Three steps to a successful marketing promise

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Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 8.04.16 AMSeth Godin is one of the greatest marketers, thinkers, and idea persons of our time. He has written 14 books, all of them bestsellers, which have been translated into more than 30 languages. American Way Magazine calls him, “America’s Greatest Marketer,” and his blog is one of the most popular self-written blogs in the world. Seth has founded dozens of companies, and is the founder of what he calls “permission marketing“, which is what we now know as modern email marketing.

In a recent blog post, Seth talks about the three steps that marketers need to make in order to make a successful marketing promise. Here is an excerpt from that blog post:

You know the story: Jack traded the family cow for some worthless beans that turned out to be magical.

How did that deal go down?

1. The individual has to be open to hearing the offer at all. Jack was bored, disillusioned and aimlessly walking to market. Sure, it was a shady guy on the street, but Jack’s standards were low. If you want to do business with people with more resources than Jack, it helps to have the trust that comes from previous engagements, and the permission to deliver your message.

Most of all, Jack was in the mood to buy. Creating a mood is far more difficult than finding one.

2. The person hearing your story has to want to believe it. This is more subtle than it sounds. Uber, for example, offers a newfangled way to call for transport in big cities. Many people haven’t heard of it or used it, largely because they don’t think they need it, aren’t open to something new, or are unwilling to go through all the steps necessary to get the app, etc. So, even if it works as promised, there’s no urgent need felt by some, so they don’t care.

In Jack’s case, the prospect of escaping his dreary life (and getting rid of the pesky cow) were both welcome offers. He hoped they’d be true.

3.  It has to be true. You must be able to keep the promise. If not, you’re ripping people off and shortcircuiting any chance you have to build something of value. If the beans hadn’t grown, end of story. Future sales will come when Jack tells his friends…

Marketing failure occurs because at least one of these three elements isn’t present.