Monthly Archives: February 2019

Transcript of Questioning Best Practices to Do Great Work

Transcript of Questioning Best Practices to Do Great Work written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: Everybody loves best practices. Give me an example. Give me a template to follow. Well, I think that that practice leads to mediocrity. In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I speak with Jay Acunzo. We’re going to talk about breaking the wheel, questioning best practices so that you can do your best work. You’re going to want to check this out because this might be the ticket to innovation for your business.

Klaviyo logoThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused eCommerce brands drive more sales with super targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing. Hello and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.

This is your host John Jantsch. My guest today is Jay Acunzo. He is the founder of Unthinkable Media and the author of Break the Wheel: Question Best Practices, Hone Your Intuition, and Do Your Best Work. Jay, thanks for joining me.

Jay Acunzo: Thanks for the invite, John. It’s good to be here.

John Jantsch: Now, you also spent a little time at Google I think, didn’t you?

Jay Acunzo: Yeah. That was actually my first foray out of where I started, which was sports media and into tech and marketing.

John Jantsch: I’m doing a couple episodes today and my last guest was a head of engineering at Moz. I’m not going to lie to you, we did a little bit of Google bashing.

Jay Acunzo: Look, there’s a reason I’m not working for any of the large companies I worked for before.

John Jantsch: Actually it was more dang it, we have to play. You know? It was more of that. You know?

Jay Acunzo: Sure.

John Jantsch: Let’s get into the book. One of the lines that jumped out at me really from the very beginning, stop obsessing over other’s right answers and start asking yourself better questions. That’s really in some ways the premise to the entire book, isn’t it?

Jay Acunzo: Yeah. You know, work has this tendency through a number of reasons that I explore in the book to regress to the mean. We look at content marketing as a really easy example because it’s so public. You look at a lot of blogs. I came out of the marketing tech world. Every marketing tech vendor, marketing trade publication, if you see a list article of tactics on a given channel, six ways to drive leads from LinkedIn for your business, I’ve seen that article in 17 other places and it looks identical. There’s this glut of average or commodity work out there, which is becoming a real problem for marketers.

In writing the book, I wanted to explore in a world where that’s table stakes where knowing just the basics of how to do anything is instantly available, how do you go not from zero to average, but from average to exceptional?

John Jantsch: What are some examples of ways that people because … I mean I think most people get that, “Okay. Yeah, I’ll ask better questions,” and then the next thing is like, “What does that look like? How?”

Jay Acunzo: Yeah. Well, in the book, I propose a two by three decision-making model, which is basically a fancy term for like I think there are six great questions to ask, but it’s about what you ask those questions of that truly matters. I think if you look at commodity work, especially from marketing teams, what tends to be missing is the variables found within your own specific context. Because what we’re so obsessed with doing is finding some existing playbook and repeating it or guru or expert or best practice or new trend to glom onto. We’re looking for these generalities or what works on average and I’m using air quotes because I know this is a podcast here, but we look for what works on average or in general.

Really that’s a dangerous way to make decisions because it doesn’t take into account your context. If you just break down your context into three different things, I think investigating those things becomes paramount to making really good decisions. The decision here isn’t what works on average. It’s what would work for us. Your context is basically you, the person or people doing the work, your audience, especially key for marketers, but the people receiving the work, and then your resources, which is your means to make that work happen.

If you ask really good questions and I propose two apiece of those three things for a total of six, ask good questions of those three things, your context. All of a sudden you have a lot more clarity than just trying to grab at all those general bits of wisdom swirling around our industry and there’s more than ever before.

John Jantsch: Here’s the problem though, of course, it worked for them and I won’t get fired if I do that. People are scared to make a decision that maybe breaks the wheel. I mean would you agree that that’s part of what holds people back?

Jay Acunzo: 100%. I always say two things. One is I wanted to take thinking for yourself out of this realm of the rebel and hand the ability to do that to the practical individual working in business where it’s not like I’m bucking the trend for its own sake. I’m not different for different sake. I’m not running in an opposite direction or counter cultural direction because it’s cool or because I have an idea and I disagree with my boss or client. No. I think it’s very practical to do these things. It’s just that we’ve never really been taught how to do this. Finding best practices isn’t actually the goal. Finding the best approach for you is.

We’d all agree with that, but we don’t really have a practical system in place for how to make those decisions and more importantly, John, how to vet any best practice or precedent to ensure it’s working for you in the here and now. Our main skill as marketers need to be not finding someone’s answer, but vetting on all those possibilities to work for us or to throw out the ones that don’t. The main answer I would give you is I wanted to take that scariness and make it practical, but part of me honestly wants to say what’s deep in my bones here is there is a certain type of person that this book is not for.

This book is not for somebody who just wants to follow a blueprint and clock out sharply at 5:00 and doesn’t care about the results and doesn’t care about serving their audience. That is not who this book is for. This book is for somebody who really truly is bothered by shipping it when it’s terrible or mailing it in because whatever, I don’t really care about my work. That’s not who I’m speaking to.

John Jantsch: I was with you completely on the practical side until you threw the word intuition in there. Now, I’m picturing the crystal ball approach to making decisions, but that’s not what you talk about, is it?

Jay Acunzo: No. I hate that idea. I’m a creative person. I run a business, Unthinkable Media, that makes original series for brands. I think about big ideas and big picture creativity all the time. I can get lost in the fluffiness of all that stuff very easily and be fine with it. But I know when we enter the real world, A, that’s not everybody, and then B, we have work to do, results to get, clients or customers to serve. If you look at the history of that word intuition, it’s really been twisted. It’s embedded in this idea of like the mystical muse. But all intuition means, if you look at the root of the word, is to consider. It’s from the Latin intueri. That’s all that means, to consider.

I like to think that these visionaries that we laud in business, the ones who seem to react to their intuition effortlessly, the Elon Musk’s of the world down to the creative individual on your marketing team, these people that we call visionaries they don’t see the future. They don’t have the gift. They’re not like visited by the mystical muse. They just see the world for what it actually is. They just have this incredible ability to consider their environment and make decisions based on that, based on reflection and testing and learning instead of somebody else’s general idea. That to me is what intuition is about.

It’s about understanding how to ask good questions, how to contemplate and consider the world in a critical way, which might be slow at first. What I’m trying to do in the book is propose a system to make it faster for you. So that if you leave the book, if you go and implement what I researched for a couple of years here, the product of that is you can start making better decisions faster, and your first impetus is to investigate your environment instead of to glom on to what some expert said you should do.

John Jantsch: I’m going to pile on your intuition idea because I think one of the missing ingredients quite often is you actually have to care about the people that you’re trying to serve. I think that that’s a part that’s often really missed. I think when you really care about the people you serve, then you start looking at … That’s part of what to me drives this looking at the world in a different way. I’m looking at the view through the lens of my customer or who I’m trying to serve and I think that allows me and I think allows most people who have done anything innovative to say, “Hey, there’s no new ideas. But if we combine them this way, it’ll serve this group better.” Would you agree that that’s a missing ingredient?

Jay Acunzo: Totally. One of my favorite examples of someone who did that in the book, and it seems radical or innovative what he did, but when you hear this story it’s like, “Oh, it’s really logical what he did because he just focused more of his time on the people he served,” is a guy by the name of Paul Butler who if you’re an environmental conservationist is like a rockstar and has a nickname, which I love, The Parrot Man of the Caribbean. Best nickname ever, The Parrot Man of the Caribbean. Here was a guy in the ’70s who went to the island of St. Lucia to try and save a species of parrot. He did all the usual things you’re supposed to do as an environmental conservationist.

He wrote a big essay to the government and demanded all the people locally stopped killing the bird or capturing it for pets or for food. Very little result, just handing out facts and demands, as you can imagine, but it was all based on this convention in conservation called homo economicus. Actually it’s a term from economics which means the rational man. The idea here is people are rational, so target them using rational argument. Any marketer worth their weight in clicks here knows that people are emotional. They’re not solely rational. In fact, we mostly don’t make decisions rationally.

By talking to the local people he served, these native people who killed these birds not because they were just being terrible people, but because they were poor and had mouths to feed, or they were growing crops and they were ruining those crops, or they ran a tourism business and these giant noisy creatures were disrupting that, whatever the case was. The commonality was these people had pride in their home and pride in their profession. Paul created this icon, which turned in to a mascot that he actually dressed up as called Jacko the Parrot. He associated this parrot not with a problem or a nuisance or a thing to discard, but it became a symbol of national pride and all of a sudden they stopped killing them.

They agreed, “Okay. This region is for the bird.” They made all these decisions that he was demanding of them as a population before that they didn’t respond to. But just by understanding their world and seeing that this was an emotional group of people that cared about national pride, he flipped his approach and it worked. If all you see is the mascot and the songs and the t-shirt and the content and the videos, you’re like, “This guy’s creative. He has the gift,” but to hear his story is just to see him actually investigate in his own environment first and put aside the precedent in his industry for a moment to see how much if any of that actually applied in his shoes.

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You’ve been podcasting for a while now and a great deal of … I won’t put words in your mouth, but a great deal of the book and these stories come from your interviews and your storytelling that you’ve done on your show.

Jay Acunzo: Oh, yeah. 100%. It was kind of my sneaky advantage of the last couple of years for my show and my speaking is actually I just aerate these ideas and these stories with a real community. I get to hone my craft and the ideas before I actually put it into a book.

John Jantsch: The book Break The Wheel you self-published, right?

Jay Acunzo: Yeah. I did what’s called a hybrid publisher where I actually owned all the creative and then the production parts or the backend and the distribution came from a publishing service that offers that.

John Jantsch: But the point that you just made about … I think where a lot of people who look at and they go, “I want to write a book or, I want to have a podcast, or I want to do videos and have a YouTube channel,” and I think the folks that have really built something that is a true asset, I mean obviously they’re people that do something like that and it blows up and goes crazy, but regular practical people that built something like that as an asset, you really kind of look at how all of these things can work together, don’t you?

Jay Acunzo: Yeah. I mean I look at your work with Duct Tape. I look at people that came before me in the marketing world like your Jay Baer’s and a dear friend of mine Andrew Davis who helped mentor me throughout my career. I look at some of these people I admire, Ann Handley’s another good example, and I think there’s only really two ways to ensure you’re, A, building an asset with compounding value, and B, serving the audience in deeper and deeper ways, A.K.A., ensuring the thing works. You can do an idea tour or an idea journey.

I don’t know if these words exist and maybe you’ve experienced this too, Job, as someone who speaks a lot, but an idea tour is I have proven in, in my example, a podcast episode that this story is really resonant with my audience. I’m going to take it out of the episode and put it in more places. I’m going to bring it with me into a speech on a stage for example. I’m touring around with this idea. I’m doing that right now. Arguably, the book tour is a type of idea tour, but then the idea journey is I’m going to see how deep this well goes and ask a lot of questions, and I’m inviting the audience to join me, which is what I’ve done for years on my podcast Unthinkable.

I’m like I’m exploring this big idea with lots of questions underneath it, and I’m going to necessarily tell stories and pull out insights from them over time. I don’t have the answers. Come with me as I explore. For a while, it was what’s the difference between average and exceptional? How do we avoid creating commodity work? Now that we’ve broken the wheel, now that we’re questioning conventional thinking, it’s like, “Okay. Well, how do you create consistently creative work?” That’s my 2019 on the show is how do you do that. You can do an idea tour or an idea journey.

I think what that that does is it unhooks you from this idea of like a newsletter versus a podcast versus a blog versus Twitter. It’s like I’m using all of these things in a coherent connected way.

John Jantsch: I guess the next book is fix the wheel, right?

Jay Acunzo: I have this thesis I’m working on which is like if you’ve broken the wheel, the attempt might be to like keep just swinging at something that’s no longer there. It’s like okay, cool. I’m not following the best practice. I’m doing things on my own. Well, now you’re at risk of like manufacturing stunts essentially or what I call random acts of creativity. Just make the numbers go up right now faster. I don’t want people to do that. Next book maybe it’s … I don’t know if it’s like rebuild the wheel. It might be like refresh the work. It’s sort of like break the wheel, refresh the work.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I like it. You’ve already shared on story of the Parrot Man. You want to give us another one of your favorites from the book because essentially the book’s about a lot of stories.

Jay Acunzo: Yeah. I mean I know nothing if not story. That’s what I want to build a career on. Another great example, one of my favorites is … Well, let’s actually go to something timely here, which is Howard Schultz from Starbucks, whether or not you agree with his stance on politics or the fact that he’s going to run for president apparently. There’s this tactic or this moment rather under his reign at Starbucks when he was their CEO and chairman where looking at the audience and pulling out a better more human insight than at first glance the data revealed or any best practice showed them turned around the company in China.

Not a lot of people know this story. As he leading the company, they were doing what you would expect when you move from region to region like wildfire. They were taking the playbook that was proven and trying to apply it with incremental changes to fit each new market and that had worked except in China. They encountered a really odd problem. Their employees, unlike a lot of coffee shops, the employees of Starbucks, historically anyway, were very educated, decently paid and they had a lot of great benefits offered to them.

They were able to provide exceptional service at Starbucks because they hired exceptional people who weren’t just like there for a paycheck and they were either burned out or looking to do their next thing. They weren’t like the proverbial L.A. barista who wanted to be an actress.

John Jantsch: Except for the ones at the airport. I’m just going to throw that in.

Jay Acunzo: Oh my goodness.

John Jantsch: Go ahead. Go ahead.

Jay Acunzo: You and I could share more stories about coffee shops in airports. Oh my gosh. Don’t get me started. But for the most part, in general let’s say, most of these employees were taught to provide exceptional service because they were treated exceptionally well. In China, they kept losing these employees and they couldn’t figure out why. Then when Schultz talked to Jack Ma, creator of Alibaba and another billionaire who probably has political influence, that’s a different podcast though, he told him, “Well, look, in China, if you actually talk to these people and investigated this context instead of America’s context, you’d realize that the parents have more of a say in these individual’s careers.

They spend good money especially because they can only have one child because of that rule in China, that law in China, they invest very heavily in that child’s life. They spend good money to bring them to college and university and they don’t want to see them working for Starbucks. They want to see them working for Alibaba or Google or all these other notable tech companies or what have you.” What Starbucks did seems radical, but it made a logical sense in this situation, in this context. They started giving not just the employees great benefits, but the parents of those employees.

They had an annual summit, almost like a shareholder meeting, with all their employee’s parents where they could attend, see the great work that Starbucks was doing, help them understand that this is a great corporation to work for and have a say in the direction however little it might have been in that room. This is a radical thing. It’s a very expensive thing. It seems crazy in Seattle, but it doesn’t seem crazy in China at all. The difference is that Starbucks was willing to investigate and ask good questions of a different context instead of just rerun an old playbook that was proven elsewhere.

John Jantsch: Jay, where can people find out more about your work and obviously acquire a copy of Break The Wheel?

Jay Acunzo: The website has way more information than you’ll need, including some behind the scenes stuff about making the book because I make stuff for marketers who love to make stuff., and then my podcast is Unthinkable.

John Jantsch: Jay, I should have asked you this at the beginning of the show, where are you located?

Jay Acunzo: I’m just outside New York City.

John Jantsch: New York City. All right. Well, Jay, thanks dropping by. We’ll have links to all the things we talked about today in the show notes and we love those reviews and tell us who else you want me to interview. Jay, hopefully we run into you next time in the just outside of New York City area.

Jay Acunzo: Thanks, John. I appreciate it. To every listening, thank you for getting this far.

Questioning Best Practices to Do Great Work

Questioning Best Practices to Do Great Work written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Jay Acunzo
Podcast Transcript

Jay AcunzoToday on the podcast, I speak with author, keynote speaker, and founder of Unthinkable Media, Jay Acunzo.

Acunzo began his career at tech giants, including Google and HubSpot, and he now travels the world as a public speaker and the creator of documentary series about people who do great work, which he builds with B2B brand clients.

On today’s episode, we discuss his latest book, Break the Wheel: Question Best Practices, Hone Your Intuition, and Do Your Best Work, which is about how people make better decisions, faster, when they’re surrounded by conventional wisdom.

His work has been cited by various publications including the New York Times, the Washington PostFortuneForbes, and FastCompany.

Questions I ask Jay Acunzo:

  • What is the process for asking better questions to find solutions for your business?
  • How does the fear of breaking the wheel hold people back from asking the necessary questions?
  • Where does intuition factor into the questioning process?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why you need to focus on emotions, not rationality, when thinking about marketing.
  • How to get your marketing assets working together to ensure your long-term success.
  • Why focusing on what works “on average” is dangerous.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jay Acunzo:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

What’s their secret? Tune into Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday docu-series to find out and unlock marketing strategies you can use to keep momentum going year-round. Just head on over to

Transcript of How Businesses Can Survive the Latest Marketing Rebellion

Transcript of How Businesses Can Survive the Latest Marketing Rebellion written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: If you’ve been in marketing any time at all, you’ve lived through some seismic shifts or rebellions in the things that have come along. The internet, search, social media, all these things have changed how we go to market. And there’s a new marketing rebellion; quite frankly, the thing that has changed the most is the way people buy. In this episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, a visit with Mark Schaefer. He’s the author of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins.

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is your host, John Jantsch, and my guest today is Mark Schaefer. He is a columnist, teacher, speaker, author, podcaster, and we’re going to talk about his latest book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins. So, Mark, thanks for joining us.

Mark Schaefer: Oh, it’s always a delight to catch up with you, John.

John Jantsch: Well, I think you and Tom Webster have a show. Is it still called The Marketing Companion? Forgive me if that’s not right.

Mark Schaefer: Yes.

John Jantsch: Yes.

Mark Schaefer: Yeah, Marketing Companion, sure.

John Jantsch: And I was … I got to be on your show, which was a lot of fun, and I said off-air and I’ll say it now on the air, you guys are a lot funnier than me. I really enjoy some of the pranks and the gags that you guys come up with. You give that a lot of thought and make it a lot of fun.

Mark Schaefer: Well, we try to be entertaining, that’s sort of our thing. And I’d like to take credit for it, but Tom is just hilarious, so we kind of go with that.

John Jantsch: He has a unique point of view, doesn’t he?

Mark Schaefer: So funny, so funny.

John Jantsch: So, you and I have been … I’ll just tell people this, my listeners know this, but you and I have been doing this for like 30 years or so in some capacity in marketing. And I’d like to be the first to say that this is not the first rebellion that I’ve participated in in marketing.

Mark Schaefer: Right.

John Jantsch: I mean, if you think about it, I mean, there’s a whole bunch of mini-rebellions, right? I mean, the internet certainly changed marketing, search dependency changed it, the fact that we can now collaborate and do business all over the globe changed it, social media came and changed it again. And now, what’s the marketing rebellion that we’re facing today?

Mark Schaefer: Well, I think you set it up very good, John, is that there’s almost been like a continuous rebellion. But the thing about it, you can either be fearful about it or you can say, “This is a lot of fun.” And I remember all those rebellions, especially the internet, and I kind of point that out as the second rebellion. So the first rebellion was sort of in the 1920s, 1930s, when advertising and marketing just started, and advertising at the beginning basically was lies. And so there was a rebellion against lies, and it became eventually a crime to lie in your advertising.

Then the second rebellion, I was in the middle of that because the internet came. Back before the internet, you made money on the secrets. That’s how you sold a car, that’s how you sold insurance, and then … I can remember those days, and I don’t know if any of your listeners will remember, there was this thing called a reverse auction, and some of these commodity buyers used the internet to get all their suppliers online, and then bid against each other in real time on the internet. It was terrifying, it was crazy, because basically, negotiations were over, because secrets were over.

And so that was … I lump the whole internet thing, social media, into this idea of … It was the end of secrets. And today, the rebellion that we’re in is the end of control. For me, this is really hard to accept, it’s hard to get my head around it. And I’ll remember there was this piece of research that I read from McKinsey that basically was saying, “The sales funnel is gone, loyalty is over. It’s a waste of money to spend money on loyalty programs anymore.” And I’m reading this, I’m thinking, “I’ve been in marketing more than 30 years. This is what I do.” But there’s a … And it’s not just McKinsey, it’s all over.

The research is compelling, and many of your listeners are probably right in the middle of it, that we’re in a shop-around society. People own the customer journey. The customers are the marketers now, because when you and I were growing up in business, we controlled the message, because an ad or some sort of marketing program, that’s the only way customers could learn about us. Today, they learn from each other, they share with each other, and that’s what they believe, that’s what they trust, and that’s what works.

And so this suggests that for marketers today, we have to think about, how do we become invited to those conversations? The messaging, the control, the sales funnel isn’t working like it used to. Certainly, ads don’t work like they used to. How do you thrive and survive in this environment when the customer is the marketer, the customer is in control? And that’s the challenge I present with the book.

John Jantsch: Before we get to how, I mean, let’s put this out there. Everyone except a cynical marketer is probably going to suggest this is better for the customer.

Mark Schaefer: Oh, absolutely. One of the points I make in the book is that the customers have always won these rebellions. When the customers said, “No more lies,” then there were laws that were made, and when they said, “No more secrets,” I mean, there are no more secrets. And the customers are basically saying, “Respect us. We don’t … Stop the spam, stop the robocalling, stop the email blasts, stop the lead nurturing and all this stuff that we hate. Just stop it.”

And look, you know, the thing about technology and a lot of these things that have caused these problems is it’s so intoxicating. That’s not because technology is bad, it’s because technology is good. It’s so easy, it’s so cheap, and it’s so easy to think, “Oh, just for $9.99, we can get a list of a million emails and blast all these people, and if we just get one sales, it’s going to pay it off.” And that’s sort of the way marketing churns today, and every time we do that, we’re isolating ourselves, we’re disenfranchising ourselves from customers, and the customers don’t want it, and they’re going to win. Eventually, they’re going to win, so we need to be proactive about this and think about, how do we change our mindset, change our culture to adopt and really serve customers in the way they want to be served?

John Jantsch: I’ve heard you say this comment, and this has got to just … In fact, I know it does. It’s so counterintuitive, it runs so counter to how people think about marketing their businesses that they’re having trouble wrapping their heads around it. And the statement is that two-thirds of our marketing is not our marketing.

Mark Schaefer: Well, it’s undeniable. And I know that this is a controversial opinion, but I back everything up in the book with research, and this was a study, believe it or not, that first came out in 2009. And when it came out, it really sort of shook the rafters of the business world, and then it kind of went away. And then, as you see how the world plays out, you sort of see this happening. And then I saw research from Deloitte and from Accenture and from Pew about how this sales funnel is going away, and how it’s changing.

And then McKinsey came out with sort of an updated study, and they identified, oh, I think it … I can’t remember the exact number. I want to say it was 135,000 customer journeys they analyzed, and they basically said that, look, the marketing and advertising is having very little impact, that the customer owns the journey, and no two are alike. And recent research from Google, Google has put out a few white papers in the last 6 to 12 months that have basically said the same thing. Even on search, even when people are looking for the same thing, it’s a tangled mess. There is no lockstep customer journey. There is no sales funnel anymore.

And of course, one of the things I emphasize in the book is, look, there are always exceptions. Some businesses and some industries are different from others. But this was across … McKinsey said they looked at 80 different industries, and they said in 90% of the cases, there is no loyalty, there is no … There’s basically no sales funnel to speak of, and there’s no loyalty. And I’m in the same place you are. I’m in the same place your listeners were. This is, like, shaking me to the core. There was literally a point, John, when I was researching this book, where I almost kind of lost my breath and just sat there and thought, “I don’t know what it means to be a marketer anymore.”

This requires … If you look at what’s going on, if you look at this research, it requires a radically different mindset, a radically different approach. It redefines what it means to be a marketer today, and it took me a while to accept that.

John Jantsch: One of the things about research studies that … You know, I don’t care who’s doing it, McKinsey or whoever’s doing it. I think there’s a bias that’s hard to measure, and here’s what I mean by that, that they talk about, you know, “Across industries, 17% of customers are loyal, and investing in sales funnels and loyalty programs is a waste of time.” Now, is that because of the way we’re doing them, that we’re wasting our time? And I guess what my contention is, is there a way to do what we might … I mean, is there a way to create customer loyalty that’s so radically different than what we’re doing today and calling customer loyalty, that would actually drive those numbers up? We all know companies, I’m sure you have companies that you’re extremely loyal to, and I am as well, because they do things so differently. And I wonder if a lot of these surveys just measure the fact that there’s a lot of crap marketing.

Mark Schaefer: Well, that’s exactly what it’s measuring. That’s precisely what it’s saying. And there was a clue in that McKinsey study, and they said the reason this is happening is because there’s no longer any emotional attachment to these brands, and people are forming … You know, trust, this is a well-known study by Edelman, the Trust Barometer that they come out with every year, and trust in businesses, brands, and advertising has declined 10 years in a row.

But who do people trust? They trust each other, they trust their neighbors, they trust industry experts. Trust in entrepreneurs, by the way, is very high. And a lot of people roll their eyes when you talk about influencers, but influencers are simply people on the web who are trusted and beloved, and people look at them as if they’re friends. I’m sure you experience this. You may not consider yourself a, you know, air quote, unquote, “influencer,” but people who you don’t even know probably leave you comments and say, “John, I really trust your advice, I love your books. You influenced my business and my life.”

It’s this idea that we have to become part of these conversations, but you can’t really buy your way in like you used to. You know, 20 or 25 years ago, you could buy your way in, because advertising was the only way people had to really discover your product, or have discussions about your product. But today, people have all the power in the palm of their hand. It used to be a brand was something we told you, a company told you, and today a brand is what people tell each other. And so we’ve got to find a way to embed ourselves in those conversations, and there’s lots of ideas in the book on how to do that.

John Jantsch: So, the subtitle of the book, The Most Human Company Wins.

Mark Schaefer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John Jantsch: You know, there was a point in time in one of these past rebellions where social media was actually supposed to make that happen. What happened?

Mark Schaefer: Well, you and I were there at the beginning, and what happened was, I think at first, companies did get it, and they really embraced it, and it was like this amazing thing that happened, that customers were talking back. And companies thought, “Well, okay, we’ll try that, we’ll talk back, we’ll join these conversations,” and there were real people having real conversations. And then companies kind of did what they always do, they’re like, “Oh, well, we can make this simpler because we can automate things, and we can create these algorithms.” And the human voice was replaced with personas, and the heart and the compassion of our human voices were replaced by these soulless messages, and social media today has sort of been a way to just become another form of advertising and weaponizing influencers, and that’s about it.

The only companies that are having some sort of substantial, meaningful impact on social media are the ones that are sort of reclaiming a human voice, and not an advertising agency providing legally approved snarky quips. I think people are getting tired of that. I think that hopefully that phase is going to be over soon. It just looks like a company trying too hard. People can sense that, they can sniff out a fake in 280 characters. Basically, companies just try to automate everything. They try to cut costs, try to cut the humans out of it, in search of the marketing easy button, “Let’s use technology.” And those days are over, they just are. It’s not a message that’s easy to hear, but that’s not what’s going to work anymore.

