Why Marketing Hurts Your Growth and What to Do About It

social media viewpointsHave you noticed the tried-and-true forms of marketing are rapidly losing their luster? People aren’t responding. Prospects are harder to find. Customers are tuning out.

As a marketer or business owner, what in the world can you do to grow to your business? I’ve struggled with these very issues.

I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news: You really can rapidly grow a loyal following. The bad news: You may need to rethink the way you market your business. If you’re ready for change, keep reading.

In this article I’ll reveal a new (yet proven) method of achieving rapid growth in the social age. It’s the very model I employed to grow Social Media Examiner into one of the world’s top business blogs.

But let me warn you. I’m going to challenge much of what you’ve learned about marketing, but the ideas I’ll share here will resonate with your core.

Where’s Your Focus?

changeHave you noticed that everything is changing? Your industry advances, ideas expand, products morph and your customers move on. Similar to space travel, everything’s hurtling forward. Nothing remains still. Just when you think you have everything figured out, it all changes!

As a marketer or business owner, you’ve likely wondered, “Will my business survive?” or “Am I ready for the next big change?”

Here’s the funny thing. We’re all so focused on what’s next that we’ve overlooked the most important thing that doesn’t really change. Can you guess what that is?

The one thing that remains constant is people. I’m talking about you, your peers, your customers, your prospects and your partners. Yes, they might jump to the competition, but at their core they don’t really change.

peopleEveryone wants access to valuable insight, great people and recognition BEFORE they want products or services. If you can focus on the true desires of people, you’re halfway to a successful mission.

Where’s your focus? Are you focused on yourself, your products and your company? Or are you looking outward?

Why Marketing Fails

Are you frustrated with the undelivered promises of marketing?

american marketing associationAccording to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Key in on the words “exchanging offerings.” That phrase implies a mutual interaction. We’ve been taught that marketing is like a gift exchange. Acme Company gives something and Joe customer is obligated to respond. In reality, marketing has become a way to force people into obligatory situations.

fishWe’ve been treating people like fish. We’ve been taught to simply crawl into a boat, paddle out to where the customers are, grab our reel and cast out on top of customers. Then just jiggle that bait the right way and you’ll be able to force a customer into your boat!

It’s no wonder that customers don’t trust businesses! According to the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer, trusting companies trumps good products and services. But let me be blunt: People don’t trust your business.

Add to this that marketing messages are raining down on people EVERYWHERE they go. You can’t escape marketing. Heck, it’s even in bathroom stalls. In fact, this channel overload has caused many people to seek refuge. Your customers have tuned out.

If people don’t trust you and aren’t paying attention, what can you do? This is a big challenge for businesses.

Naturally, you might be asking some of these questions:

  • How can I attract quality leads, prospects and opportunity without actively selling?
  • Is there an easy way to establish trust with prospects and customers? Can I break through the noise?

There is good news.

How to Build a Raving Fan Base

If you want to connect with customers and attract raving fans, the solution is very simple: Focus on people.

You can meet the needs of people by helping them solve their problems at no cost. Remember that people’s core desires don’t change. Your audience wants access to great insight and people.

When you help people with their smaller problems, many will look to you for their bigger issues. If you can multiply free assistance by hundreds, thousands or millions of people, you can rapidly grow your business.

Content enables this!

When you provide engaging “how-to” information and assistance in the form of valuable gifts (without strings attached), it triggers the “How much more?” question. “How much more value will I gain if I hire this company or buy this product?” is the response many will have when they see the great value you provide for free.

I’ve developed a simple formula to show you how to grow.

Introducing the Elevation Principle

Here’s my formula for growth. It’s called the elevation principle. When you follow this model, you’ll be able to take your business to new heights.

The elevation principle: Great content PLUS other people MINUS marketing messages EQUALS growth!

elevation formula

When you combine great content that's focused on the needs of your audience and lacks any obvious marketing messages with other people, your business can rapidly grow.

When you offer great content—such as detailed how-to articles, expert interviews, case studies and videos—that focuses on helping other people solve their problems, you’ll experience growth. Why? Because this type of content meets the needs of people. It doesn’t focus on you, your products or your company. It is a true gift to your audience.

The “other people” component not only means focusing on the needs of people. It also transcends your reader base and involves reaching out to people outside your company, such as industry experts. These outside experts possess amazing knowledge that your audience will find very valuable.

