This Week’s Parable: Idiots, Maniacs And Me
Marketing advice for small business entrepreneurs-Filtered through the mind of George Carlin
For those of you who remember and appreciate the real-life humor of the late George Carlin – and even for those of you who, through no fault of your own, do not – I like to recall the essence of his famous bit, “Idiots, Maniacs, and Me”.
George was talking about drivers he encountered on the road. He said there are only three types of drivers, “idiots, maniacs, and me.” (in essence, that leaves only two types, but let’s not get carried away with minutiae.) And, believe it or not, I’m going to relate this classic bit to marketing conversion strategy. Yes, I am.
Carlin referred to Idiots as drivers in front of him going slower than he wanted to go. As in, “C’mon you idiot, you’re holding up traffic. I’ve got somewhere important to go, so get the **** outa my way…IDIOT!”
Maniacs, on the other hand, were drivers behind George going faster than he wanted to go. “Hey, Maniac, what’s your hurry? Where’s the fire? You’re an accident looking to happen. You’re going to kill somebody, you reckless, selfish, arrogant, MANIAC!”
Get the point? I’m sure you do. Well, I retell George’s bit not only because I like it, but because it segues so well into this week’s marketing parable, “Money and Marketing – Idiots, Maniacs and Me”.
You Must Spend Money – But Nobody Said You Have To Be Stupid About It
When it comes to spending money wisely on increasing website conversions, branding, radical website rehabs, etc. there are two kinds of small business people, the first I call Idiots (no surprise there, right?). “Idiots” are those who spend money begrudgingly, take forever to make a decision, almost never have a real marketing budget, and have the idea that they can get everything free or cheap, if they look hard enough.
The basic tenet of marketing these “Idiots” fail to understand is if you don’t inform people about your business in the proper way, you’ll never turn your advertising or website into a conversion and sales machine. Unfortunately, idiots never would consider themselves the cause of this failure, but rather blame the media (wrong station/wrong day part) their web visitors (they never stay long enough to understand what we’re selling) or the expense of even cheap ads (we only got 2 customers from this $2,000 campaign and they spent only a total of $310). Let me say to them now…
“It’s not the money you spend; it’s the message you send.”
Maniacs – on the other hand – think any problem can be fixed by throwing more money at it. “The ad’s not pulling? Make it bigger.” “Boost the frequency.” “Try a station with more reach.” This is like polishing the brass on a leaking boat. No matter how hard you try, it won’t stop you from sinking.
Over seven-out-of-ten small businesses lose sales not because of what they spend or don’t spend. It’s because the lack killer marketing message. Computer geeks have an expression for this… “Garbage In. Garbage Out.”
Here’s my message to the marketing maniacs, “All the money in the world won’t help a weak, lousy marketing message.” I’d better rephrase that, ““All the money you have won’t help a weak, lousy marketing message.
So small business entrepreneurs, please…please craft a powerful and compelling marketing message, give people real reasons to buy from you, and show how you’re different and unique from your competitors.
Do this, and you’ll Win The Marketing Game.
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Calling all Idiots and Maniacs…And if you think that’s funny…
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