John Jantsch: A mutual friend of ours, Jay Baer, has a new book called … Or, fairly new book called Talk Triggers. I know you’re aware of it, and I had Jay on the show, and he mentioned me on the YouTube broadcast today, so I have to throw him a bone, so that’s why I’m working him into today’s show. No, but, you know, one of the things about that book is that he’s saying we have to create these moments to get people to talk about us.

Mark Schaefer: Yeah.

John Jantsch: And if you read through the book, the moments are all human-centered.

Mark Schaefer: Yeah.

John Jantsch: You know, it’s not because somebody had, like, red in their logo that people are talking about it, it’s they did something that was exceptional and surprising.

Mark Schaefer: Something that’s conversational, something that will spark, something that delights people and surprises them. And I think Jay and I sort of do this dance together, from really the beginning. We’re sort of thinking about the same things, we’re sort of thinking of … We both enjoy thinking about what’s next, and how all these pieces come together, and in many ways, our two books are companion pieces. I spend quite a bit of time in my book talking about word-of-mouth marketing, without getting into the tactical piece that Jay covers in his book. So I think they’re 100% compatible. I talk about the larger trend of what the heck is going on, and why we need to do this, and then you can pick up Jay’s book and say, “Oh, yeah, okay, now I see what Mark’s talking about.”

John Jantsch: One of my favorite lines in your book, or it’s actually, I think it’s a subhead, is that “the greatest companies make fans of their fans.” How do we do that?

Mark Schaefer: Yeah, you know, John, I was so, so fortunate in this book to interview some of the greatest marketers, and that quote came from a marketing hero of mine, Fabio Tambosi. He was with Nike, he’s now with Adidas in Germany. And this part of the book talks about how marketing has to become artisanal. It’s not the perfect word, but marketing almost has to be, appear like it’s local, like it’s craftsmanlike, like it’s part of the local community, it has personality, and that you have to be fans of your fans on a local level. People don’t believe companies anymore. You know, people that say, “Oh, look at us, we’ve stopped polluting. Oh, look at us, we’ve hired more women.” This is basically saying, “Look at us, we’re normal.”

John Jantsch: Or “We’re not as screwed up as we used to be.”

Mark Schaefer: Yeah. “Look, we’ve stopped being bad.” That’s not marketing, all right? What people what to see is that they want to see what you’re doing that impacts me and my community. And another great quote in the book from Fabio is that today, you can’t be in a community. You have to be of a community. You have to be down in the streets, in the neighborhoods. You have to relate to people on a local level. You have to be a fan of your fans, you have to be where the work and the action is actually happening. Marketing takes place in meetings and at the tip of a shovel.

And I’ll tell you, it’s extraordinarily hard for a big company to do that, and you can see these cataclysmic shifts going on right now, with companies like Procter & Gamble, that they know they’ve got to be doing this. And some are going to win, and some are going to lose, but everybody has to pay attention. Everybody has to know about these trends and make up their own minds about what it means for your own business.

John Jantsch: You tell some good stories and good examples of brands that you think are doing it right. I’m going to go out on a limb here, this is not very manly what I’m getting ready to say, but I don’t get YETI.

Mark Schaefer: I don’t get YETI either. I don’t.

John Jantsch: But yet you can go into a gift store and they’ve got them, the hardware store’s got them, the fishing tackle store’s got them. I mean, people are nuts about them.

Mark Schaefer: Well, and for your listeners, especially your listeners who are outside of America, I mean, YETI is this … It started out as a premium cooler. So, you could buy a cooler for your ice, probably for $29; they’re selling these things for $400, and they’ve just introduced a $1,300 cooler. And they’ve now extended into other products like coffee mugs, and … So, I live in an area of America that enjoys hunting and fishing, you know, there’s a lot of outdoorsmen here, and I started noticing people wearing hats and putting even stickers on their car that say YETI. And I thought, “Isn’t that a cooler?” It’s a cooler, it’s a freaking ice cooler. Why are people supporting this brand?

So, the story in the book is absolutely fascinating, and I love it, because it shows how you can even take a commodity product like an ice cooler and truly, sincerely build a community of emotional support and love for a cooler. But the same lesson applies, John. They are not in a community; they are not participating in some community. They are of the community. They are outdoorsmen. Everything they do lives and breathes outdoors, you know, people who love the outdoors. So it’s a great, great inspirational case study. I still could never bring myself to wear a hat that promotes a cooler. That is not part of my personal value set. But thousands and thousands of people are doing it, the brand has become a sensation, and it’s a great example, a perfect example of how to win in the marketing rebellion.

John Jantsch: Well, and I think you could safely say they’re no longer selling coolers.

Mark Schaefer: They’re selling a lifestyle, really. I mean, that’s … Marketing is emotion, it’s always been emotion. But here’s the difference: In the old days, we used to build an emotion to a product, because it worked really well, or because our parents used it, or because maybe we like the smell. And of course, it still works that way to some extent. But today, we build these emotional attachments to people, more than products or attributions of a product.

And I think one of the main points of the book is that in the old days, our businesses and brands were built through an accumulation of human impressions, and going forward, it’s going to be built through an accumulation of human impressions. We’re going to listen to people, we’re going to trust people, we’re going to love people, and the products that they represent, and that’s … If you look at YETI, it’s the owners. If you look at Glossier, by the way, I think Glossier is the single best case study today in a company that was built from the ground up to win in this world where the customer is the marketer. It’s a skincare and makeup company, probably beyond startup at this point. But this is built through a person. She started out as a blogger, and just built this love, and built this engagement and this emotion and this community through her blog, and now it’s a multimillion-dollar business. It’s the hottest skincare business out there right now, built from social media up.

