Marketing can be incredibly confusing. That’s why we ask people to send us their hard questions when entering our biweekly giveaways. In this podcast, we answer 20 real marketing questions!
Listen in as we answer questions like:
- Who do you target with your marketing?
- How do you market internationally?
- Why do marketers send so many emails?
- How can you tell the difference been slime and authenticity?
Pierson: What’s up, everybody? It’s Pierson Hibbs here, with the Marketing is the Product podcast. I’m here today with Brandon as always.
Brandon: Hey everyone.
Pierson: And today, we are gonna be doing our second episode of our 20 questions that we’re pulling from our smartwatch giveaway. The goal is simple, same as it was last time, we’ve got 20 questions pulled from you guys who had entered in contests that we run and answered the question, which is, what confuses you most about marketing? And we got responses from all over the world. We’ve picked 20 questions to answer today for you guys. And with that in mind, we’re gonna go ahead and get started with the first one.
Brandon: We’re gonna mispronounce all your names.
Pierson: Yeah, we’re gonna go ahead and give you a warning ahead of time. There’s some fun ones in here, so I apologize in advance for any mispronunciations.
Brandon: Yeah, so I guess I’ll start with the first one. The first answer to what confuses you most about marketing comes from Stephen Dunham from Grand Forks, Canada, and he asks insurance. Just the word insurance, I guess that’s what confuses him most about marketing. That’s a really interesting one, and kinda open to interpretation. How do you interpret that Pierson?
Pierson: I would say insurance in regards to business, maybe. I think that that might be what he’s going for. I’m not exactly sure.
Brandon: So I’m gonna interpret this as, I guess, marketing for the insurance business. Does that make sense?
Brandon: Like general liability, medical insurance, disability insurance, stuff like that.
Pierson: Yeah, I’d say that that’s a pretty safe bet. Why don’t we run with that?
Brandon: That’s a tough one. I’ve actually worked in insurance, so here’s the basic idea of how an insurance company works, they are a super large financial organization that gets enough people together to pay premiums for a plan to where when something bad inevitably happens to somebody, they have the money to compensate them for it. The insurance company makes a little bit of money because they crunch the numbers just so to where they eke out a profit, and they’re very, very good at this. And where the actual… The recipients of the insurance, the people who they are covering benefit because it reduces their risk. So with that in mind, how do you take something that technocratic and complicated and market it to people? And what I’ve seen essentially, it boils down to focusing on individuals, like if you were selling disability insurance, you say to people, “We are selling you safety for yourself and for your family if you are disabled and you cannot afford to and you can no longer go into work.” They sell you that. For medical insurance they do the same thing, they say, “We will protect you from $100,000 bills by sticking you with $10,000 bills and premiums.” [chuckle]
Pierson: It’s a good way to put it.
Pierson: You’re not wrong.
Brandon: No, I’m exactly right. You should see some of the out-of-pocket maximums for small business insurance, it gets unbelievable very quickly, and it still somehow a pretty good deal. But yeah, that’s what they do. They focus on the human. And I’ll say that whenever you’re doing insurance, you can’t really have a small insurance company. I’m sure there are some out there, but I’m not really sure how that works, because the whole reason the business model is viable is it’s kind of like… [chuckle] You have to have enough people in there to where something truly freakish would have to happen for an insurance company to go under. Like you can’t have a 100 client base and have a well-run insurance company, although maybe somebody can think of some counter examples. So really what you have to do is you have to focus on the human. And it’s one of those situations where you aggressively go after market share. So like what you wanna do is you wanna get companies to get their benefits through you. So you kinda just make good pitches to those companies, get a whole lot of business at once and take market share from the others. It’s kind of zero sum when you start talking about three or four companies that control an entire market. That makes sense at all?
Pierson: I think it makes sense. I think when asking about insurance in business, that’s a pretty broad topic that we could probably end up doing an entire show about as its own. And I think that you’ve done a good job of outlining what insurance and business is to the best of I think our ability. [chuckle]
Brandon: I’m doing the best I can. And for the three people still listening, [chuckle] now we’re gonna go to our second question.
Pierson: Alright, so I’m gonna go ahead and give our first name pronunciation and the city of pronunciation warning. It might be downhill from here. So we’ve got Malani Melay asked, “What confuses you most about marketing?” And he said, “Digital.” Just the word digital. And he’s from Ahmedabad, India.
Brandon: Hey, that was pretty good. I think that was alright.
Pierson: Digital marketing is, I guess you could argue, and you could just call it marketing at this point, because in 2020, everything is seemingly digital and you’re stuck at home and you have so many different platforms at your disposal that you can utilize. Digital marketing could be classified as anything from social media marketing, to email marketing, to cold calling people, they’re all forms of marketing in the digital sense. Brandon, what do you think? I’m not sure what else other than outlining what digital marketing actually is.
Brandon: I think that’s a good place to start, ’cause if you get into more detail than that, it’s gonna cover marketing theory and specific types of marketing, and we’re gonna touch on that as we go through the rest of this podcast, of course. I would say in addition to social media marketing and some other stuff you mentioned, every time you write a blog post online that’s marketing, every digital marketing. Every time you respond to somebody’s Facebook message that’s digital marketing. This podcast is digital marketing. It’s pretty much any time you are spreading some kind of corporate sponsored message on the internet.
Pierson: That, but also, any time you’re working to further your own business or brand and working to expand upon that or even someone else’s. And that like what you said, that could be as simple as commenting on Facebook statuses, writing a post to put on your blog, whatever that might look like for you. And something that you’ll see appear throughout the rest of these questions is a lot of these questions that people are having, they’re all very relative to the situation and what your goals are and what you’re looking to accomplish. And it’s very hard to outline answers that can…
Pierson: You can do that for every single question. There is each… For insurance, that might be, “What does insurance look like for a specific business? What does digital marketing look like for a business that’s trying to just get off the ground?” It’s all relative to what you are trying to accomplish.
Brandon: Very well put. I was trying to think of something to add, but I think you basically hit it on the head.
Pierson: Well, with that being said, why don’t we go ahead and move to the next one? With your easy name again.
Brandon: Yeah, I did have it easy. Ash Cooper says, the thing that most confuses him about marketing is timing. They’re sending in this question from Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom. Timing, timing, timing, timing. There’s a number of ways to interpret that because it seems like we’ve got a laconic bunch pontoon, all one word… All one word so far.
Pierson: I kinda like it. It leaves room for us to interpret it in whichever way we wanna go with.
Brandon: Exactly, like we can actually work with this a lot better. We don’t have to give yeses or nos. So timing, when it comes to timing, there’s a number of different ways where that will impact marketing. First, if you are… You have seasonality, for example, when the holidays are coming, Christmas, which is probably gonna be a few months away from when this podcast ultimately airs, you want to start ramping up your advertising like September or October. And when specifically you will choose to increase your advertising depends on your industry, what your competitors are doing, what your budget looks like, stuff like that. That’s one part of timing, so you’ve got seasonality. You’ve also got time of day and time of the week. There are different kinds of marketing that work better at different parts of the day. You don’t wanna be posting on social media at two in the morning for wherever your market is located. Some will say post at nine in the morning on Instagram or post at noon on Facebook. To tell you the truth, there’s not really a consensus on the best time of day to post on social media, so any time that’s reasonable daytime hours, you’re probably going to be okay. I would say earlier is better. Email is another situation where you have time of day, time of week.
