Looking back, I can remember when I was first captivated by marketing, but it’s tough to remember exactly what captivated me about it and, more importantly, why. But as I look at myself and other things I love, something seems to show more often than it doesn’t.
I love to teach. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up teaching one day. And the more I learn about marketing, the more I realize how closely these two practices run in parallel.
The A-ha Moment
During college I was given the responsibility at church to teach Sunday School. This meant that every other week I was preparing a lesson and presenting it to a group of people.
As the same time, I was building marketing sandbox and sandbox. This meant that every month or so I was launching some for of marketing sales page. Somewhere along the way I started to notice how similar my marketing speak was to my teaching speak. And, more importantly, how much better it tended to work than my typical “marketing copy” I was using before. In other words, I was learning that:
Marketing is teaching people about something in a way that gets them to act.
If I was stumped on my marketing, I simply talked to someone who had no idea what I was marketing and taught them about it. By teaching, I almost always found the right way to create my marketing.
Example #1) Snowmaking
In a recent GBOP entry I talked about how I used to market home snowmakers. Other home snowmaking companies would almost completely shy away from any form of education about the science behind the scenes. For a while I did the same but, as you might imagine, it just wasn’t working.
Just selling left holes that people and their natural curiosity wanted to fill. So I changed my tone and spent significant time (and content marketing efforts) simply teaching people how snowmaking worked. Not only did sales increase as potential customer became more confident in how it worked, but PR did too as teaching enhanced my position as an “expert” on the subject.
Example #2) Bikes
I feel like sometimes we as marketers are scared to empower our customers with too much knowledge. But humans are naturally curious. I was when I bought my first road bike.
After reading every sales page on the web I still didn’t have the confidence to pull the trigger. It wasn’t until I found people (my brother and bloggers) who dropped the marketing jargon and simply taught me about components and shapes and wheels and chainrings that I finally pulled the trigger.
If you can teach someone what you have, why they need it, how it feels to use it, why other people love it. If you can teach them why it’s a good choice for their needs and how it will make their lives better, you won’t need to do any marketing because they’ll already be sold.
So ask yourself:
“If you were asked to prepare a lesson plan about lift tickets instead of a marketing plan, how would your approach differ? And, more importantly, why?”
When in marketing doubt, just start teaching.
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