You Are Being Controlled. By Marketing :-)

Last Update: March 03, 2020

You are being controlled....

But don't worry... it's just marketing.

Before we get started, GREETINGS FROM THE CARIBEAN!

While writing this post, I am sitting on a Carnival "FUN"ship heading back to "reality" after a week long, much needed vacay! Taking some time off from blogging and worrying about business stuff and just enjoying family, good food, many libations, and just relaxing has totally been the recharge me and the family needed.

Anyway, I have a good story for you (and ignore the numbers in brackets for now)...

So after we set sail, we have two days 'at sea' where we just chill on the boat and pig-out on food and entertainment provided by the cruise line as we head to the Caribbean from New Orleans, LA.

So one afternoon after eating the most delicious and mouthwatering cheeseburger I have ever seen, me and the family were looking for something to do. So we pulled up the itinerary on the boat for the day to see what activities were going on.

We stumbled on a seminar called, (1) "how to flatten your belly"

It piqued our interest (2) since we were feeling a little guilty after inhaling that double cheeseburger from earlier. So we attended the hour long seminar.

It was lead by a personal trainer of 13 years named Ali. He used to work for (3) Microsoft, not as a programmer, but the offices personal trainer. But outside of his experience, he was HILARIOUS. (4) He was cracking jokes from the first moment he walked in. But one thing that he certainly was, outside of the humor, was informative. (5) Ali knew his stuff.

He broke down our digestive system and things that could inhibit us from digesting food properly. He even broke down a few tips we could use to jump start our digestive process to help burn more fat more efficiently.

The best part about the whole talk was that he turned something that is boring and scienc-y and made it interesting, entertaining, and fun to learn (6).

So the whole time while learning about how my body works, the hour flew by and it was the end of the presentation..... and there was no sales pitch (7).

No pills, lotion, or potion. No nothing... just a great, informative, and entertaining presentation.

I'm not going to lie, I was a little put off... I know marketing pretty well and was expecting to be sold something. But I was wrong (8).

However, after the group mingled for a minute or two after the presentation, he said that if anyone wanted a free 1-on-1 consultation (9), we could schedule one with him and we could talk more about our specific situation.

So the wife and I took him up on his offer, pretty much because we felt his presentation was OUTSTANDING. We wanted to see what else he had to say about us!

We picked a time slot and were excited to grab one of his last slots (10) at 430pm the next day. So fast forward 24 hours and it was time to meet 1-on-1 with Ali. He sits us down, shuffles a few papers at his desk and starts to ask us specific question about our health.

After giving us more healthy tips and even a free exercise schedule (11), the pitch started for his fat-burning product. It was a simple transition because he framed the supplement as the answer to the problem we were having (12).

But then something weird happened...

But before I get into that, I have a confession to make.... I am the worst person in the world to market to because I like to think I know all the angles and ways someone is using to sell something to me.

It kills the experience for me because I can tell if someone is being genuine or just reading a pitch. Which brought me to a realization that I made a long time ago...


Remember Neo in The Matrix? It's like taking the red pill or blue pill. I now see through all of the 'free stuff' and look for the pitch. An unintended side effect of learning marketing is that no one can get anything by you anymore. In fact, everything from the grocery store to Victoria Secret to the street vendor ALL use common marketing principles to sell their products.

At the end of the day, it is all a sales funnel. Or a process you walk a potential customer through with the hope of them becoming a buyer at the end of it.

In fact, let's go through the story again from my meeting with Ali and see if we can point out what he was doing.

Remember those numbers I told you to ignore? Let's review:

(1) The Advertisement

The listing in the cruise schedule was the ad placed to the over 3,000 people on the ship. Notice the name, "how to flatten your belly" is a nice and wide 'net' to appeal to as many people as possible. But it would only affect people that are interested in it.

(2) Target Audience

The ad piqued our interest because we were the 'target' audience. It called to our current 'pain-point'. The over-eating cruise goers feeling guilty after binging on carbs for a week.

(3) Established Authority

We had no idea who Ali was. But telling us he was a personal trainer wasn't enough. He let us know his background working for large companies to help us see him as an authority on health.

(4) Relatable

So Ali had a great sense of humor and a lot of it was self-deprecating. So even though he is an expert on the subject, his humor brought him down to my level so I could see the transformation he was selling.

(5) Knowledgeable

Ali knew his stuff. He wasn't reaching for words or going back on what he was saying; he knew the process completely. No doubt from ton's of research over the time he has been a trainer.

(6) Interesting

No one wants to be read a science book. Nearly any subject can be boring when you start talking minutia, BUT when you can infuse humor and illustrations to help the understandability of complex subjects, that is a WIN. It keeps people watching/reading and interested longer.

(7) Pure Value

Ali gave us a solid hour of pure information and tips.... FOR FREE. The main goal of the presentation was not to sell anything, but make us aware of a problem that many of us did not know even existed.