Now, how does L’Oréal recreate that? I don’t know. I really don’t know, and experts I talk to in the field who are sort of in this marketing rebellion era with me, this human era of human-centered marketing. L’Oréal is not built on human-centered marketing, it’s built on a huge relationship with an ad agency, and Glossier is built on this human-centered marketing. That’s what’s going to win in the future.

We see Procter & Gamble trying to make moves into this human-centered marketing. I just saw that they just bought a company, a small company that has built their consumer products on this human-centered idea. So Procter & Gamble is basically saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” So anyway, it’s going to be an interesting … You know, we’re in for another cataclysm.

John Jantsch: Well, and I think one of the things that we sometimes forget, too, is that a new generation of companies will come along, and they’ll do the new generation, and then they’ll be the next thing, and they’ll be the next L’Oréals of some fashion.

Mark Schaefer: And I think this new generation, it’s just second nature to them, because if you look at the way we’ve sort of automated marketing, and commoditized marketing, and made it soulless, they’re looking at it like, “Who would do that? Who would do that? That’s not what I like.” And from their perspective, it makes so much sense. So we’ve got to get out of our bubble and look at the real world and real life, and we do not have a choice. We have got to make the change.

John Jantsch: Visiting with Mark Schaefer, the author of Marketing Rebellion. Mark, it was awesome to catch up with you again. Where can people find more about you, your work, and pick up a copy of Marketing Rebellion?

Mark Schaefer: Well, you can find everything about me at You can find my blog, my podcast, and my books. And the new book, Marketing Rebellion, is out in paper, it is out on Kindle, and it is out on audio, narrated by me, and I’d love for your listeners to pick it up and stay in touch with me on social media.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Thanks, Mark. Hopefully we’ll run into you soon out there on the road.

Mark Schaefer: Thank you, John.

How Businesses Can Survive the Latest Marketing Rebellion

How Businesses Can Survive the Latest Marketing Rebellion written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Mark Schaefer
Podcast Transcript

Mark SchaeferToday on the podcast, my guest is marketing expert, speaker, author, and college educator Mark Schaefer.

Schaefer is a globally-recognized speaker and author. He’s contributed extensively to major publications including The New York Times, CNN, NPR, Wired, the BBC, and CBS News. He is also the author of six best-selling books on marketing.

On today’s episode, Schaefer and I discuss his latest book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins and how marketers can help businesses survive and thrive in an environment where the customer journey is dead, brand loyalty is gone, and customers have become the marketers.

Questions I ask Mark Schaefer:

  • What is today’s marketing rebellion?
  • Is there a way to approach customer loyalty—that’s radically different from what we do today—that would actually increase loyalty?
  • Why hasn’t social media humanized companies as much as we initially thought it would?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why loyalty is over, and what you can do about it.
  • Why you can’t be in a community, you have to be of a community.
  • How to build an emotional attachment to people rather than product.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Mark Schaefer:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

How to Make Your Content Less Boring

How to Make Your Content Less Boring written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Think about the number of websites you visit on a given week. It’s a lot, right? We spend so much time consuming content online that after a while, it all starts to blend together.

Even if your website technically ticks all of the boxes, it will quickly fade into the background if the content is not designed to reach out and grab the viewer.

What can you do to spice up your website and make sure it sets you apart from your competitors? Read on, as I offer up some tips to make your content less boring.

Mix Up Your Medium

Remember being handed a copy of Moby Dick in high school english class, staring down at the tome, and being filled with dread? No matter how great the content is (and Herman Melville certainly knew how to write!), a giant wall of text can be intimidating.

The same goes for content on your website. Visitors are looking to quickly learn whether or not your business can solve their problem, so present that information in a variety of easily digestible formats.

Visuals and infographics are a great way to provide a high level summary of the products or services you offer. Video is an engaging way to not only quickly communicate your business’s mission, but also put a face to your company’s name and build trust and a human connection.

Keep Your Copy Lively

Of course, you do still need some copy on your website. When it comes to creating interesting website copy, there are a handful of basics to adhere to. First, you want to keep sentences and paragraphs short and snappy. Eliminate flowery prose and strings of unnecessary adjectives.

You also want to adopt a voice that is authoritative but approachable. Sure, you’re the industry expert, but that’s no reason to talk down to your readers. Steer clear of jargon and SAT words.

For even more tips on writing effective website copy, check out my previous post on the topic.

Lean Into Your Brand’s Voice

Tone matters. Writing like a robot won’t win you any fans. Of course, your tone will depend on the industry you’re in. A lawyer’s website will have a more serious, measured tone than a party planner’s site. But whatever your voice is, communicating with it makes a big difference.

Adhering to this principle is true for all elements of your website, from your value proposition on your home page to seemingly minor or throwaway pages.

Take a look at these examples of brands who have used 404 error pages as a way to still represent their brand and inject some fun and personality into what otherwise would be a nothing kind of page.

Every inch of your website is an opportunity to show visitors who you are and to build trust through consistent messaging. Take advantage of that fact and have fun!

Make it About Storytelling

If you’re at a loss on where to start with creating strong content, think first about storytelling. Start with your brand’s value proposition: what problem are you on a mission to solve?

From there, you can build out a cohesive story about why your brand is the one to take on that problem, and how your team’s passion and commitment will allow you to create wins for your customers.

Great storytelling is not only engaging, it also allows you to guide customers through their journey. When you think about the way you want them to encounter your brand as a story with a beginning, middle, and end, then you can arrange your content in a way that nudges them down that road sequentially.

