I recently spent some time with Dan Kennedy, one of the world’s top trusted authorities when it comes to direct response marketing and copywriting. I got some great insight from him during our consulting session, and then I was honored to have him do a video interview of me for his community.
Our conversation turned to what the future of business looks like, and the information marketing world specifically .. and why a lot of online marketers are having challenges in their business.
Why is it there are a handful of people doing really well, while most are suffering? Why are product launches not as effective as they once were? What is the market really after?
Dan’s response to this issue was perhaps one of the most important things that you need to understand as an entrepreneur, if you’re interested in growing your business.
If you’ve read the special report that I wrote a few months ago, “The iEffect“, you’re already familiar with my belief that people are not looking for more information. You can literally go on “the Google” and get the answer to virtually any question you could possibly ask. All for free.
As I said in that report, it’s no longer about information. In other words, it’s not about content any more. We’ve reached a tipping point in the world where more is not better.
For what it’s worth, I do think of ‘content’ as being more than just information. It’s specifically oriented information that’s presented in a way that it solves a specific problem or challenge that someone has, as opposed to just being ‘information’ that isn’t organized, packaged or presented in a certain way.
But think about it — does the world really need more content? Do we need another real estate investing program that teaches someone how to flip houses or become a landlord? Another course on how to help coaches get more clients?
I really don’t think so.
Of course this begs the question ..
If content isn’t what it’s about
any more .. then what?
This is where “the Professor of Harsh Reality”, Mr. Dan Kennedy comes in.
In Dan’s view, content is no longer king, and content is not what the information marketing business is going to be about in the future. It’s what he calls “the punishment of free“, where the idea of ‘intellectual property’ is caving in around us right now.
And this parallels what I’ve been teaching for a couple of years now – the Google era has virtually eliminated the ability to maintain a competitive advantage based purely on “knowing more” and having more information or content than others.
In other words, your ability to build a company or sustainable advantage because you have a better concept or better content is over.
That’s pretty profound, and a little scary – because if it’s not about the content and information, what IS it about?
In Dan’s view, it comes down to 2 fundamental things that you need to focus on and build which will lead to success as an entrepreneur.
He said to me, “if people don’t develop a profound personal preference for you and your company, you’ll always struggle to grow the business or even survive at all.”
Put another way, you have to be positioned so that your client or prospect feels like they know you, and that they have a relationship with you so that they literally are choosing you because they know and like you.
In other words, it’s about the relationship that you build with your community and the people in it. When you have that relationship, it’s very difficult for anyone else to get their attention, or to attract them away from you.
And I would say that our company tries to model this. We’ve never just relied on trying to have better information and content than others in our space (though we certainly do try to have great content). We’re told we have among the best training in the world, but we also know that’s not good enough.
We’ve always looked at trying to create a more authentic and transparent relationship with our community, and involving them in our lives to some degree. I talk about my personal life and the important people in it, and that’s because I want people to know me.
I don’t hold back my opinions for fear of being judged or alienating people, because when you hold back who you really are, it’s impossible to create any kind of authentic connection.
So, building an authentic connection and relationship is the first key to the future of business.
The second key is developing a unique and compelling offering that generates significant “pain of disconnect”.
Put another way, your ability to attract, maintain and deepen relationships with your clients relies on creating a service or offering that solves a major problem they have. That’s just good basic business .. but today, that’s not enough.
The second part is to determine how you can create “pain of disconnect” when someone decides not to continue as your client.
Here are a couple of examples of companies that have done that:
- Once you join Facebook, it’s almost impossible to leave .. because you abandon your entire “life history” and cannot take it with you. I literally do not know one person who isn’t on Facebook today, and those who have tried to leave seem to always quietly) slink back on, realizing the pain of disconnect is too significant.
- Apple has massive pain of disconnect if you try and go back to PCs. Most people won’t bother trying, but their incredible smart design and entire branding causes you feel to a pain when considering using PCs. And I know this from experience, because I was a lifelong PC diehard until last year. I’m now a complete Mac convert, 100%. And it gives me a headache just thinking about life without my Apple products.
Ultimately, if it’s painless and easy for your clients to go somewhere, don’t be surprised when they do. You need to spend time thinking about how you can create services and offerings that your clients “can’t live without”.
That can mean the emotional or feeling they get when dealing with you. It could be about how they feel important or recognized by you. It could be that your service or offering solves a major problem for them, and they fear not being able to solve their problem going forward without you.
Your challenge is to come up with products, services and offerings that you can provide to your clients where it is painful and difficult for them to leave. Much like a cable company or electricity utility company, you want to be selling utilities that they cannot live without.
When you get to that point, you’ve got a compelling, powerful business model that is almost impossible to defeat by a competitor.
In the end, your clients will NOT stay because you have “better content”.
The days of content ruling the world are over – so the secret is to focus on the relationship you build with your community so that they TRUST you (which is a key lacking element in the world today).
Follow that up with a service that they tell themselves they can’t live without, and you’ve got the recipe for a high growth company in 2012 and beyond.
What do you think? Post a comment below and let me know your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree!