What if Everything You Knew About Your Marketing Was Wrong?


What if Everything You Knew About Your Marketing Was Wrong?

I’ve noticed a trend with clients this year, and I wonder whether the ‘thought virus’ has spread beyond my reach or if I still have time to catch it.  

It can be a little difficult to pick up at first, but once you learn to recognise the symptoms, it’s an easy fix. Here’s how it usually rears its head. A business owner will tell me about their business, and as they begin to talk about their marketing I hear phrases like this:

  • “We know our clients like ….”
  • “That doesn’t work.”
  • “We tried that before.”
  • “Our clients don’t like …”

There are a hundred variations on the theme, but I’m sure you get what I mean with those few phrases. But here’s where it gets dangerous; all of the above statements are assumptions.

Now, you may say that you know some of them to be true because you’ve been doing this long enough to know and that may be the case. But, holding onto an assumption whether it’s true or not stops your brain from devising any other creative solutions to the problem at hand.

So, I’d like you to try something that I do with my clients when I hear the ‘assumptive virus’ (And let me preface this by saying, it’s going to feel a little weird, you’re going to want to fight it, and it’s not going to feel natural).

Smash the assumption … Just for the purpose of the exercise.

Here’s how you’re going to do it:

First of all, you’re going to make a list of all the things you ‘think’ you know about your marketing, and your clients, just like I gave you the four examples above. Then put that list to the side and grab yourself a clean sheet of paper and a pen.

Next, you’re going to do a two to five-minute exercise called ‘Never Gonna Happen’.

Think of a difficult problem that needs solving, like creating world peace. Now, put an impossible timeline to it, say, by tomorrow lunchtime. Set your timer for a minimum of 2 minutes (there’s science behind why it needs to be at least 2 minutes) and write down at least five ways that you can solve world peace by tomorrow lunchtime. If you come up with five, keep going … But you need a minimum of five. Don’t think about it, just allow whatever bubbles up to happen and jot them down.

This exercise primes the left side of your brain to get ‘creative’, and that’s what we want for the real challenge … Smashing your marketing assumptions.

So now it’s time to get to the meat. Go back to your list of assumptions you wrote down earlier and choose the one that is the most negative. It might be something like, “Our clients don’t want to be bothered with emails.”

Now, write that the assumption out as if the opposite were true, i.e., “Our clients want to have regular contact from us.” Then, just like you did with the ‘Never Gonna Happen’ exercise, give yourself two to five minutes to just write down ideas as they come up.

You might get things like:

  • We could shoot daily videos and schedule on social media.
  • We could send them a podcast to listen to.
  • We could create a regular newsletter.
  • We could send them a card in the mail.
  • We could give them a phone call each month to check in.

The idea behind this exercise is to just allow yourself to think ‘what if’. What if we could have regular contact with our clients, what would that look like and what could it mean?

This exercise is even more powerful if you have a few people in the business you can rope in to ‘play’ with you. Start off by brainstorming individually, then, at the end of your individual time get the group together and go around the table sharing and building on each of the ideas.

The real power behind this exercise is allowing yourself (and your team) to smash assumptions you have about the way you market and reach out to your clients. It may be that some (or all) of your initial assumptions are true, but with a little time and by allowing your team’s creative juices to flow you may just find that one or two of your assumption smashing marketing ideas have enough merit to explore within your business as a whole.

Remember, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

So, what have you got to lose?

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