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The World of Marketing: Your Primary Marketing Tool

What is your primary marketing tool?

We’re looking at the Seven Circles of Marketing, which are summarised here:

1. Superfans

2. Fans

3. Emerging fans

4. Hot prospects

5. Warm prospects

6. Cold prospects

7. Everyone else

In isolating what your primary tool is, we’d need to find the thing which keeps your Superfans alive and interested; that same thing would be feeding your Fans, creating Emerging Fans and possibly attracting Hot Prospects. That same item, whatever it is, would be potentially drawing Warm Prospects closer. We should also be able to tell, if we have it right, what it is that is not of any interest whatsoever to the last two categories.

What is it?

It’s your book.

If you have more than one book, or perhaps a set of short stories, we might be better off calling it your ‘work’.

Your work is your primary marketing tool.

I bet you didn’t think of it that way when you were writing. I bet marketing was the last thing on your mind. But the truth is that every word you crafted onto those pages was building the primary instrument which was going to attract readers and cause them to buy.

Of course it was. It’s obvious when you see it. But until you do see it, you probably thought of ‘marketing’ as something you do once you have completed your work. ‘Story-telling’ and ‘marketing’ are usually kept quite separate in most writers’ minds — and that’s perfectly understandable. You don’t sit down to write a story with a marketer’s hat on — at least, some writers do, the ones who are writing purely for commercial reasons, the ones who churn out book after book according to a shallow selling template. Those writers often do make money, but their work is normally two-dimensional and ephemeral. Serious writers concentrate on the story and seek to make a lasting impact.

Nevertheless, storytelling is part of marketing. If your work is unattractive - if your characters are flat and your plots predictable — then, unless you strike upon one of those commercial selling templates, you are not going to attract readers, create fans or mould superfans. Your primary effort as a marketer needs to be producing your best work.

Does this mean that you have to write stories with customers in mind? No. But you do have to write stories with readers in mind, if you want to be successful commercially. It’s a fine line between a ‘customer' and a ‘reader, I know — but in the case of the first, your attention as a writer is on the money almost exclusively; in the case of the second, your attention is on those elements in your story which act powerfully upon readers.

Marketing could be defined as that set of actions designed to draw people closer and get their commitment. This begins with your opening line, not after you’ve written the closing sentence. Storytelling and marketing are part of the same spectrum and have the same ultimate purpose: the creation of the Superfan, the person who will stick to the work like glue, support it and forward it to others.

Just as you can tell a good storyteller by the way he or she manipulates your attention without apparent effort, so can you tell a good marketer. You’re turning the page before you know it; you’re reaching for your wallet before you know it.

So — now we have established that your primary marketing tool is your work, what is your secondary marketing tool…?

Stay tuned.

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