The last part of the formula is to deliver this content in a marketing-free zone. Once the marketing messages are caged, the focus of your company shifts from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?” You shift from pitching products to boosting people. Instead of investing in ad space, you invest in creating content, experiences, gathering places and communities where people who need help can find it.

You have the chance to own the place people go to for help, eliminating your reliance on traditional marketing channels. You can become the center of your industry, niche or local market. And when that happens, you’re launched on an unstoppable trajectory that will take you places you never imagined possible.

The result: You no longer need to sell! Instead, you demonstrate your expertise by the content you produce, the ideas you showcase, the stories you share and the people you attract. By creating a platform for others, you can also build strategic alliances, quickly grow a large following and dominate your industry.

launch

When you follow the elevation principle, your business will experience rapid growth while your competitors will struggle to survive.

With the old forms of marketing, you pitch and sell. People ignore you and your business is at risk. With the new method, you give gifts, people trust you and you become indispensable. Which course will you take?

The entire elevation principle is documented in the new book titled Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition. Click here for a FREE sample chapter.

What do you think? Have you employed content marketing with success? Are you working with outside experts? Please leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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  • http://packageyourgenius.com/ Michele Welch

    Hi Michael,

    Very informative post indeed. “…the focus of your company shifts from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?” ” That’s a very important distinction to make.

    Here’s the dilemma and maybe you can help me out here. I agree that providing great value and putting 100% of your focus on others is the key here. But if your site is just an information hub and no marketing is done, how do you sustain your business?

    I’ve come across people who didn’t know what I did b/c I didn’t do anything to market my services. My business has become a free information hub. Maybe I’m missing the point here… maybe your book will clarify that. ;-)

    Anyway, thanks for the tips. It sure has my thinking. BTW, Elevation Principle?? Cool formula. :-)

  • http://www.colemanmg.com Antonio Coleman

    The concept of marketing is always changing because something new is hitting the net. But regardless if you follow the right marketing steps, then you can continue to get more customers.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Michele,

    Great question! You need to have a way to capture a following when people come to consume your content.For example, an email list that folks can sign up for to get more of your great content. Then you use that list to let people know about your services, etc.  Your content remains commercial free and you use this alternative to channel to get the work out about what you sell.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    Very awesome Mike. I just wrote an article about this yesterday. It’s funny.. I use to do a lot of sales and to talk about anything other than sales, was completely absurd. 

    Now, to talk about strictly sales, is in many cases, completely absurd! It’s backwards, and I love it. I never liked forcing people into awkward situations, which is all you’re doing when you’re scream marketing. I’m thrilled about this. 

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Mike I’m so excited to read your new book as you have truly paved the way as a thought leader who understands the value of people. Successful marketing in a wired world is all about losing self-interest, and for many this is a whole new mindset. I’ve enjoyed working with you on Social Media Examiner and I’m honored to contribute to the resource. You continue to inspire me to be better each day!

  • http://twitter.com/ash_686 ash_86

    very informative and helpful…. but if i have been online and have been sharing information and supporting some causes does that make me a strong mean of marketing, and how can i reach to Other People???

  • http://www.fromdreamstolifestyle.com Patrick

    Very helpful. Marketing has definitely become so prominent that it has become oblivious to the average person. Usefulness and focusing on the peoples needs is definitely one of the best ways to stand out in terms of growing your business.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Stephanie!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Times… they are a changing aren’t they Ryan

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Ash, take a look at the free first chapter of my new book Launch to get a fuller understanding.  See http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/launch/

  • http://packageyourgenius.com/ Michele Welch

    Thanks Michael. I actually do offer an e-newsletter currently. Guess I have to step up my marketing on this platform a bit more.

    I have to admit thought, the idea of taking down my banners shakes me a bit. It’s definitely the norm with many blogs to add these as a form of monetization.  But then again, it’s the non-conformist and those that do things differently, that stand out in the crowd, is it not? ;-)

    I guess if you are going above and beyond with giving value than people trust you and will be more opt to buy suggested products or order your services. Just makes sense. Gotta love the Law of Reciprocity. :P

    Thanks again.  You’ve left much food for thought.

    Have a wonderful week!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Michele – Check out the 1st chapter of my book (free) here to help calm your nerves.  And BTW, this is NOT about the rule of reciprocity at all.