Create Valuable Content

Above all else, you must be creating valuable content. What do I mean by that? I mean content that establishes you as an expert in your field, provides answers and guidance in a way that none of your competitors can match, and gives readers practical takeaways and actionable steps.

I also am using the term “content” more broadly than to describe just blog posts. Content is anything and everything on your website. Yes, that does mean your blog, but it also includes webinars, product guides, videos, podcasts, and everything in between! Get creative about the many ways in which you can share your knowledge with prospects and customers.

The internet is saturated with information. If you’re providing content that meets a clear purpose and allows the reader to walk away and effect positive change in their life right now, that’s the kind of content that is highly interesting.

There are millions of business websites on the internet. And with such a crowded field, it can be difficult to stand out. But when you embrace your business’s personality and expertise, and use that to drive all of your choices as you create your content, it’s possible to build a website that gets noticed.

Weekend Favs February 23

Weekend Favs February 23 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Sip 2.0 – Create and share unique color palettes with your team.
  • HCM Deck– Automate the employee onboarding process.
  • HubSpot’s Business Templates – Access free templates for everything from invoices to business plans.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

The Benefits of Including Video on Your Website

The Benefits of Including Video on Your Website written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Including Video on Your Website

Video has become a foundational element in marketing. Why is video so important? It’s how people want to consume content. They want the ability to listen without reading, to be hands-free, and to just have the content coming at them.

There have been numerous studies demonstrating that the highest ROI for any marketing output is coming from short form video.

Types of Video You Need

There several kinds of video content you should be including on your website. Here are the categories of short form video you need.

1. What We Stand For

This video should go on the home page above the fold. It should be the first thing people see, and it should give them a sense of who you are, what you do, what you believe, and what your brand stands for.

Creating a video like this is one of the greatest trust-building activities today. So much of business happens online, but in the end, we don’t do business with a website or email address; we do business with people. An introductory video like this allows you to establish a human connection that makes your brand instantly relatable to people who land on your website.

2. Simplify Your Benefits

Video is also a great way to simplify the benefits to what you do. Sometimes reading through your products and services, particularly if you work in a complex or jargon-heavy industry, can make prospects glaze over. Video allows you to simplify difficult topics and introduce your products and services in an easily-consumable format.

3. Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ videos allow you to build trust and answer questions in a format that makes it easy for people to engage. Not only that, if you have any sites ranking for voice search, video FAQs are amazing for ranking. Videos answer the question in a simple form, and it’s something that Google really wants to see.

4. Personalized Team Bios

This also ties in with the idea of doing business with people, not some faceless business on the web. Sharing personal bio videos for salespeople, technicians, or customer service representatives allows visitors to put a face to a name (or email address) immediately. Particularly if you have a business where someone is coming out to the customer’s home to offer a service, it’s nice for customers to see a video first that gives them a sense of security and allows them to feel like the technician is a friendly face—even if they’ve never met before in real life.

How to Produce Your Videos

Producing video becomes easier each year. Access to high quality cameras and simple editing tools mean that you don’t need to be a Hollywood editor to create content that looks decent. Plus, the content and intent of the video is far more important than a high production value.

There are three basic ways to go about creating video content:

  • On your iPhone. When you use an external microphone and either a simple lighting setup or natural light, you can get great results on your phone’s camera.
  • In a studio. There are lots places that allow you to rent studio space, with access to professional lighting and video equipment, so that you can film all of your video over the course of one day for a low cost.
  • With a videographer. You can hire a videographer to come to your office and do a day of filming with you and your staff.

Video editing software is fairly easy to use, but if you don’t want to handle this on your own, it’s easy enough to find someone on a site like UpWork or Fiverr who can do basic, inexpensive editing.

You also want to transcribe your videos. Having the words close captioned on the screen is important. When someone is viewing the video on a mobile device or from their desk at work, they don’t want the sound on, disturbing those around them. That’s where captions come in; they can still get the full effect of the content without having to listen to the video.

Why Video Matters

Video keeps people on your website longer. This is not only important for the obvious fact that any visitor staying on your site longer is more likely to want to do business with you. It’s also a known SEO ranking factor. If people go to your site and stick around to watch a video that’s a few minutes long, Google notes that people are hanging around on your site, and that positively influences your ranking.

Google also owns YouTube, the largest video site in the world. They love to show video in their search results. When you optimize your videos by putting them on YouTube and embedding them in your site, you’re giving your video content a shot at ranking on Google for certain queries. If you’d prefer not to host your video content on YouTube, Wistia is another great site.

Beyond benefits with Google, video allows you to tell a story and create a connection in a way you simply can’t with the written word. Storytelling is at the crux of any good marketing effort, and video is certainly no exception.

Video Applications Beyond Your Website

Incorporating video into your website is only half of the game. There are other marketing channels that allow you to harness the power of video. Video ads can help you stand out and drive attention to your site. Video emails are a hot trend right now, and the technology here continues to improve.

Finally, you can create personalized video messages to send directly to clients and prospects. Let’s say you’re a web designer; you can share your screen and go through a prospect’s website, narrating issues you’ve identified and what changes you’d make to improve it. Not only does this give them highly personalized service, it’s quicker and easier for you to record a video than it is to type everything out in an email. We at Duct Tape Marketing like to use Loom for sending one-to-one videos.

Bonus Video Tip

Once you shoot and transcribe a video, you suddenly have a lot of content! You can use the audio from your video to include in a podcast. The written text from the transcription can be turned into one or more blog posts. Video is a great way to capture the initial content, which you can then spin out into a three-for-one deal: video, audio, and text.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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