. It’s meant to convey a message about a company that’s not afraid to challenge the status quo, of course it’s now so ubiquitous, it does exactly the opposite.

Nobody in the marketing department got fired for using the leaping fish, and nobody who encountered it cared.

Our stories live in the gap between what we say and what we do.

The best brand stories by their very nature stand out because they feel new, and fresh, and true.

If you want something safe go with the fish.

If you want something meaningful go with true.

Image by McBeth.

What Your Competitors Can’t Copy

Back in the day our neighbour had to buy her gluten-free products from a tiny and very expensive range of products at the local pharmacy. If you wanted organic products you trekked across town to a speciality store. Not so today.

As demand drives supply, competitors enter new markets and what was once a tiny but healthy monopoly can become a race to stay ahead of the competition. And so we look for ways to give customers reasons to choose us. We invite them to compare with a ‘this over that’ argument.

The best brands thrive because they are beyond compare. The loyalty and love of their customers is not just determined by what’s inside the package (quality is a given). The best brands win by creating meaning and a connection with their customers in ways that their competitors could never hope to copy.

Brand affinity, trumps brand awareness every time.

3 Questions To Help You Find Your Niche

Look in the jewellery shop windows in any western city and you’ll notice the same trends—rings, bracelets and necklaces designed to appeal to what most people like the look of. Jewellery designer Megan Auman found her niche by marrying her talents as a metalsmith and designer, to create pieces that would change how a particular kind of woman felt, (not just how she looked) when she put them on.

Three Questions For You


1. What do the people you serve want and need?

You must get to know them almost as well as you know yourself.

2. How does the value you create best intersect with the worldview and desires of those people?
Understanding this helps you to make something people want, instead of having to make people want something.

3. What brings you the most joy?

There are a million and one things you can do, what is it that you must do?

Image by Nefatron.

The Marketing Should Be Invisible

The vibration you feel when you plug your iPhone in to charge—that’s marketing. The texture of the sheets as you pull back the covers of a hotel bed, jazz playing on a good stereo at the cafe, the ease with which the milk carton opens, daring to have an insane mode—all marketing.

We spend a lot of our time trying to be seen and heard. Traditional marketing’s answer to rising above the noise is to create more noise.

The irony is when we do things so well that they are simply sensed or felt, we don’t even have to talk about them.

What’s your invisible marketing strategy?

Image by Ashraf Siddiqui.

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