    See http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/launch/

  • http://packageyourgenius.com/ Michele Welch

    Got it. Reading it as we speak, LOL. Thanks. :D

  • http://pajamaproductivity.com Annie Sisk

    I’m not sure the need for selling expertise will ever go away. But that said, content marketing is so popular these days precisely because it does work. The key, as I’ve learned the hard way both in my own experience and working with clients, is to stop skipping points in the funnel. Don’t push people reading your content to “buy now!” Gently lead them to sign up for your list, or subscribe to your feed, or download your (longer, meatier) ebook content. There’s a tendency to want to jump from the wide-mouth collection point to the “sign them up and close the sale” point at the narrowest part of the marketing funnel, without going through the intermediate steps. So new clients with new blogs and social media plans and lots of content going out start wondering where their new clients are, and I have to explain (again) “you can’t build the perception of trustworthiness and the aura of expertise or authority overnight. This is gonna take some time.” I also think this is where a lot of marketers fail, especially those in my target clientele, the solo/small business owners and freelancers: they give up way too soon. 

  • Dorawilliams

    in the past two moths, i have had to stop representing a site that doesn’t get his.  as an independent rep, with a great contact list, i have to protect my reputation.  if a client is not interested in aggressively pursuing marketing solutions for their partners, how can i really help?  it is a mind set.  how can i sell more whatever for you?

  • Ben Comer

    Mike- thanks so much for posting the article! I could not agree more. As a salesperson I’ve learned that people don’t buy because they understand but because they feel understood. That’s a subtle difference that many sales & marketing types don’t realize. Your principle really hits the nail on the head in terms of properly understanding a prospective customer’s needs.

    The Elevation Principle relates to some of the concepts from the book Wikinomics, which argues why collaboration facilitates economic growth. Obviously the Elevation Principle is not rocket science (no pun intended) but it provides an effective and concise formula for building a loyal customer base. Your point makes perfect sense Mike because word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective form of advertising. In order to generate word-of-mouth, businesses need a loyal customer base that values their product/service.

    http://www.amazon.com/Wikinomics-Mass-Collaboration-Changes-Everything/dp/B004J8HXOA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307382161&sr=1-1 

  • Libralaughing

    Am I the only person who finds an image of an African-American man with a fish hook in his mouth offensive?

  • Scott Linklater

    Wow! Seriously, that was one of the best articles I have ever read! I’ve
    heard many parts of that before in one form or another and we all know you have to focus on
    helping people…but I haven’t heard it said in a way that resonated so
    much with me since I heard:

    “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people
    get what they want”

    I’m not going to put a name to it coz that’s a
    whole debate there as to who’s quote it is……doesn’t matter, it’s
    just a great quote no matter who coined it.

    Well you have conveyed the message amazingly and made
    its relevance to the times we live in make it even more powerful than
    ever before!

    Very very impressive article, congratulations.

    Scott

  • http://mrtunes.ca/ Mr. Tunes

    hi michelle, i think you have a lot of the important things in place on your site. my only recommendation would be to simplify the funnel a little bit. also maybe the services you’re offering don’t line up with what kind of visitors you’ve brought in?

  • http://www.braveriver.com Chad

    Mike! You’re so right in regards to the old-school fisherman mentailty many businesses still have. Interestingly enough I use this metaphore frequently with clients and it’s true, business WILL benefit from being a “scubadiver” (interacting with clients in a meaningful manner) instead of the “bait and hook” school of thought still so popular amongst businesses. Thanks for another great post and take care!

  • http://mrtunes.ca/ Mr. Tunes

    hi michael, congrats on the book launch. this is one of the only resources i enjoy reading and coming back to. 

    here’s what i struggle with a bit more: marketing the ‘creative’ work in these channels. for example music and photography don’t always ‘solve a problem’ (unless it’s stock media). if they do, it’s not always something that people are looking for answers with. this is what makes it challenging to get out there. 

  • http://twitter.com/SarahOrchardOMA Sarah Orchard

    Hi Annie. I totally I agree. I work with small businesses and they often want an immediate return, within 3 months or less. And they do give up too soon.

    Customer focus is not a new concept. I’ve worked at it in marketing for 10+ years. But the way it is delivered certainly has changed!

    Great article Michael. Thx.

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    This is a marvelous post Michael!

    Content marketing, when done right, gains the respect of your peers and your followers.

    There’s a dilemma that shows up when you’re doing free content marketing that can be solved very quickly by coaching one on one with clients before launching your product.

    You know that the techniques you teach work. But you have to broaden you definition of “Work” to not only “if “you do it,” but to humans actually “doing it and getting results from it”. “Works” doesn’t mean that if humans do it, they get the outcome. “Works” means humans will actually do it and have done it.   

