The Mindset of a Marketing Genius

Let’s change the way you think to the way marketing geniuses think!

In this article, I will focus on what I believe is the mindset of marketing geniuses. Once you adopt this, you will no longer see problems in your life, but opportunities everywhere you look. You will step away from the world of negativity We live in today, to a world of possibility. Remember life is what you make it!

The mindset of a marketing genius is about thinking of creative solutions to difficult problems, and understanding that life is no more than a process of discovery. We’ll discover what is possible within us, by using our minds creatively, and what is possible with all the things we have access to. And accept that all life’s discoveries have not yet been made, and it is our imagination and mindset that determines what is possible. Who thought that one day we could send a man to the moon? Just fifty years ago we might have called those people lunatics!

My belief is that we set our own limits. What we can do as individuals and teams is amazing, but what we actually do is very little.

When I talk about discovery, this does not only relate to “mega-inventions,” such as the television or telephone, but discovering simple ways to add value to your relationships, business, personal or social. The reason that relationships break down is that the other party no longer sees value in what you have to offer. We have to be both creative and opportunistic. See and seize on every opportunity to add value to others.

Never forget that value is the heart of marketing

Throughout this series of reports, I have shown that marketing is simply the process of bringing value to others. At the end of the day, people pay for value. Most marketing professionals will tell you that people buy products because they need them. The marketing genius will tell you that’s not true. He or she will argue that people buy products and services and build relationships with you, because it is of value to them.

We all “need” a better car, more money, better clothes, and better relationships with others. But it is only when it becomes important to us, and we place value on it, that it will happen for us.

The marketing genius will tell you that life does not respond to wishes, it responds to wants. For example, focus groups are a powerful marketing tool used by marketing professionals to capture customer mainly for consumer markets.

In a focus group, you ask a series of people about what they think about your product. Do they like it? What do they not like about it? It is basically a need
assessment, to determine what features are important to people. A focus group is about “wants” – what does your customer want? Now if you asked them if they’d buy it at the proposed price, that’s another question! That’s the question the marketing genius will ask, since he or she knows that people buy things because they place value on them (perceived value). This is where we find out if it’s really important to them.

What determines what people place value on? Their values! The word evaluate comes from what we place value on. I talked about this extensively in Report Number Four, The Secret to Understanding Marketing.

A need amplified becomes valuable, and only when the need becomes valuable will people move into action. So value is the key to the lock!

The whole game of marketing, according to the marketing genius, is about one thing and one thing alone. He or she is obsessed with one question on a daily basis:

“How can I add more value than anyone else?” This is called competitive value (CV). They know when they can do this; they will win the game of marketing.

The secret to marketing is always value. Bring people the perceived value they want, and you cannot help but succeed. Value perceived is the key to the lock to being a marketing genius.

Let me show you how important the concept of value is, and how it works in a few of life’s real situations, business, personal and social.

Use Value to get what you want in Business

The way to distinguish between a poor salesperson and a top salesperson is to note that a poor salesperson will always sell on price, but a top salesperson will always sell on value. The poor salesperson sells on price because they are unable to differentiate their product or service in any other way.

So the only form of comparison left is price. But anything can be differentiated, and marketing is about bringing out the unique value in your product, service or idea.

The top or star salesperson however will always sell on value. They show in no uncertain terms the “added value “their product or service offers versus the competition. The official term given to this is called “defining the USP” (unique selling proposition). I call it a value proposition.

This is a very important point, and I suggest you read my book Marketing is King! to really grasp the concept of value. Please visit my web site at www.marketingisking.com

When I do sales training, people tell me that this all sounds good, but that commodities can’t be differentiated.

Product Differentiation Company

Burgers 24hours / take credit cards McDonald’s

This is only the start. What about the other “commodity products that McDonald’s sells – fries, sodas, etc? What does McDonald’s do to differentiate? How about the concept of a “value meal”? Why is it called a value meal? It’s a way to differentiate these commodity products and bring more value to you! Value meals account for a sizable portion of sales at McDonald’s.

Now let’s look at another product which is a commodity to many-insurance.

This is where the marketing genius steps in. A value proposition can be defined for anything! In other words, any product or service can be differentiated. Let’s look at a few examples to understand this very important point. Let’s start with one of the most common commodity products in the world –a hamburger. How can anyone differentiate that? It’s easy, just look at what the marketing geniuses at McDonald’s do to “add value:

Theoretically speaking this is correct, because most insurance companies actually insure themselves with other insurance companies! But in the real world they clearly differentiate themselves. They have marketing geniuses who create new concepts for “value add,” Shown in the table below”

Insurance Company Animal
Aflac Duck
Met Life Snoopy Geico Lizard
Last week at a seminar, I was with one of the managers of the Transamerica Insurance Company, and he told me “Aflac has the duck, Met Life has Snoopy, Geico has the lizard, Prudential has the rock, and we have nothing!”

The point I am trying to make is that customers will always move and buy products where they feel they can get the most value. This is what differentiates winners and losers in the business world, and real world. Winners simply add more value.

Marketing geniuses are obsessed with figuring out creative ways to add value to others. The marketing genius knows that “he who creates the most value in the eyes of the customer wins.”

Attend any quality marketing course, and you will learn to “develop a USP.” What makes you different? Why do people buy from YOU versus your COMPETITION? Fundamentally, marketing finds and figures out ways to add value to others, and more than your competition.

Use Value to get what you want in Personal Relationships

People build relationships with you if you bring them more value than what they get from other people. This is no different than the business world. Make them feel more loved, wanted, and important than anyone else does!

Get creative in trying to find value

The marketing genius has mastered the art of recognizing and seizing on value. In the business world they will look for ways to continually adding value to your customers, more so than your competitors. This is the only way you can maintain and grow your business, or you will become obsolete and go out of business. As you have now seen, anything can be differentiated, even if it means changing your image to that of a duck!