Brandon: Emails tend to do better on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and they tend to do better in the mornings as opposed to the afternoons, although there is an argument to be made for 2 o’clock somewhere around there in the afternoon. Kickstarters tend to do better if they launch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So those are some situations in digital marketing where time of day and time of week affect what you do. And I think there’s also a third element of timing, which is just sort of reading the room, and by that I mean, if there’s something going on in the world that makes people not want your product, you need to be very careful with when you launch your marketing campaign. For example, over this last summer, I’m sure that somewhere out there there was a police department that wanted to release a PR campaign to make themselves look good, but it would have been an absolutely terrible time to do that. It would have been… And I’m sure somebody did it anyway. Somebody probably had some PR plan just ready to go like, “Alright, there’s some problems, we’re gonna address them, we’re gonna make ourselves look good.” You have to read the room for when that’s appropriate and when it’s not.
Pierson: Situational awareness goes a long way. It goes a long… Not just in business, but in life. Just staying aware of what is going on outside of your own personal bubble will prove to be one of the best things that you can do for yourself and for the people around you too, just trying to stay aware and mindful of that. The other thing I’ll throw in is I think trial and error is a big part of it too. Like you’re saying, there might not be a set time a day that’s proven to be the most effective to post on Instagram, but… Like what you’re saying, Brandon, if 2:00 AM doesn’t seem like the best time to post, but all of your followers are people that happen to work third shift or work in the middle of the night, or rather flip that and they’re free at night, that might be the time that you have the highest level of engagement for your community, and that’s okay.
Pierson: And it’s about listening to when works best for you and acting upon that. Because there’s not one set way to do it, and I think that that’s what a lot of the confusion is with some of marketing as a whole. And I’m looking at the list of questions here, and I see so many topics that people think maybe there’s a set way to do this. And I see it even in the questions that we didn’t choose to answer, but, “What is the right way to start a new business? What is the best way to do this?” And the answer for a lot of those questions is, there’s not a best way. The best way is relative to what you are going for, and understanding that is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your business.
Brandon: The answer to pretty much, “Do you know how to do this? Do you know how to perfectly run a business?” Is in almost any variation to that question, my answer is gonna be like, “I have no damn clue.” Because what… It’s like what you said, you design experiments, you test them, you see what happens, and the difference between an experienced person and a total newbie is not that the experienced person will get it right the first time, they have a slightly better chance of guessing it, but the experienced person is gonna know the right questions to ask from the beginning, and they’re gonna know the right questions and the right takeaways based on the data. That’s what will actually make a difference once you get experience.
Brandon: Don’t be afraid of marketing. Nobody is perfect at it, and if you just give it a shot and experiment, you’ll get better at it with time. So you wanna take us into the fourth question.
Pierson: Let’s do it. So Tiago Nevit… Nevis, Nevis… Oh gosh, I’m sorry, Tiago. I’m gonna just call you Tiago N. “What confuses you most about marketing?” Basically finding out what strategy is best for different scenarios is the hardest thing, I think. And he is in Amadora, Portugal. It is, it’s a really hard thing to assess what strategy will be the best for you to do, and it goes back to what we’re saying about the timing. It’s about trial and error, it’s about understanding your short-term and your long-term goals, knowing where you wanna take your business. Understanding your target audience is a huge factor in it. If you have a very responsive community that is engaging on social media…
Pierson: Maybe social media marketing is the best strategy for you. Different scenarios are going to work better for different businesses and different… What you’re looking to solve. Different ones are gonna be better for that, so I think the best thing that you could do in a situation like this where you’re confused about what strategy would be the most effective is to just take a step back from the situation, ask myself, “Okay, what am I looking to accomplish with this?” And then make a list of all of the potential scenarios or strategies that might be able to yield you that result, and then from there, just narrow it down and figure out one that would work best for you.
Brandon: Yeah, and Tiago, I’m actually gonna go with something really specific here because it’s one thing… Everything that Pierson said is absolutely spot-on and you should listen to that, and it can still be difficult to imagine that because we’re talking in an abstract sense. So here’s a specific example. I always like to start with figuring out exactly what I want out of a marketing campaign. For example, let’s say that you really want sales. Sales isn’t always your goal. It’s just a particularly common one. And if you want sales and you want a way of testing what is going to get you sales, then you write down different ways to get sales, like different ways to generate leads. You can write down content marketing, blogging, sending direct messages on social media, advertising, you just write them down one by one on a spreadsheet, and you just write down how much you think it’ll cost you to do each one, how much time you think it’ll take, and what you expect to come out of it. And then you test each individual one, one at a time, and then you write down what happened and you see mathematically what is actually leading to your sales.
Brandon: This is one way where you can get rid of the unknown when you have no idea how else to proceed. In fact, I am using this method for a client of mine right now. We had figured out… They want Kickstarter pledges, so I write down, I’m like, “Okay, here are six or seven ways you can get Kickstarter pledges. Let’s pick the ones that you think are most likely to happen, and then we will figure out how to set your budget from there. Does that help some?
Pierson: Yeah, I think so. Like what happened to you a second ago, I can’t think of anything else to add to it. It’s a very specific approach to it, and I think that you hit the nail on the head for one thing, is that people have a fear of the unknown. And if you can do something to eliminate that fear of not knowing, whether that be in sports, if you’re unsure of your ability to perform, that’s when you see a lot of guys, “Okay, well, I’m gonna hit the gym again. I’m gonna put in that extra work. I’m gonna run a couple extra miles to prepare so I know that I’m ready when that time comes.” And that fear of the unknown becomes a little bit less scary when you put in some work to really understand what you’re looking to accomplish, so I think you nailed it.
Brandon: Good to hear. So I guess our fifth question here is, okay, I am sorry in advance, from Jitesh Bidaria from Ludhiana, India, I am so sorry, asks, “What confuses you most about marketing?” And to respond to that question, said “Approach.” So I guess we actually touched on that with the previous question, like how do you approach marketing? What different methods can you use to accomplish your goals?
Pierson: And Brandon, I’m gonna jump in real quick and say the next question from Tommy King, he asked… Tommy is from, let’s see, Jackonsville… Oh, no, Gosport, England, or Gosport, United Kingdom. And he said delivery. I think that delivery, your approach and delivery need to be considered at the same time, don’t you think? You’ve gotta consider how you’re gonna approach it because how you deliver it goes hand-in-hand with that.
Brandon: Right. I’m gonna… Yeah, let’s answer these questions at the same time. I’m gonna assume approach is how you choose to actually market to people and delivery is what you actually, what you want people to receive.
Pierson: Yeah. Why don’t we break it up like, approach is the precursor to the action and delivery is the action?
Brandon: I’m trying to think about the right way to frame this. Could we think of delivery as a product, and delivery is like a product of work, and approach is a way to… Okay, so let’s assume approach is what you actually do as a marketer. Approach is the thing that you are creating, the messages that you are sending out to people, and delivery is what is actually being received.