    You lump any piece of advice that you give to another human being into 3 categories.

    The first category is “Can They Do It?”

    The second category is “Will They Do It?”

    The third category is “Are They Likely To Do It?”

    When you coach and sell one-on-one you very quickly get out of the idealistic land of “Can do”. People
    “can do” anything. The more important question is “Will they do it?”

    If you tell people to do a technique, will they do it? The big awakening that comes when selling is you
    tell people about this great thing you have and how they should buy what you offer but a lot of them don’t because it wasn’t presented in a way were they could see the benefit to them.

    When you start coaching and give people an action step to take and then you check back with them in a
    week to see how it went, you’re gonna find that the majority of people haven’t done anything but make up excuses about why couldn’t do it.

    And it ends up taking working with several clients before you realize that you’re asking people to do things that they just won’t do. This is why you want to focus on “can do”, “will do” and “likely to do”.

    What you’re really hunting for in one-on-one interactions is the things that humans are “Likely To Do,” offers people are likely to respond to, techniques that you teach that are framed in a way that make it most likely that a human will go implement it.

    When you put these “Magic Bullet Free Techniques” in front of your audience, this is one way to get raving fans who can’t wait to pay you to get the next level of stuff that you offer that makes what you gave to them free… work even better.

  • http://www.proformaroi.com Rich Mistkowski

    Mike, thanks for the “pick me up”.  It’s Monday and it sure is a MONDAY.  I’ve been struggling with taking the next steps with my business and with developing content that is useful and relevant.  Having been in sales and marketing for 25 years, I have a lot of “pent up” advice and ideas.  Your post was a refreshing thing today.  Thank you very much.  I’m looking forward to continuing to read more of your posts, as well as look at your new book.

    Thanks again for hitting the “nail on the head” today!

  • http://pschroedcom.com Paul Schroeder

    Mike, there is nothing new under the sun. Much of what you said here is very similar to direct response marketing where good, quality marketers know that the goal is to sell by building a relationship with the customer. Too much of what is passed off as marketing today is based on failed models from the 1980s – 1990s.

  • Karla

    Michael, you are amazing. Im your fan, I hope that one day you can come to Mexico like speaker for my events  ( ecommerce day or emarketing day) http://www.amipci.org.mx,

  • http://packageyourgenius.com/ Michele Welch

    You have a very keen eye Mr. Tunes. ;-)   It’s true, who I “want” to target and who I’m actually targeting are not always in line. Although at times it’s difficult to truly measure as currently my commentators only comprise of about 10% or less of my site visitors.

    Funny enough my FB followers are more of my target market than my commentators on my site. Thanks for the recommendation…ironically enough, focusing on changing my business model has been on the top of my list as of lately.

    I know I have some work to do. All the best! :)

  • Pingback: Yes, Virginia…Traditional Network Marketing Does Give Us Pause « Inside Out

  • http://www.coffeebeantech.com Graham Holt

    Great article Michael. I truly believe in what you wrote here but I have a question.

    You wrote “Are you frustrated with the undelivered promises of marketing?” and the answer of course is yes. 

    BUT how are we to manage the expectations so that we don’t get the same answer to the question “Are you frustrated with the undelivered promises of social marketing”

    The CEO wants “leads” and we give loyal followers. How do we explain the correlation effectively. 

  • Marti_hohmann

    Yes, but customers are also becoming savvy to the “five tips” offering as well, and nobody has embraced this genre more than social marketers. How is it possible to “own the space” when content farms serve up all you’ve said and then some? In my field, “how can we help” the client has become a charade, a distillation of litigation-proof banalities served up by a “tipster” with trumped up authority and way big SEO. (Just track Cesar Milan’s morph from doggie behaviorist to Proctor & Gamble shill.) Social media’s triumph has been the production of meaningless or marginally useful information, diced and sliced, never fact checked or subject to thoughtful peer review. Sorry, I know we’re supposed to be in the middle of a revolution, but it’s wearing thin.  

  • JO Lemmer

    Love your articles.  Thank so much for your outstanding content.

    We created a unique WHO Adelaide community in the last 12 months.  We now have over 125,000 members.  We are all about helping and how to’s and our core hubs are trading sites.  I liken us to all the fun of the fair.  Stop selling, start listening and engaging and above all, be AUTHENTIC-:)  Here’s a link to our community

    http://adelaiderealestatesa.com.au/join-our-community/

  • Francine Bishop

    Hi Mike
    Your session in the Social Media Success Summit, where you shared this in a presentation, was brilliant! 

