Believe This

Try forcing a stranger to believe something they have never heard of before, or to abandon a belief they have held for years. Odds are you will fail at both. “Belief” is understanding without knowledge, facts or proof. Yet humans have many complex belief systems firmly rooted in air. This is not inherently bad. Beliefs guide actions, and if beliefs are noble, then good things occur. But beliefs are also firmly rooted in the mind – trying to uproot beliefs (at least in the short term) is like trying to pull a redwood tree out of the ground with your bare hands. Belief systems are important to humans and to marketers. For humans, belief systems are shortcuts to understanding life, the universe and everything. The belief doesn’t even have to be correct as long as it provides a person with a grasp on their perception of reality. This is one … Continue reading

Brand Belief

Bestselling books often aren’t. For decades the New York Times (NYT) Best Seller list was the acid test of a good read. But while helping a client with his book project, we explored what it takes to get on that list, and it isn’t pretty. In short, you need to sell about 9,000 copies of a book in a given week. Based on this information, a number of companies slithered out of the marketing muck to arrange “book buy-downs” – buying many books through channels to make a book appear to be popular. An author who wants to forever be known as a NYT bestseller simply pays one of these companies to buy books through minions around the country, then store those books in a warehouse somewhere. Sleazy. Even the NYT has tried (and failed) to flag bulk buys as potential rank rigging, though this misidentifies some legitimate bulk buys … Continue reading

Liars Leverage

If your prospects think a problem is not easily solved, you may find it difficult to convince them you can easily solve it . One of the few must read marketing books is Seth Godin’s All Marketers are Liars, the central thesis of which is that all people tell themselves lies and a good marketer merely agrees with whatever lies are being told. This is well and good when the customers’ lies are sympatico with the product’s value, but causes friction when they are not. This came to light recently when a CMO conclave to which I belong started discussing “big data”, the current marketing and IT hype monster. The consensus among CMOs – right or wrong – is that integrated digital marketing intelligence and analysis is difficult – so durn difficult that only the biggest, bravest and wealthiest of marketing organization are attempting it or doing it well. CMOs … Continue reading