Pierson: Okay, let’s go with that.
Brandon: And I’m just gonna take a ton of liberty here. This is pretty open-ended. What you ultimately wanna make sure is that your intentions give the customer the experience that you intended them to have in the first place. The way you would do that is what you wanna do is think about the experience that you wanna give people overall, what you wanna actually deliver to them, and then you work backward from that and then you figure out exactly what approach you want to take to deliver that experience to them. And what you can do to make sure you’re actually creating the experience for your customers that you want is you just come up with certain conditions you want met. Like you want their calls to be answered within a minute from your call center, or you want fewer than 60% of people to drop off of your shopping cart on your website out of frustration. Let’s say that these are your goals. That’s the experience that you want people to have. Then you just work backward and you see, “What am I doing that’s sabotaging that? Is my website confusing and causing people to drop off? Do I not have enough staff in the call center?”
Pierson: I think, yeah, having specific goals is the first really big step to your approach of how to market. And through following those goals throughout the process, from the conception of your marketing plan into the delivery, of delivery, whether that be the product reaching the customer or your campaign launching, following those goals will allow you to keep the delivery in the same plane as your approach, I guess. Does that make sense? Yeah?
Brandon: I think so.
Pierson: Tough questions.
Brandon: So I guess that brings us to question seven by Rob Hester from Jacksonville, Florida, and he says, what confuses him most about marketing is who to target. Yeah, no kidding, that’s a tough one. You wanna take this one, Pierson?
Pierson: Yeah, I think that… I feel like… I don’t wanna beat a dead horse when I say outline your goals, but we’ve written countless articles on who to target, how to appropriately reach your target audience. And one of the best things that you can do to ensure that you’re doing that is to set clear, concise goals. When you do that and you know where you want your business to head, it allows you to structure all of your content to where you can try to meet the needs of those people. I think that when you’re thinking of who to target, you have to think of where you want your business to go. They go hand-in-hand. You need to always be thinking of, “Is this action that I’m taking right now going to lead to the action that I’m wanting to see?”
Brandon: I’m also gonna add that I’m a big fan of just find your audience and then create your product or service if you at all can do that, and if that’s not feasible, show it to as many people as you can and try and figure out who really loves it. But again, that second method is a lot, lot harder than the first one.
Pierson: Also, it’s partly trial and error. When you release content out, you don’t know how everybody’s gonna respond to it. You could post a picture that you think is gonna be the most liked picture and the best campaign that you’ve ever dropped, and people can shit all over it. [chuckle] And sometimes you can’t see that coming because people can’t predict what other people are gonna do. If that was the case, this world would be a whole lot different.
Brandon: And a lot more boring.
Pierson: That’s true. And I think it adds… It’s exciting to try to guess, “Okay, well, how is this article gonna be received? Am I creating something that’s going to be engaging for other people? Are other people gonna be drawn to this? Am I making an impact with what I’m putting out there?” And I think by asking those questions to yourself, it allows you to stay fresh, and it allows you to make sure you’re putting out the best quality content that you can, that’s going to reach the people you want it to.
Pierson: All right, so let’s move on to… I guess this is question six, yeah?
Brandon: I guess we’re on eight.
Pierson: What? [chuckle]
Brandon: Yeah, we’re on number eight.
Pierson: Man, I’m getting these numbers mixed up. We need to number them on the side. Jeannette Frise, what confuses you the most about marketing, and Jeannette is from Gloversville, New York in the US, and she said appropriate expiration dates. What do you think about that? Appropriate expiration dates.
Brandon: So if your milk’s been in the fridge for more than like three days past its sell-by, you probably need a [0:23:02] ____ to make sure it’s still good. [chuckle] But, yeah, appropriate expiration dates. All right, so I’m gonna take a little liberty with this one as well. Advertising campaigns on digital marketing, you can make them run forever if you want. You can run them continuously, $10 a day until the end of time. Don’t ever do this. Never, never do this. Always set an expiration date for your campaigns or else it’ll just keep spending money long after it’s supposed to. I’m gonna say this. If you’re running a marketing campaign and you haven’t tested it, you don’t need to do it for more than like a week if you’re doing like digital ads. Maybe longer if you’re doing print or TV or something. But again, I don’t know a whole lot about those. And if you are familiar with how… If you know that an ad performs well, don’t run it for more than a couple of weeks. Set an expiration date so that it doesn’t just run and run and run forever.
Pierson: The concept of just endlessly promoting with no deadline, I couldn’t imagine that. But I think it’s good to say that’s not a smart thing to do. [chuckle] You’ve gotta listen to the current situations going on, and if you see that your campaign that you’ve been pumping money into is just not yielding the results that you want to, then maybe it’s time to take a step back and say, “Let’s invest in some other form. Let’s put money elsewhere and see if we can drive up sales or views or clicks,” or whatever that is that you’re searching for. I think listening to… Situational awareness, know what’s going on in your business, and know if it’s doing what it you want it to or if it’s not. If it’s not, change it. If it is, keep it up.
Brandon: Yep, I agree. So I guess our next question is from… How did I mispronounce Kevin? Kevin Abraham. [chuckle] It’s from Kevin Abraham Rivera Perez. He asks, when asked, “What confuses you most about marketing?” he says international markets, and he is asking this question from Gustavo Adolfo Madero, Mexico. I got all of that right, but I did not get Kevin right. So, marketing to an international audience. Listen, that’s hard. Okay, it’s hard enough to market to a different region of the United States. So what you need to do whenever you’re marketing to an international audience is you really have to know first whether there’s a market there at all for the product you’re making, but you need to have some decent level of fluency in that market’s social norms.
Brandon: Like you have to make sure that your product’s not offensive, you have to make sure that it’s actually meeting a need that’s actually there. For example, there are a lot of products that are based on how we perceive gender norms, or how we perceive people to act at a certain age, or they’re based on a particular nation’s pop culture. That stuff often doesn’t scan overseas or in another country, and you have to be very aware of that. And this is another instance of just you need situational awareness. Now, if you’re not sure, we go back to our old classic advice of just test it out, test out your marketing and see if it actually scans with an international audience before you spend a whole bunch of money. Set some good expiration dates.
Pierson: Yeah, you touched on what I was gonna say initially, Brandon, and that’s just the biggest thing in my opinion when you’re considering moving to an international market, or whether you’re already there or trying to expand, whatever that might be, you have to take into account cultural differences because… And you touched on that. You don’t wanna put something out like that you would put out in America that’s considered normal here, and then go post that in let’s say… I don’t know, pick any random country that views life differently than America, so anywhere else in the world… And it might rub people some wrong way. You just have to have situational awareness. Also know the market, like what you said. Know where you’re expanding into. Be familiar with how they are approaching things that you are about to put into their market, I guess. I think just a smart way is, don’t take big risks with content when you’re moving into international market. That’s not the time to try some new, provocative, risky campaign. Play it safe. Know your audience.