    I love the way you describe marketing for today. Only a few years ago I paid a lot of money for coaching and I was taught the exact method your describe to fail (love the hooked image) – find the pond where the fish have already gathered, drop in your well baited hook and wait for the punters to take the bait.

    Thankfully I have evolved and learned so much more about marketing since then! but you’re article gives even more clarity and food for thought.

    Congrats on your book launch too!!!
    Francine

  • propagandahouse

    Hey Michael, this is one of my favourite posts I’ve seen on your blog, actually finished it feeling quite inspired! Not enough so to buy your book though (yet).

    It’s a great principle you’ve articulated there, and I think only a select few will truly and honestly grasp it. It takes a lot of courage to set yourself on a path of focussing on helping others, and there can be quite a bit of distance between the start point of the path and the point where you start profiting financially – and this is where the courage to press on comes in. 

    Thanks for getting me thinking!
    Dan

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Dan! Getting your mind moving is a great first step :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Welcome to the new world Francine and thanks for your encouraging words

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Jo!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Marti – People are smarter than you give them credit.  They know when what they reading is truly valuable and not just some rip off of someone elses work.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    I’m not gonna say that social media marketing is the only way to marketing success.  That’s not what I am proposing at all in this article.  In fact I think content is what matters most.  Social helps it spread

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Karla!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Paul – I’m saying what I said is the opposite of what direct marketers proposed in the 1980s and 1990s.  It’s not about getting people to comply by triggering innate responses in their mind.  It’s about giving unconditionally and canning marketing messages.  And it’s a message that needs to be hammered into the heads of marketers across the planet because so many of us have lost our way.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Rich!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    You don’t simply need to figure out a problem that is solved by music or photography, you need to figure out what your prospects are actually into and interested in.  Figure that out and then create content to support their passions.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Chad

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Scott!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    I think a photo of ANY man with a hook in his mouth should be offensive.  The point is that’s how we are treating customers of all color

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Ben!

  • David Stephens

    I was a little surprised to reach the end of the article only to run into a pitch for your book.  There’s nothing wrong with selling a book, and I imagine the content will be remarkable, as is all the other content SME provides.  However, I’m less inclined to buy a pitch after reading an article that basically told me not to expect one.  I felt like the guy in the picture with the hook in his mouth. 

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    David, this post is not an example of commercial-free content. This blog post is promotional and not all content must be commercial free. If you are a regular reader of SME you will note that most of what we do is free of ads. However, as I discuss in my last chapter of my book, there is a time and a place and a way to promote. This post falls into that category. This blog in general meets what I outlined today and in the book. But this post is promotional.

  • http://twitter.com/MarketingXD MarketingXD

    David Stephens is right. The pitches contradict the other content. I would be more likely to buy the book if the messages were more consistent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elisa-Vlad/590067403 Elisa Vlad

    @Michael this phrase will be, from now on, a memento for me: “When you offer great content—such as detailed how-to articles, expert interviews,case studies and videos—that focuses on helping other people solve their problems, you’ll experience growth. Why? Because this type of content meets the needs of people. It doesn’t focus on you, your products or your company. It is a true gift to your audience”. Thanks!
    @mikestelzner:disqus 

  • Dipper

    I agree. Noticed via the RHS bar that the page was long and thus presumed the full article. Get half way through and realise it is an advert to buy a book! Hmm you’ve now lost any credibility in my eyes especially when the article seems to be heading in the opposite direction. One or two paragraphs and then head into your selling speil would have been better IMHO. Instead you try and mask your sales pitch as a relevant article.

  • Dale

    Great information as always Michael.  I like the way your posts can make us step back out of the trenches and really look at what we do every day in the bigger picture.

    It makes perfect sense if you look at it.  People do not search for ways to be sold online any more than people listen to a radio station for the ads.  You listen to the radio for the music or programming.  So when someone goes online, they’re searching for information, help, instruction or ideas (minus other reasons), but it’s pretty good bet that it’s not because they are looking for ads.

    1.  Understand your target market/visitors
    2.  Understand their needs or problems
    3.  Solve their problem or fill the need

    It’s a good perspective to have, but it also reminds me of good old SEM.  That is to create content that people are looking for and will find useful.

    My goal for clients is to create content that not only will their readers find useful, but with the social resources SEM’s have today, I want the content to be so useful that the readers will SHARE that content.

