The Secrets of Successful Business Part Eight: The Magic Mirror of Marketing
If you’ve been following along each part of this course so far, you will have learned a number of almost magical things:
1. You now know that there are five basic mechanisms at work in any good business, attracting potential customers, compelling those potential customers forward, sticking prospects to your business, involving and engaging them by asking them to make moral choices, until they are captivated completely by your main message and driven forward to the conclusion.
2. You’ve learned about a set of incredibly distinct and amazingly universal archetypes, a sequence of prompts which propel prospects forward time after time, and a little about 'attention commanders' embedded in your business which tell customers what to expect and what they are doing there.
3. You’ve learned where you can go wrong, namely by not having a customer template or having one that is weak, then failing to magnify basic needs, not using testimonies from happy customers, neglecting to use a comparative image of failure, and then, once you have a customer, not giving enough assistance so that the customer fails to use your product or service well enough. You can also lag behind where you should be by not having a narrative which moves things along in the background.
But there are a lot of specifics there, aren’t there? We’re going to put them all together later, in a simple programme that you will be able to easily apply in your own business, whatever your product or service might be. However, before we do that, let’s take a step back and see if we can simplify what is going
The more astute amongst you will have noticed a pattern.
First of all, with any business, no matter what it does, you should be seeking to bring the customer and the product or service together, almost as one, in as close as possible to a perfect unity that you can get. Thus people hungry for pizza should get ideal pizzas which totally satisfy their appetites, and they should get them swiftly and reasonably priced; people wanting to buy cars should get the vehicle of their dreams for an affordable price, delivered promptly; people looking for the perfect holiday should be given the time of their lives, all within their budget. That’s what business is all about: bringing about a unity between the customer and the product with maximum efficiency.
Customers who have purchased from you and are going through the process of acquiring whatever it is they have bought - perhaps they are waiting for delivery, or learning from a course, or reading a book, or eating a pizza - are approaching that unity. They have paid, and are now having their needs filled in one way or another.
Prospects who have yet to buy should be getting closer to buying because they somehow perceive that unity is there, waiting for them, if they just click the Checkout button or open their wallets.
And prospects who are still in orbit around their needs, who haven’t yet made contact with you, should suddenly, through your marketing, get a glimpse of their exact need reflected back at them, with the hint of a possibility of unity in the remote distance, but growing.
Examine for a moment what happens to you - what exactly occurs when you make the transition from prospect to customer yourself. Let’s say you are browsing the net, casually scrolling through your Facebook news feed, and an image catches your eye: something that strikes a chord with you. Perhaps you have been thinking about refurbishing your kitchen and a dream kitchen ad appears in the feed.
At that exact instant, what happens? Your hidden need, about which you were not consciously thinking at that moment, is suddenly activated. If there had been no image, or perhaps another picture of a cat, this need would have stayed dormant - but the image was there, and it triggered something within you. In other words, you saw reflected there, in your news feed, something that was in the back of your mind.
If that need was activated enough, it might then have the power to move your finger slightly and have you click ‘Learn more’ (such is the power of internet marketing). If, on being taken to the page by the link, you see more of your needs, your desires, your dreams, reflected there, you might spend some time on that page. If the page is doing its job in terms of reflecting back at you more and more of your desire, magnifying your vacuum, you might be tempted to go further and explore a website - or, if the page strikes chord after chord with you, you might book an appointment. In other words, your once-hidden need, now activated, is powering you into action.
All the kitchen business (or any business) has to do is reflect back at you more and more of your desire, strengthening that vacuum so that you move forward. You, the prospect, yet to buy, are getting closer to buying because you perceive that potential unity is there, waiting for you. All you have do is click.
What does the kitchen business have to do? Once you become a customer, you are going through the process of acquiring whatever it is you have bought. The business has to show you in various ways that you are constantly and as quickly as possible approaching the unity you glimpsed. You have paid, and are now having your needs filled in one way or another. Perhaps you immediately receive a phone call, or an info pack, or a visit, or whatever is appropriate to a particular product or service.