Brandon: I’m also gonna say like if you’re about to start serving an international market, make sure your logistics are properly set up too. If you cannot get items to people in a timely manner, you need to… First, you need to make sure that the market is actually there, but once you’ve confirmed that it’s there, you need to have a fulfillment solution of some sort set up, assuming you’re e-commerce or even if you’re not. If you don’t have a good way of actually getting products to people in a timely manner, a lot of your marketing details, a lot of the marketing campaigns you do are not gonna matter because you’re gonna irritate your customers, they won’t come back, customer retention will drop, and eventually you’ll get run out of the country. Won’t work out that well for you.
Pierson: So all right, jumping into the question number 10 from Justin Murdoch in Provo, Utah, in the US: “What confuses you most about marketing?” Justin is most confused about social media. Well, we have written countless articles on every different platform that you could wanna use. Social media is one of the best ways that you can market your products. It has more users than almost any other channel. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, they all have interfaces that are conducive for making ads and tracking that data.
Brandon: And most of ’em are not banned in the US, so it’s pretty good.
Pierson: At the time of this video, in the time that we’re recording this, TikTok’s still legal, so…
Brandon: Hopefully. I need to keep watching the bank memes.
Pierson: Social media marketing, there are so many ways that you can do it successfully. I’ll refer you guys to some of our articles if you have any specifics that you wanna know, because we’ve gone into extensive detail on how to effectively market through Facebook, Instagram… What else have we done? Have we done anything other than that? Email marketing, cold calling.
Brandon: There’s more stuff to come, but I think you’ve hit the ones that we’ve already done. I will say that… So here’s what you use social media for. It’s good for branding. People expect your company to have some social media presence of some sort. It’s good for quick customer service. You can use it to generate leads, and it is fantastic for advertising, if you pick the right channels. Facebook and Instagram are good. Pinterest is pretty good. Twitter is not really so good for advertising. You learn the ropes as you play around with it a little bit.
Brandon: Point is it’s versatile and it’s free. What gets people into trouble is not putting out interesting content, or even worse than that, just like not putting anything out there on a regular basis. If you go on social media, even if you don’t get a ton of engagement, even if you don’t talk to a lot of people, at least try and put something up like every weekday on whatever channel you’re using, just so people can see you’re alive. And those are my basic tips. Without getting into a particular channel, we can’t get into the nuances of it in a meaningful way.
Pierson: And social media is so broad. I intentionally chose questions that we could interpret in many different ways, ’cause I think it’s good for us to be able to go in several different directions and provide insightful answers. However, social media is so incredibly broad, and when you take into account social media marketing, you have to think there are many different channels to do this, ways to effectively do it, and there are so many variables to take into account when marketing on social media.
Brandon: So question 11, to the question, “What confuses you most about marketing?” Adam Wagonsback from Spring, Texas asks “How people can spend money on poorly done advertisements that tell me nothing about the product being advertised?” That’s specific. I like that. I’ve got two different thoughts to this, and I’m just gonna launch right into it. So first is, a lot of really good advertisements tell you nothing about the product that’s actually being sold, and we talked about this before in a prior podcast, but I’ll just summarize again. Basic idea is buyers are smart, but they’re not necessarily rational. People don’t buy for objects that meet objectives. What they buy for is essentially things that will give them certain feelings. People watch the beer commercial where the guy gets all the girls and it doesn’t make any sense because it’s beer commercial logic. You know what I’m talking about, but people think, subconsciously, “I wanna be like that guy,” so they get the cheap beer. That’s the way that kind of commercial can work as.
Pierson: Axe body wash where the way you smell and attracting dozens of women to you.
Brandon: Yeah, it absolutely… Yeah, it has nothing to do with that. Or if you take another… An example, which I really love, and I’ve actually done academic research on, no kidding, is the Old Spice guy. No amount of Old Spice is gonna make you as swole as the original Old Spice guy. No amount of it, okay. I’ve used Old Spice for many years and I’m still… It’s some very 15% body fat, not particularly remarkable. Look guys, it smells nice, but it won’t that. But it works because it’s funny because you associate it with that.
Pierson: You could trace this back all the way to Popeye and spinach. It goes all the way back through society, and it’s not the fact that people think that by eating spinach, I’m suddenly gonna grow forearms like Popeye. It’s giving that inspiration for you to say, “I’m gonna eat spinach. Popeye eats it,” whatever that might be. Or, “That guy looks like that, I’m gonna use it.” It’s just building that resonation with you of, “If he does it, I can.” Which for some people, it works. For Adam, it seems like it doesn’t work, but…
Brandon: It doesn’t work because Adam is more of a rational consumer. He weighs the pros and cons, so the advertisement is not for him, it’s for other people. Advertisements, particularly the strange ones that you see by big firms, they work on a sort of dream logic because they’ve experimented, they’ve done testing and they know what works and they know what doesn’t. And even when they don’t, they just try and experiment, they collect data and they either go in that direction or not. Many companies, big ones and small ones see this, and then they try to make commercials like that and they don’t work. And this is the second thing I wanted to get to. People can spend a lot of money on commercials like that, that try to imitate the more successful ones that operate on dream logic and lose that money because they don’t actually understand totally what they’re doing. It’s a sort of hubris, it’s a failure to test on a small market and then gradually grow from there. It’s kind of like, “Yeah, yeah, you know what I’m gonna go with this. Mike Bloomberg spent a whole bunch of money on advertisements during the Democratic primary, it was maybe… It was many, many millions of dollars.
Brandon: It was an absurd amount of money, but nobody wanted what he was pitching. This is actually kind of about as close to objectively true as you get in politics, honestly. Nobody wanted what he was pitching, but he spent a lot of money because he was trying to move very quickly, he had a short amount of time, he had a rough idea of what was going to work and he just spent and spent and spent and spent and spent. Yeah, that’s another way you can spend money on advertisements and not actually talk about the product being advertised. He actually explicitly did that, in some cases, the product was himself and his policies and so on. But there were some billboards he took out, that was like Donald Trump likes his steak well done, Mike Bloomberg likes his medium rare or something. I’m not joking, I’m not joking. That was real.
Pierson: At this point, I feel like it’s just, “That’s a normal presidential ad.”
Brandon: Yeah, honestly, political ads, I would love to talk about at some point, but I’m not sure if we could actually handle that like adults on here.
Pierson: No, I don’t think either of us could. I feel like we… I know both of our views… Yeah, I know both of our views on this kind of stuff and I don’t…
Brandon: Yeah, this is… Yeah, we’re no 538. We cannot hold ourselves together and give you statistics.
Pierson: And I think part of it is, we’re very… We believe in what we think, and I think if we hear something or see something that just blatantly is wrong, I think both of us are the type of people that are inclined to say something about it, and that quickly brings up a large set of issues when discussing politics.
Brandon: Yep, and I will say that I do apologize to the quarter of a percent of the Democratic base who voted for Bloomberg. I apologize, I am so sorry. I have offended you.
Pierson: You’ve really upset some people out there.
Brandon: No, I’m picking on him, frankly because the marketing data was actually pretty solid. We know what happened there. So moving on before we offend everyone.
Pierson: All right, so Scott Lewis from Boulder, Colorado when asked, “What confuses you the most about marketing?” Says, “How to determine what the appropriate market groups would be.” Well, I think that that kind of… It’s getting to the point that we’re starting to revert back to some of our classic go-to answers when determining what your market group would be.