Either innovate or follow in terms of finding ways to add value to your customers. Notice how many companies in the same industry copy what their competitors do in terms of adding value to customers.

But as you saw in my report, The Magic of Reverse Marketing, the marketing genius doesn’t copy – he prefers to adapt and create. Just look how Federal Express copied the U.S. banking’s “central clearing house” or “hub and spoke” method to develop its business model. The idea came from a different industry!

When I teach Job Hunting, I don’t actually teach job hunting. That many sound funny, but I teach marketing, the process of adding value to others. The first thing I say is to throw the resume into the trash! Why?

Everyone else is sending out resumes, so you will be seen as a commodity. Marketing is about value, about being able to clearly differentiate yourself from your competition.

So I ask job seekers to send a one page or half-page value proposition to decision makers. It works! These value propositions get on average a response rate of 80 percent versus conventional resumes that get less than five percent. Remember, the world pays for value, be it business, personal or social.

Marketing is the process of discovery

I hope you are convinced that marketing is the process of discovering how to add value to others. Look at world history and the evolution of mankind, and we get some very interesting clues.

We have achieved more in the last 200 plus years than the last 10 billion years!

According to scientists, the earth was created by the Big Bang Theory, the dominant scientific theory about the origin of the universe. According to the Big Bang, the universe was created billions of years ago by a cosmic explosion that hurled matter in all directions.

Since the earth’s creation, we have had no more natural resources added. But over time, mankind has made some amazing discoveries – the automobile, internet, telephone, the airplane, the computer, the cell phone, the television, etc.

However, all these inventions happened in the last 200 plus years! The telephone was invented in the 1870’s by Alexander Graham Bell. The world’s first automobile was invented in 1771 by Nicolas Cugnot. Electricity came about in the mid 1700’s. Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first plane flight in 1903. Until then, man had to travel by land.

How can such amazing discoveries have been made in just the past 200 plus years, when man has been on the planet for the last several thousand years?

In my opinion, our ability to think and question and challenge what is possible from both ourselves and our world made the difference. The marketing genius was born!

Clearly education drove the birth of marketing geniuses. Education, in my opinion, only provides one thing: the ability to think, or to question what is going on. Once you start to question things , and what is possible, you start to lay the foundation to become a marketing genius.

Oxford University, the oldest English-speaking University in the world, was formed about 1249. But it was only for religious studies. The true benefits of a university education in England were restricted to men who were members of the Church of England; It was not until University College London was formed in 1825 that education in England became open to everyone regardless of religious and social condition.

Closer to home, education in America did not really begin until the late 1600’s. It started when John Harvard, who came over in 1637, donated 800 British pounds to New College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard University comes into existence. John Harvard himself had received his degree from Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

For thousands of years we had no formal education system on the planet, so the marketing genius could not be born. We did not question things! What was really possible?

The marketing genius can connect the dots

Here’s one more powerful example of the marketing genius in action, and in being able to see and seize opportunity.

This is a product you know very well. It is called CNN. It was Ted Turner’s ability to connect the dots and figure out a new way to add value to customers that has made him so wealthy.

How did it start? Ted Turner brought a UHF television station with a signal that did not go outside the Atlanta city limits. But he also knew that another company called Scientific Atlanta had a Satellite Dish.

He knew that this Dish technology could take his television station signal across the state of Georgia, the entire south, and even across the country! He had put 1+1 together!

The marketing genius now had access to a so-called “market,” across the USA, so he paid three million dollars for this small UHF station.

He went out to do research and realized that people wanted to watch news and sports on a continuous basis. This is what was of perceived value to them. The rest is history. It was just a case of figuring out what was really possible, and connecting the dots.

Who would have thought that a television channel could be dedicated to news and sports?

Summary

When we arrived on this planet, we had no more resources than we have today, but over the last 250 years or so, we have achieved more than in the previous thousands of years.

What has changed? The births of marketing geniuses, who have figured out how to use their minds, connect the dots, and both see and seize on opportunities. The starting point for this was a formal education system that started around the early 1600’s, that challenged us to think and question our reality.

We are now able to make the connections. Bread, meat, tomatoes and lettuce had been around for a long time before someone figured out how to make a hamburger!

Although we take inventions for granted, they are the result of someone’s deep thinking about a problem. We live in such a quality world today because of inventions, made by those who challenged the possibilities.

The world did not come with an owner’s manual on how to build bridges, planes and computers, but mankind managed to figure things out.

Today we have access to no more resources than our ancestors did thousands of years ago, but the greatest inventions in the world are still waiting to be made. In fact it could be you who does it!

The year 2005 is a great year to be alive. We have so much today that our ancestors never had. Be thankful and enjoy it. Within the last three hundred years, this planet evolved into a “new planet.”Now we have a discovery mindset, and discovery is the purpose of life. I believe our creator wants to see how much we can figure out. Based on what we have around us and in us!

Remember there are no hard fast rules in discovery. You can bring bread and meat together and call it a McDonald’s burger or a Subway sandwich. You can borrow, steal and adapt what people in other industries are doing and call it a new way of doing things, like Fed Ex did.

We are where we are today because of marketing geniuses! To be successful, adopt the mindset of a marketing genius and simply demand and question more from yourself and your world. Einstein said, “Creativity is more important than knowledge.” On a daily basis, question how you can add more value to your relationships, business, personal and social. I “walk the talk.” I question what is marketing? Why does it just have to be for business?

Simply look what others are doing, and figure out how to adapt and implement it in your situation. We learned to fly by looking at birds! Good luck and thank you for allowing me to share my philosophical views of what I think is the mindset of a marketing genius.