And then, sometimes quickly, sometimes after the passage of time, you have that unity the shadow of which you saw in the very first image presented to you.
So what is the simplicity underlying all these stages?
Reflection and then magnification.
Think of your business as a shiny mirror, reflecting prospect’s needs back at them. Mirrors are irresistible. Most people stop and look, even if only momentarily. But your mirror does something more than show them themselves - it slightly magnifies that image, so that they see both the possibility of unity with whatever it is that will satisfy their need, and failure or departure, the notion that unity will slip away and be lost.
They see themselves as they are; they see themselves as they might be; and they see themselves as what they dread.
They are then empowered to make a choice: do they want to achieve the unity about which they dream? Or do they want to lose it, perhaps forever?
The magic mirror of marketing shows more than is there, in a good way and a bad way. In doing so, it amplifies the need or desire within the prospect. If it can amplify it enough, the prospect will go into action.
In practice, what does this mean?
It means that the very first thing that the prospect sees about you must be some kind of mirror. What should that mirror show? The prospect, as accurately as possible, along with that individual’s dreams and fears.
Example: a pizza delivery company puts up a meme showing the most colourful and delicious pizza imaginable, along with a skeleton holding up a placard saying ‘I didn’t make it to (name of pizza company) in time’. People who didn’t even realise that they were hungry for pizza, glancing at this, see a dream pizza and the consequences of not getting one.
Example: a car sales company puts up a video of an ideal vehicle overtaking a burnt out jalopy. People who were quite satisfied with their current vehicle recognise elements of the jalopy in it, and suddenly have a desire to upgrade.
Example: a holiday company plays an ad showing a family having an incredible time on vacation, but then a man wakes up at work and we see that he was dreaming. People who weren’t even looking for a holiday recognise themselves in the ad and decide to look more closely.
Many business gurus advise that a business should not talk about its products and services but concentrate instead on the prospect. That’s true, but it misses the point. Why? What effect are you trying to have on the prospect?
You are trying to make the prospect aware of a nuclear reactor-style need or desire within.
That need might not be as strong as that to begin with, but the task of a marketing campaign is to make the need or desire strong enough to prompt action.
Should you talk about you and your products or services? Only insofar as it triggers that hidden reactor.
All successful advertising, every marketing campaign that got results, every piece of effective promotion that was ever launched, was working on these principles, whether it was aware of them or not.
Initially, you’re only trying to prompt a twitch in a prospect’s clicking finger. That doesn’t sound so impossible, worded like that, does it? When they do click, though, you want to be prepared. The page that that link takes them to has to be a more powerful mirror of needs, desires and fears.
You’ve all seen those ‘scroll down’ pages which are trying to sell you something. They begin by asking you rhetorical questions, like ‘What would your life be like if you had blah?’ and as you move down (your vacuum need prompted into motion by that opening) you read more and more about things that you have dreamed about. As you get further towards the bottom, fears begin to appear - the product is only available for a limited time, or will only remain at this price for a short time, or you might miss out for some other reason. Of course, logically you know that you are ‘being sold to’. Now you know exactly how: your fears that things may not improve or may even get worse are being triggered. Finally, at the bottom of the page, you are told that the one remaining barrier, price, has been ‘temporarily’ lowered. Your desire, your need, your vacuum, is at its strongest, or at the highest level that the page could get it to: has it been enough to move you towards clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button?
All the way, what has the page been doing? Mirroring and magnifying You.
The degree to which it has been successful at capturing and amplifying your image is the degree to which you feel compelled to click that button.
You will see this in other forms. A television or radio ad cannot make you ‘click’ anything, but it tries to stir that hidden need into life for another time; a newspaper ad can at least provide you with information which lingers for longer under your nose. The internet changed everything: now businesses could mirror prospects and directly prompt action from them. With the arrival of things like ‘links’ and ‘online shopping’, marketing could do more than stir a dream into life - it could direct the motion of the prospect towards satisfying that need. In that way, the mirror had to do more than show a prospect a dream, it had to magnify it enough to create action.
How do you implement this in your business?
Next: A Simple Programme to Implement All of This