Brandon: Yeah, we covered that under “who to target”.
Pierson: I think we can just say pretty much the same thing, think about your goals, where you wanna go, what you’re trying to accomplish, ask yourself, “Are these people likely to buy into that? Are they likely to buy my product?” I feel like we’ve touched on this quite a bit on this one. Brandon, do you have anything to add?
Brandon: Yes, you can find it in time stamp over dub something here. Sorry Scott, we really did answer your question a little earlier, but you wouldn’t know that, it just has something to do with your position on the spreadsheet.
Pierson: Which once again, I’ll take the blame for that one too, Scott. Not your fault, but to answer your question, just listen to the earlier segment in the show.
Brandon: You can some hate mail to Pierson@pangeamarketingagency.com.
Pierson: I will happily respond to all of them. Alright, Brandon, hit us with question number 12.
Brandon: Yeah, not to nitpick, but I think we’re actually on question 13. Anyway, so Andrew Davis says, “Why they send so many emails? Seems like almost every day [chuckle] I get email from the same places.
Pierson: I like including some of these questions where people… I can read their frustration, and it’s clearly they’re bitter about something. [chuckle] It’s a real thing, and I think we’re guilty of it too. We send a lot of emails, but they serve a purpose, and I think that that’s the overarching message, and that is, if you’re sending an email, there’s a purpose for that email being sent, whether that’s to raise awareness, to try to sell you on a product, to keep you engaged, to let you know about a blog post. There are a million different reasons to keep people engaged and emails are a fantastic way to not passively do that, but to do that in a way that’s not right in people’s faces like cold calling or sending text messages.
Brandon: The return on investment is very, very high when you send out emails. Some people say it’s as high as $44 for every dollar you spend. I don’t believe that, but I know that email marketing is very good.
Pierson: I’ve seen numbers like that. I’ve seen numbers anywhere plus or minus $10 from that, so it’s clear that regardless of what number that is, they’re very successful.
Brandon: But to specifically answer like… Well, I guess, we answered is, ’cause it’s effective, but I’ll tell you, here are two things that are the worst offender when it comes to email marketing. Daily alerts. Daily alerts of any kind, don’t ever sign up for daily alerts. A lot of stores, they’ll sign you up for ’em, and they won’t make it very obvious that they’re doing this, which is by the way, against CAN-SPAM and GDPR, and I don’t… I actually believe that it’s not legal, and you can double-check me on that. It’s certainly not ethical, but a lot of places will sign you up for those daily alerts and they won’t make it obvious that you’re doing it.
Brandon: If you get sucked into that situation, you can usually unsubscribe at the bottom. If not, just type UNSUBSCRIBE in all caps and send it as a reply, that will usually get you off their list real fast. Like, actual software deals with that, and if not, it’s a human being [chuckle] and they’ll get the message. It’s probably not a human being if they’re sending daily mail.
Brandon: Now, the other thing that gets really obnoxious with email is what’s called drip marketing. So you sign up for a marketer’s free checklist and you get an email every day or two or three days, or every week day for the next few weeks or few months from them after you sign up. Okay, so drip marketing done really well is actually super, super helpful, and it’s super effective, but if it’s bad, my God, it’s bad, and you wanna get off their mailing list as soon as possible. And if you get sucked into some drip marketing, which you probably have at some point, again, you’ll wanna unsubscribe. So that’s what’s happening. A lot of places, they either try and sucker you into this daily digest, ’cause they think it’s effective, I don’t know if it is, or they’re doing a bad job of drip marketing.
Pierson: You know, drip marketing, I spent a lot of time around that when I was in real estate, and it’s super common among real estate companies to use drip marketing campaigns, and I’m sure some of you listening are guilty of this as I am, going on Zillow or whatever home buying service you use and wanting to look around at houses. Well, when you sign and you put in your email so you can see those pictures, it’s not just giving you access. You’re… Sometimes you end up signing up for their mailing list, and that’s why every day you see realtor.com, Zillow, you get emails from houses. You’re not necessarily looking to buy a house, but when you put in your email, you then to the system thought, “Oh, he’s looking to buy a house.” So then you get emails every day on potential listings that match what you were searching on.
Brandon: And I wanna dive into this, because this is a really good example, so I’m gonna just look up median home price in Chattanooga. So I can tell you that Chattanooga’s gonna be cheaper to live in than most other places, but according to Chattanooga Real Estate, or… Well, it’s some website. It’s lower than that, it’s actually the median home value in Chattanooga is $146,000 on Zillow, which is probably like maybe one of the last few cities where you can actually afford to buy a home. So anyway, $146,000. Let’s just call it $150,000. Now, a realtor will take 3% from the buyer and from the seller in most cases, off of the selling price of the home. So if you’re talking about a $150,000 home, they’ll get 6% of that. So that’s like, what? $9000. $9000. Now, if you know that you will make $9000, not off of a rich house, not off of a fancy house, but a regular median price home, then you absolutely wanna send out those emails, ’cause emails are virtually free. Any email that you send out is gonna get you closer to getting that $9000 sale.
Brandon: And correct me if I’ve grossly mischaracterized real estate here.
Pierson: You’re doing a really good job of kinda giving an overarching view of I think kinda the mindset behind some of these real estate agents, and by all means, we’re not talking down upon it. I worked in real estate for several years before working with Pangea, and it’s something that is one of the most effective strategies that they use in cold calling and seeing these people and tracking their data like, “Okay, well, how often are you coming to Zillow? How often are you looking at homes?” And seeing, “Okay, well, I have 10 visits in the last three days. That person is a little bit more likely to be interested in actually following through with that purchase process than someone that just clicked on it one night randomly and was on the site for 20 seconds.” It’s about context, it’s about casting your net very wide in real estate, and it’s a good example to touch on with email marketing. I think real estate really utilizes that more than almost any other profession that I can think of off the top of my head.
Brandon: Absolutely, and I will say that a good realtor is an angel, because they will protect you from making a really bad purchase. And yeah, I would say that what you mentioned about how long people spend on your website and stuff like that, there are really sophisticated softwares, one of which I really like called ActiveCampaign that are cheap. Really, really inexpensive software, like we have big mailing list and we’re able to… Big mailing list, okay, we’ve got maybe 10,000 contacts between a couple of different things, but we’ve got like, sizable mailing lists and we can handle them for 50 a month. Anyway, what you can do is you can see how long people have been on your site and stuff like that, and decide whether or not to send them a message. That way you keep your costs low, alright, and don’t annoy people.
Pierson: Absolutely, and that’s the biggest thing, especially with any type of outreach marketing, we’ll call it, whether that be call, email, text, whatever that might be. The end goal is converting. However, another goal that you’ve got is, do not piss off that person. And that’s almost just as important as converting, because even if you’re not making a sale then, you don’t wanna burn that relationship with that customer then. You wanna keep them, I’ll just go back to real estate. If you’re going and I’m looking to buy a house right now, and Brandon, you’re repeatedly reaching out to me to a point that it annoys me, come time that I do wanna buy a house, the odds of me reaching out to you are gonna be slim to none because you’ve annoyed me. You’ve gotten on my nerves. But if you were just right about how you reached out, you let me know that you were there for me when I was ready, then when the time comes, you’ve networked with me, you’ve built your trust with me, and then when that time comes, I know who I would go to. So there are more… There are layers to it.