    Thanks again and keep it coming.  Is your book only online?  I want it on my android kindle.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

     Thanks Elisa!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks so much Dale!  I like the analogy of radio. The Kindle is coming real soon :)

  • Admin Tones

    Great article, Micheal. That has really assisted me to focus my marketing campaign.
    Thanks!
    - Jo

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    Michael – It was fun to get a preview of your book (I’ve been selected as one of the 50 bloggers who will be reviewing it and giving away a copy, and I’m waiting for my books to arrive).

    Love the way you describe the Elevation Principle: Great content PLUS other people MINUS marketing messages EQUALS growth! I “preach” about this when I teach workshops and it’s fun to see lightbulbs come on above people’s heads as they get it.

    I’m already having a little fun with LAUNCH. I decided to give away my review copy, as well as the copy you’re sending me to “creatively give away.” I asked my blog readers to submit THEIR most creative idea for giving away your book. Whoever submits the best idea wins my review copy, and I’ll use the winning idea to give away the second copy. Some of their suggestions are a hoot! (http://ht.ly/5ceVq)

  • Alan

    Hi Michael – I accept what you say and we all have to embrace the new marketing avenues such as social media and other online activities, CRM’s, email campaigns websites etc. There’s never been a more exciting time to be in this industry. However, there is still a very important place for traditional forms of marketing and communicating to your customers. Some people are getting so carried away with the new media they are forgetting the basics. For example – I have a clients who have retail businesses and good point of sale is vital. They also do conventional advertising and direct mail which produced results. They are also embarking on social media but at he moment the conventional media is working by far the best, but we are carefully monitoring the results so the maximum is achieved from he spend
    You are right, it is all about building relationships with customers and prospects and this can be done in many ways. I guess what I’m saying is that most businesses need a marketing mix, online as well as offline. That’s why this business is so challenging and rewarding

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Alan – I believe that what I lay out works the same online and offline.  So I’m not going to disagree :)

  • Greg Standen

    Great article. I come from a telemarketing background and this year have branch out to offer SME’s in Australia a wide range of cost effective marketing solutions. The telephone was the cost effective means of marketing in the 90′s and early naughties but now social media is the way to go.

    The thing i think that both these approaches have in common in the old saying that “people really don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care”. If you have your clients and prospects interests at heart and wanting to see them succeed then your business will grow as a result of that.

  • http://www.directresponse.net David Polykoff

    It does truly start with knowing who your audience is and what they want from your business.
    Providing great content that fulfills those needs is crucial.

  • http://EricWalkermarketing.com/ Eric Walker

    I disagree with everyone in this thread who proposes this post was overly promotional or seemed hypocritical — to the extent that there is something shameful with promoting a free chapter of Michael’s book. Did you read the content? The premise is *Focus on the People. Michael wrote these simple sentences at the end of the post - 

    “The entire elevation principle is documented in the new book titled Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition. Click here for a FREE sample chapter.” 

    I think those that are nay saying this post have to think about those readers who would have been disappointed if they WEREN’T given the opportunity to read a free chapter. In this perspective, Michael’s message (Focus on the People) was in full congruence with his offer (Read a Free Chapter). 

    I don’t call that a pitch. I call it value.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.trye Kevin Trye

    Much of what you say is correct. But just providing ‘content’ and ‘how-to’ tips is fine in terms of building up a fan base and raising credibility. And when you’re small like me, it does bring in sales and work for sure. But if you’re a large brand and expecting massive returns, it can also be a long path to no-where. Large companies and brands like instant returns. We need to turn interest, into real-world sales this month, not next year.

    Even sales guru and best selling author Sharon Drew Morgen has complained that all her fabulous online writing and blogs, in itself, produces very few actual sales of her services or amazing books. Like most of us, client referrals is likely the major source of new work and income. She also rightly acknowledges that any ability to ‘solve problems’ for clients by way of showing off your expertise or showing the best way forward to greater riches, isn’t enough to make 95% of people buy, or change vendors. Most humans are hard-wired to maintain the status quo, no matter how painful.

    The challenge is, how much time should we waste on this ‘content’ activity and how much upon other ‘marketing’ chores? Certainly more interaction is the secret. More human interaction. Less electronic perhaps. Content alone isn’t enough to bring home the money. It also gets back to the simple fact that most people don’t trust businesses (especially major brands), or what they have to say in their blog, on their Facebook page, at seminars, or in paid advertisements.

    It’s what others say about you that’s important. This is where the social networks come in.

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  • TotallyAliveOnline

    Lives of people are made more value able  :) Awesome analogy  !!

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