Tuesday 2¢: Marketers need to be more like the people whose books they say they read

Yes, a long title for a 2 cents, and probably true anytime, but today especially we need to listen, fine hone our message and stop interrupting.


I’ve been binge-listening to the stories of a lot of authors, via Douglas Burdett’s excellent marketing book podcast (The Marketing Book Podcast) many of whom are also public speakers.

And, a thought struck me as we grapple with marketing in 2020 and I noticed a common theme in their stories; Becoming a genuine thought leader, (recognized by others and not just buzzwords in your bio) with the best selling book and the speaking world tour (in normal circumstances) is a circular process.

They start with an idea, test it with an audience, either as a consultant, in small speaking gigs, as a blog, newsletter, or podcast. They then adapt it, iterate, expand it, and finely hone its relevance to be helpful to that audience. During this process, they build credibility and permission to write the book and then be invited to speak. And this process circles back as they continue to evolve, refine, and move onto the next idea.

It’s the same process with standup comedians, they suck at first, and then through the hot forge of small rooms of unforgiving drunk people, they hone their message.

However, traditional interruption and push marketing is used to speaking without permission. There is no spending time getting the message right, earning a useful place in the world of its audience, and getting permission to be shared, they just interrupt.

Which seems to be the challenge right now, if you are so used to rudely interrupting, what do you do now? Perhaps you have the self-awareness to shut up. But should you just wait?

I don’t think so.

You do what the aspiring author or speaker does; talk to the audience, listen, and be useful.

Or at least listen to the people that are on the front line talking to the audience.

Or at least do some research into what is going on with the community you are trying to reach or empathize with and listen to that.

This is good to do anytime, but why today?

Because waiting and then going back to how it was before is not going to work. There is a change happening to our society and culture, both in terms of living with a virus and addressing inequalities.

The successful will be part of that change, the ones that listened, were relevant, and that helped.