Brandon: And I’ll also say that… And I’m gonna go on about this a little bit, because Tyson Dee also from Denver, Colorado, asks about email marketing techniques. So this is like, actually a perfect way of answering a further question. How do you know that you’re hitting that Goldilocks zone of not annoying people? Email marketing is wonderful, because it gives you good statistics. And the two best ones you’ve got for telling whether you annoy people… Well, three, actually, I’ll give you three, open rates, unsubscribe rates, abuse reports. You want abuse reports to be really low, like one in 500 or less. You want it to be very rare. You want unsubscribes to be under half a percent, often much lower. And you want open rates to be as high as possible. I would say keep it above 20%. And if you can get it above like 30%, although that’s not always possible or even appropriate. The point is, if your open rates are low, unsubscribe people from your list. If your abuse reports are high, put more barriers in the way before people sign up for your list, so they don’t accidentally get email they don’t intend to get.
Brandon: Same thing with unsubscribes. If you see a lot of unsubscribes, either proactively unsubscribe people who aren’t paying attention to your content or put more barriers inbetween to keep them from accidentally signing up. We actually do this with giveaways. We get a lot of your email addresses by giveaways, and we do ask for them properly. And we do have like… We have your privacy rights lined out. This stuff is very clear. You can’t really miss what you’re doing, but a lot of people still do it for the prize. I know, I get it. I want a free Roku and all that stuff too. But what we start doing is just proactively, like every 28 days, if you don’t open an email, we just unsubscribe you ’cause we know a lot of you come in through the contest. And that’s fine, and we don’t wanna keep sending out email… We don’t wanna keep sending out emails to people who don’t care, because we know it’s annoying, we know it’s frustrating. So we just… We know that we’re getting the emails in this manner that incentivizes people to sign up for something they don’t want to some extent, and so that’s why we are quick about pushing them off the list. And a lot of companies, I think could benefit from a technique like that, ’cause it also keeps costs down.
Pierson: For sure. And you know, Brandon, just to go a little bit more into what you’re talking about, I think both you and I we’re very… We’re realists, and we… Neither one of us are gonna sit and try to polish up something to be something that it’s not. If we’re saying that people aren’t opening, then something we’re doing is not working, and it’s time to assess, change and move forward in a new direction, because if you don’t, that’s just the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.
Brandon: Yeah, and pretty much any email I send out that gets below a 20% open rate, I try and figure out what happened. If I get more than one or two abuse reports on an email, I try and figure out what happened. There are some subjects that when I talk about them, I get abuse reports, I get unsubs. And sometimes it’s perfectly innocent stuff too. Like, if you mention… For example, we did an article on Coronavirus impacts on the gambling industry, well, that can lead to abuse reports, ’cause it looks spammy, even though we were talking about in like an academic context. But it looks bad, so you don’t do that.
Pierson: And you know, sometimes people are just gonna get pissed about what you have to say, you can’t please everybody.
Brandon: You will get… Even if you’re a perfectly legit marketer, you will get abuse reports.
Pierson: And that’s just part of it, you know? That doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, it means just… You have to evaluate why you’re getting that. It’s important to stay on top of that, not always avoiding abuse reports, but understanding why they are happening if you are getting them.
Brandon: And it’s not even like some mysterious thing that happens either. Literally to get an abuse report, all somebody has to do is right-click your email report as spam on Gmail. That’s it, that’s all it takes.
Pierson: Sometimes it is an accident.
Brandon: Yeah, it actually does happen on accident sometimes.
Pierson: Do the background on it and just try to understand where it’s coming from.
Brandon: Yup, I think we wore that subject down.
Pierson: We’ll go ahead and take Tyson, your question on email marketing techniques has been answered too. So, [chuckle] we’ll skip you on the next couple. Alright, so, 15 or 16, Otto S from Minneapolis, Minnesota, when asked, “What confuses you most about marketing,” said, “I am very confused as to how to make people or how to be able to make people buy stuff.” Well, if you’re having to make people buy something, then it seems like that’s the first issue. You shouldn’t have to make anybody buy what you are offering. And I think we… If I’m not mistaken, Brandon, we hit on that in a previous podcast, didn’t we?
Brandon: Probably every single one. First law of marketing is, product market fit, people have to want what you’re selling.
Pierson: And if you have to create that need out of nowhere, good luck, because you might as well be developing a brand new product to hit the earth.
Brandon: There’s pretty much only… I can’t think of very many companies out there who can just create a need from scratch, it’s not something that happens.
Pierson: You could say Space X with Elon Musk, I mean, he’s not even pushing a need, but he’s just pushing literally the frontier of what we do and trying to go to Mars.
Brandon: There’s some interest in space travel out there, rightfully so. It’s something that we should at least consider. ‘Cause you never know, existential risk on Earth, all that kinda stuff. Yeah, I mean, the only way he managed to do that is ’cause I’m sure that he pumped a lot of money into that to kinda bootstrap, and then when people were very interested in what he was doing then they probably bought more stuff.
Pierson: There you go.
Brandon: And that’s… I guess, that’s how you make something out of nothing, you have to be Elon Musk.
Pierson: But for the most part, just try to recognize the product market fit, and it’d be best to not have to just come in creating something brand new. Look at what people need and respond to that or what they’re searching for that isn’t available, and then respond in that way. You’ll typically see you have more success like that.
Brandon: And if we assume that you do have something that… A product that has a product market fit… And that’s a big assumption. If we assume that you’ve got that, you are still going to have to have what’s called a sales funnel in place. To get people to buy, you need a way to get people’s attention, you need a way to get their interest, and you need to get a way… You need to have a way for them to desire your product, and you have to have a way for them to take action. So that’s AIDA, you need attention, interest, desire, and then action. If you get product and market fit right, most of that’s gonna be much easier. But you still need like an infrastructure in place.
Pierson: You know, Brandon, you actually started to hit on the next question, so I’ll go ahead and read it out for everybody and let you keep going with that. Andrew Manzy from Cambridge, United Kingdom just said acronym. So, you started with a great one that is kinda like the core of marketing, wouldn’t you say?
Brandon: Yeah, acronyms, ROI, ROA, SAIDA, PMF, CTR, CTC, CPC, CPA. Yeah, yeah, I get you, Andrew. I mean, it’s nuts, there are way too many acronyms. I love the acronyms because they let me use kind of a jargoning shorthand when I’m talking to Pierson about gritty marketing stuff. It’s really great for shop talk. But yeah, if you’re trying to comprehend the whole of marketing, as much as you possibly can, ignore the acronyms for as long you can, or only pick up a couple at a time and try and actually understand like, “How do I spot somebody’s needs? How do I create a product that meets those needs? How do I convince people to buy? Focus on that stuff first and then gradually teach yourself acronyms.