(8) Subverting Expectations

No ulterior motives. No hidden sales pitches. Just pure information for free. Most people are expecting a sales pitch at the end, but delivering the value first really helped his audience gain trust in a guy we all just met less than an hour ago.

(9) The Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is something that you give to your audience for free in hopes of getting something in return like an email address, other contact information, or in our case, a sit-down meeting.

(10) Urgency

The truth of the matter is, most people will not make a move unless they have to. So by letting us know he only had a "few spots" available, triggers FOMO (or Fear of Missing Out) in our brains and makes us take action.

(11) More Free Value

Again, before the main offer was presented, more free stuff! This creates reciprocity. Ali had done so much for us already, I almost felt like I owed him something. It's the perfect setup for presenting the main offer.

(12) Staging The Offer

So instead of trying to convince me to BUY something, Ali structured it a different way. He presented the 'pain-point' of stubborn belly fat and educated us on why it's happening. Then logically walked us through a process of how to fix it and what needs to be done to fix it, but here is the important part... he did so WITHOUT even mentioning the final offer, he just explained what our bodies needed to do to fix the problem.

Then, when the time was right, he presented the product that can help us reach our desired outcome.

The Weird thing that eventually happened...

I actually felt sorry for the Ali because as great as he was with everything else higher up in the funnel, he was a terrible closer. Meaning he could not close the deal and get the sale.

The main reason for this was because I would ask him a few questions grilling him on his product. One example was 'what made this product different than a similar product I could find for a quarter of the price in my local grocery store?' Unfortunately, he didn't have a good answer for that or other questions. Then suddenly his countenance changed. He went from being light-hearted and knowledgeable to dejected and a little lost.

It almost seemed like my questions threw him off his script and he didn't know where to go afterwards. It definitely started to show when he saw he wasn't going to get a sell out of me right at that moment.

What He Should Have Done...

From my experience, what he should have done is after making the hard-sell and I wasn't budging on buying, to have a down-sell or some type of offer to keep me on the bargaining table.

Or worst yet, get my contact information like phone number and email address, that way either him or his team could continue marketing to me later down the line because I am obviously interested, otherwise I wouldn't be sitting down with him to begin with.

Either one of those options would have worked other than getting upset that I wasn't buying on the spot.

oh well....

So what does this all mean for you as a blogger?

Ali did everything right until I grilled him on a few questions that he didn't have good responses for.

So be sure to do these things when building your blog....

1) You should know your subject inside and out. You don't have to be an expert, just be willing to find the right answer and help other people interested in your subject.

2) When it makes sense, try to capture contact information because a small percentage of people will buy from their first contact from you. New studies show that you need anywhere from 7 to 12 contacts with a potential customer before they are moved to buy something. Re-market to them via email, text, FB messenger, etc....

3) Don't get dejected when things don't work out... When something doesn't work, it's not a waste of time, you now have more information that you can use to further polish your presentation so you can get the next customer that lands on your site. Getting traffic is not hard... it's converting traffic.

4) Always provide value first and then go into the sales pitch. A big mistake new bloggers make is pushing for people to click their affiliate links too soon. Warm them up and become their friend first.

5) Have a lead magnet to collect contact information. Do something to get people through the door... now you have the opportunity to market to them over and over again for years.

6) Be interesting. If you do not feel the passion for your subject, your reader won't either. Therefore, it is recommended you dive into niches you are interested in.

7) Relate to your audience. Be sure to not write for computers and search engines. Talk to your audience as people and be truly helpful. That is how you win-over your potential customers.

So where have you noticed marketing? As you learn your craft, you are going to start noticing all of the marketing everywhere.... Anywhere you look, there is some type of marketing going on. Every company needs it and every company has it.

Anyway, keep growing and learn your subject inside and out.

Don't be controlled by marketing. Learn it.

Take Control,

Chris Myles AKA Benji's Dad


List one attempt a company used to market to you in the last few days that you would have never noticed before you started to learn marketing with WA.

Join the Discussion
Write something…
Recent messages
LDSewell Premium
Great info - and on the one attempt thing - I notice everything - even the junk I do not want and even when they have zero chance of me buying, I still look to see how their offer was constructed.

What I find funny is the number of people/companies that never follow up. Example - I spoke with a sales rep for a billboard company and got a quote. Quote requested and quote delivered (late but eventually) then crickets for months.

Oppose that with my electrician/plumber who calls periodically just to make sure everything is still fine with previous work - and to check and see if I need anything else! Smart guy!

Interesting to see different approaches!
BenjisDad Premium Plus
the fortune is in the follow up
drjec Premium
This is a practical post. I enjoyed your 12 points about marketing. thanks.
BenjisDad Premium Plus
thanks Jim!
Dave07 Premium
Hi Chris.
This was a very enjoyable and enlightening read!
I know what you mean about spotting the marketing process being used on you but I still get tempted by some shiny objects!

Hope you had a great holiday!

BenjisDad Premium Plus
it happens to all of us.
AlanJE Premium Plus
Great story, Chris, Alan.
BenjisDad Premium Plus
thanks Alan