Pierson: I would even argue that before you do that, understand your own goals, because I think a lot of times people jump into stuff not knowing what they’re searching for.
Brandon: That was how Pangea was born.
Pierson: Yeah, and that’s… By all means, that’s not wrong, you’re not doing something the wrong way by any mean. However, you have a far better chance of succeeding if you know where you’re trying to go with something versus just blindly starting it and hoping that everything falls into place every time.
Brandon: Yeah, I completely agree. Yeah, before you even really study marketing, think about why you need to know marketing in the first place and what you wanna get out of it. And let’s just nip this one right in the bud right now, try not to go in with too much self-interest, you know? I know that you’ve got your own goals, you wanna make money, who doesn’t wanna make money, right? Remember that marketing is about what other people want.
Pierson: Marketing is the product.
Brandon: Marketing is literally the product, that’s where our name came from. It’s meant to be read in like a Keanu Reeves voice, “Marketing is the Product.” That was a bad Keanu, but…
Pierson: You did it really well the other week.
Brandon: Yeah, I did it, I did it really well last time.
Pierson: When you did that, it… The last time, my jaw actually dropped. I was like, “What?” I was like, “Do you do impressions?”
Brandon: No, no, I don’t. But… I don’t, I don’t. But I feel like that’s something that I would do and hide from you. Like, I’ve just gradually dropped to little things that I’ve done and you’ve been like, “What? You never told me.”
Pierson: So the first one for context, I’ll give you a few of them so you understand who we’re dealing with. The first one is that he built super computers in his basement. And that was a fun one to find out, just like a couple of weeks in, you know? I’m like, “Okay, alright.” Then it was backpacking in Europe for what? Like, how long?
Brandon: Couple of weeks.
Pierson: Couple of weeks. Then I found out about the Synth and the EDM days.
Brandon: Oh yeah, yeah. The time I made my own album on Fruity Loops. It wasn’t good.
Pierson: You know, I have been pushing, and if we get good feedback, then maybe this will, but I really want the intro of Marketing is a Product to be one of Brandon’s OG tracks. You’ve expressed a lot of opposition to this, however, I think it would be very well-received, original content straight from Pangea.
Brandon: I cited my influences as [0:56:54] ____ and Justice, so that tells you how much I knew about music at the time.
Brandon: That’s also a very like, 2011 list of artists to reference too.
Pierson: Very early 2010s.
Brandon: Oh God, you’re referring to my college days as an era that has passed, although, yes, it has.
Pierson: We’re starting 2020 off with about as loud of a bang as you can get.
Brandon: Pretty much. I mean, I think the turning points in history have been like, 2009, 2016, 2020. Those have been moments where I’m like, “Oh, the world is definitely different” in those particular years. I couldn’t tell you the difference between 2013 and 2014. They were the same year as far as I’m concerned.
Pierson: Alright, enough of the tangent. Let’s hit this… Let’s call it 16 or 17, ’cause I don’t think… [chuckle] We’re close to the end, guys.
Brandon: Esco Garcia is most… From Xativa, Spain, says, “Most confused by price changes.” Yeah, okay, so there’s vanity pricing, like what you see at like a Coles or a JC Penny where they put a fake price out there on… Like in the store that’s 40% off the tag, which nobody ever sells at the tag price, like, that’s a thing. So those are just made up. I’ll tell you that’s just a… That’s a thing that stores literally do to make things look cheaper. Maybe the other thing about price changes that would be confusing is like, when specifically to run a sale. And I would say pretty much any time you need to move inventory in a hurry, and any time when just others are doing it and you’re expected to run a sale, like around the holidays, and that’s how I interpret price changes. I guess there’s maybe some room for talking about price increases, but for that you kinda don’t market that, you just sorta do it and see how much people are willing to stand. Not to be crass, but you have to move your prices up sometimes, sometimes to go along with inflation or if you’re selling a service, to go along with the maximum amount of time that you have. Like, if you fill up on 50 an hour, start charging 60 and so on.
Pierson: I think the market has a huge factor in it, and you see that with stuff like oil and gas. When COVID hit in March, I remember gas was at… In Chattanooga, let’s say, Brandon, what do you think? Like 2.05 maybe?
Brandon: Oh, it was cheaper than 2.05. I saw it go down to like, 1.40 something for a while.
Pierson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, like before the really big drop.
Brandon: Oh yeah, it was like 2.09.
Pierson: And I remember talking to my friends and thinking, “I wonder if we’re gonna see a time that it gets drastically below $2 a gallon again.” Because at that time it was like who thought that? And then March of 2020 happened, and it gets down to as low as 1.38, 1.40 something, somewhere in Chattanooga, and that’s not due to anything other than the market and how changes occur within that.
Brandon: Yeah, and I feel like the irony is that you’re afraid to touch the gas pumps.
Pierson: Yeah, seriously.
Brandon: That’s the cruel irony of this. Nobody’s got anywhere to go. Oil is somehow negatively priced. I don’t even know how that works. I didn’t even know that was a thing.
Pierson: It doesn’t make much sense. Price changes is pretty broad, but there’s a pretty broad answer in return.
Brandon: We’ve got three more questions, we should probably…
Pierson: Yeah, well, I think the… So I think the last two we can probably…
Brandon: Yeah, Let’s lump together the last two.
Pierson: ‘Cause those kinda go hand in hand, and then we can do this one. So, alright, Brian Penaloza from San Diego, California, my favorite city in the United States. I love San Diego.
Brandon: It is not. You’re making that up. That’s flattery, isn’t it?
Pierson: No, I’m actually not, that’s…
Brandon: I’ve never been to San Diego. It’s probably lovely.
Pierson: I’ve been fortunate enough to go to many different cities around the country, and the first time I went, I was like, “This is my favorite.” I went back last summer actually. Remember when there was that 7.1 earthquake in California? So, I was flying to San Diego when the first one hit, and everybody was like, “Did you feel that?” And I was like, “No, dammit, I was in the air. I’ve never felt an earthquake.” Which is I know, it’s terrible to say, but you have to understand, for those listening anywhere else in the world, we do not get earthquakes in Tennessee.
Brandon: We had the great 4.3 of last year. Yeah, man, my dog was shaking. Nobody else was, but she was shaking.
Pierson: It’s just not… It’s not a thing. Whereas if you guys in California, if you guys got a tornado, it would blow your mind probably.
Brandon: And in Tennessee, we’re just like, “Yawn, Tuesday.”
Pierson: Yeah, seriously, but San Diego, it’s hard to beat the weather. I like everything about the city. I could sit and right out do a podcast on just San Diego, but anyways, Brian said demographics, and that’s a huge part of marketing, Brandon, and that’s…
Brandon: So, demographics. We’ve talked about target markets and audiences and stuff like that in this podcast, and basically the same message applies. Try to find an audience that you really care about and then make a product or a service for them. But demographics are how you actually define that market. That’s how you actually break them down into qualities that you can measure, age, gender, location, interests. Now, there’s also like the related psychographics, like attitudes and behaviors and stuff like that, but honestly, I think demographics and psychographics are so darn close that it almost doesn’t make a difference to split them apart. Demographics are like the specific data that you track to describe individuals that you are trying to communicate with, and I’ll give you a good example of this in practice.
Brandon: So whenever you run a Facebook ad, you know who you wanna target roughly in your head, you know the kinda person you wanna go for, but you have to describe them in terms of something else. And what I’ve done, like for example, we’re promoting our podcast with Kenny from Overboard Games today, and I targeted people who were in the US and the UK, so location, who like marketing, because we need them to be interested in our subject matter, who like podcasts, ’cause we need them to listen to this medium, and who also like board games, so they’re interested in what this guy has to say. So, that’s where demographics come in handy. We didn’t really do a whole lot of age-specific stuff in there. I think I did like 18 plus, just in case. I don’t like marketing to minors unless you absolutely have to for some reason. So, that’s demographics in practice.
Pierson: And I’d say they’re pretty straightforward too, it’s not anything that’s really open for interpretation, I guess, the demographics are pretty clearly laid out.
Brandon: Everything is open to interpretation. Everything is an essay question. Everything is an essay question when you work for me unfortunately.
Pierson: That’s true. I never thought I’d end up writing, let alone putting out… I don’t know how many articles I’ve put out for you now. It has to be over 30.
Brandon: I don’t know, it’s gotta be a lot, but I’ll tell you, I bet those college essays, the ones that you’re still doing are probably like a piece of cake, ’cause I’m just like, give me a gradual 2000 words. ‘Cause like, that’s where the SEO benefits are, that’s what ranks well in Google.
Pierson: I… And for those listening, I am a super, super senior at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and I’m a BIS major, which is Bachelor of Integrated Studies in marketing and communications. Man, since I started for you, Brandon, I’ll honestly… I’ll be open, I hated writing. Never was something I enjoyed, I felt like I was okay at it. But after starting for you in writing those college essays, I wrote a two-page one this morning in 15 minutes, it’s just like, they’re too easy.
Brandon: Right. I mean, you realize how low they set the bar for essays there.
Pierson: Really, and when I look at what I’m trying to accomplish in my writing for you and for our Marketing Is The Product blog, I’m trying to cover all of the potential questions that could come up for a topic. When I’m writing an essay for college, it’s usually just answer this one question, and through writing and putting in thousands and thousands of words, you learn how to articulate your thoughts a little bit better. And I’d say that that’s definitely helped for me in writing for college for sure.
Brandon: And you will never run out of details that you can add to articles, ’cause I’ll tell you that the Game Dev blog is still running, that’s not gonna go anywhere, but there have been instances where I will pull up an article from two and a half years ago that was already 2200 words, and I will say this needs an entire new section because the Coronavirus happened, and it shook things up, or this list of manufacturers is out the date or whatever. And I actually go back and edit my work. There have been some situations where I’ve been like, benefits of working alone in a business, and then I’ve gone back and I’ve said, “This is a terrible idea. Never work alone.”
Brandon: Yeah. So writing is also… When you do it on the Internet, it’s also very iterative.
Pierson: And that’s why I think personally, I prefer podcasting as a medium, because it allows us to show our voice a little bit more than you’re able to, and gaining your voice in writing is something that comes with time as, I don’t think I had it early on, and I think I’m starting to develop it myself, but it’s something that it takes putting in the work.
Brandon: Podcasting is a better medium than it used to be for marketing, because you actually can publish transcripts now, and you can get ranked in Google, you used to not be able to get ranked in Google, ’cause I didn’t know how to use audio.
Pierson: Technology has come a long way.
Brandon: Yes, it has.
Pierson: And that being said, we both did it at the same thing. Alright, so these last two questions, we’re gonna do them hand-in-hand ’cause they kinda go together, and these are from Brian C and Eric Deens, and they’re from Seattle, Washington and a city that, I’m gonna be honest, I’m not gonna try to pronounce.
Brandon: Ciudad de Villa de Alvarez. So, there you go, three years of high school Spanish I haven’t used it in 10 years.
Pierson: German for me. So we’ll go slime versus authenticity for Brian.
Brandon: German is too schlecht for me. There too… Is that the word for hard? I can’t even remember. No, schlecht is bad, isn’t it? Mein Deutsch ist schlecht.
Pierson: Ist gut. Alright, so slime versus authenticity and exaggeration, and we’ll classify exaggeration as the slime part of it, because…
Pierson: I think that exaggeration is… You see it too often in marketing, and it’s something that I know that Brandon and I, we personally try not to exaggerate, it’s inevitable at times, because people exaggerate, it’s human nature. But you see it in all kind of business, you see it in World’s Greatest Coffee, the best anything, is it the world’s best coffee? No, but it’s a selling point that they can tap into to bring more business, and I think that that’s where some of the exaggeration comes from.
Brandon: I’ll tell you outright, for the most part, superlatives are weak, unless you are… I mean, you literally have to be the best at whatever you’re doing, to claim that you’re the best and actually mean it, and even if you are best by what metric and according to who and how do you prove that? So, superlatives, like just saying, best coffee in the world is utterly devoid of meaning. But saying, “We grow our coffee fresh in Kona, Hawaii. We have it fly directly to California where it is vacuum sealed, properly stored and freshly ground right before you consume it,” see now, that… If you can boil that down to a couple of sentences, or if you can have some kind of story in your shop that says, our coffee went on a journey, it is legitimately fantastic, you should try it.
Pierson: And as a consumer, it’s more appealing. Like I don’t… When I see anything is the best, I’m like, “You are the absolute worst.” [chuckle] And that’s what… And that’s just what my mind goes to as the consumer, because it’s such shitty marketing. I’m blown away that people still try use it.
Brandon: One of my… A shipping company I work with, they’re very, very fast, but you can’t just go around saying, you’re the fastest in the world, ’cause that’s probably not true. But what they say is, same day order fulfillment, which is pretty tough to do, actually. They say same day order fulfillment, check our Trustpilot, look at the positive review we’ve got there and they’re legit, they’re almost all five stars. You go to specifics, that’s how you… That’s the easiest way to tell slime apart from actually authentic good quality stuff online. Now, it’s not perfect, you wanna try and find reviews if you can, or influencers that you trust, who can vouch for a product, but it’s very hard to lie with specifics and not get busted for it. It’s very easy to lie by being vague.
Pierson: You wanna end it with that?
Brandon: Yup, don’t lie. Marketing is the product.
Pierson: Just be honest, be honest about what you’re providing and what you’re doing, and you’re gonna see better results. People value honesty and people see through bullshit, and we can end it with that.
Brandon: Alright, so I guess I’ll hit everybody with a call to action.
Brandon: This has been the Marketing is the Product Podcast, you can read our articles on marketingistheproduct.com This podcast is sponsored by the Pangea Marketing Agency. Now, if you have a moment, please leave a five star review on Apple Podcasts, we really appreciate it, it helps us go up higher in the rankings, you know, good for the algorithm. You guys get how it works, you just listened to an hour-long podcast about marketing. You can subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts again, Spotify, Alexa, TuneIn, Stitcher, pretty much anywhere else that you get your podcasts. Thank you very much for listening. We really appreciate it. See you again in a couple of weeks.
Pierson: Auf wiedersehen.