Degreeless.marketing

The means of learning are abundant; the desire to learn is scarce. We need you to connect. We need you to lead. To do work that matters for people who care. We need you to want something more.

You have to be autodidactic—someone who learns on their own rather than needing someone else to tell you.

We need you to do work without a map. Learn as you go, but go. If you don’t know what to build, start asking, “How can I best help you now?”

This website serves as a checkpoint. A collection of everything I’ve found relevant and useful while learning and executing marketing. This is for you.

Find the others. Pull them up.

“Marketing involves creating honest stories—stories that resonate and spread. Marketers offer solutions, opportunities for humans to solve their problems and move forward.”

— Seth Godin, This is Marketing
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re:Start

Marketing is not interruption, and it’s not evil work.

Marketers make change happen.

We make change happen by helping businesses solve the problem of who’s it for.

We begin by understanding that every one of us has a story in our head, a narrative used to navigate the world. We start by acknowledging that every person’s narrative is different.

We start by acknowledging that people don’t want what we make. They want what it will do for them and the way it will make them feel.

That what we sell is a road to achieve those emotions, and we fail whenever we focus on tactics instead of outcomes.

We create new solutions with old emotions, and there’s not that many to choose from.

We deal with the complexities of balancing status, affiliation, dominance, and determining brand vs. direct marketing. Answering who’s it for? What’s it for? Who are the people like us? What are the things like this?

We focus our energy on making change happen through feelings, status, and connection.

We tell stories. We make connections. We create experiences.

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Foundations


Marketing with intention

What change are you trying to make? Marketing drives business. Before anything else, reflect on your intentions and goals.

Don’t worry about how you’re going to accomplish them. Focus on clearly identifying what kind of change you’re trying to make and what successful change might look like.

What are promises your product or service might offer to a customer? At the heart of marketing is a promise. A promise to deliver something of value. Purchased with attention, trust, or a credit card before it’s known that your product or service is what they need or want.

Often this an implicit promise. In contrast to what you might initially think, it's rarely specific, verbal, features-based.

If your promise is more substantial than your present trust and perceived risk, people will ignore you.

Who are you seeking to change? Demographics describe what people look on the outside. Instead, it’s way more valuable to think about the psychographics of the people you seek to change.

You can group people based on the stories they tell themselves by using psychographics instead of demographics.

The more clearly you understand the desires, frustrations, and personalities of the people you seek to change, the more effective your marketing will be. Consider the worldviews of the groups of people you hope to reach. Start with empathy.

A worldview is a shortcut; the lens of each of us uses when we see the world. It’s our assumptions, biases, and stereotypes about the world around us.

A standard tool for this exercise is to identify the different personas we might encounter.


Positioning

Positioning involves trying to feel the way others feel. It challenges you to set aside your comfortable, familiar worldview in exchange for one that may be awkwardly and foreign. It requires you to imagine what you do not know.

What people believe in, what worries them, what excites them, and what they desire will influence their decisions far more than any statistics.

When you start to understand how the people you seek to serve think, you’ll know how to talk with them instead of marketing at them.

When you show that you understand their needs and hopes, you are much likelier to earn their attention and trust in your ability to fulfill your promises.

Identify a specific customer that you seek to change.

Then answer: What does this person believe that you don’t believe? What do they see that you don’t see? What do they want that you don’t want? What do they care about that you don’t care about?

Pushing new ideas is hard. It’s much easier to compare something new to something familiar. Positioning provides a shorthand way to do this for the people you seek to change. By asserting something they already know or care about and then building a true story and a product that fills a slot in their needs and desires.

It’s not about trying to change someone's mind with force or manipulation. It’s about helping someone see how you can fill a hole in their lives, and relating this to things they already understand. Connecting the dots for someone, using the dots they know.

A few traps: talking about all the ways you're better than the competition and repeating your service's summaries based on the point of differentiation.

They are traps because they ignore the needs and desires of those you wish to serve.

A shortcut for this is to position yourself on axes not yet explored. Start by making a list of all the desirable things of the people you seek to change. Pick two, place them on an XY axis, and decide where you and your competitors are.

What is your position on these axes? What are you committed to being for the people you seek to change?

Desirable attributes don’t mean everyone wants that attribute. It means someone wants that attribute.


Worldviews

When the promise you make and the story you tell resonate with one of our core beliefs, they have more impact.

Good looks is not a basic need. It’s a desire to be healthy, belong, and for respect and sex.

Marketing research used to mean conducting focus groups, gathering demographic data, and studying statistics. It meant trying to learn who would buy your product.

Two things have changed. First, all of our obvious needs have been filled—there's a product for any obvious need. Second, culture is now the driver of marketing success.

To reach people and develop loyalty through trust, we must be intensely curious about others.

How they feel, how they live, how they think, and what they dream of. We must be willing to see the truths that we do not know and try to imagine.

We don't dream in words or specs. We dream about images and feelings. As marketers, we have the privilege to offer people ways to get what they've decided they want.

People who group together pay attention to the group. When a new thing, idea, behavior, or product turns up, it’s quickly noticed.

As marketers, we leverage this to make cultural change happen. We can establish the culture by crafting it through products based on understanding what people need, fear, and desire.

We are social animals; people crowd because everyone else is there.

Figure out what marketing problem you're seeking to solve. Why don’t people choose you?


Tension

Historically, advertising was about painting a picture of something you wanted and makes it so until you got that thing, you were unhappy.

Here lies the tension.

The tension of “I want it” alongside “I don't have it yet.”

Tension is wanting two things at the same time.

Some of the things that can cause tension:

We seek to change the state of the person who interacts with our marketing. To change the story that gets told by making the standard obsolete because our offering now exists.

These changes will happen if something shifts and that shift feels like tension.

Everything we do exists to cause change, and that change means tension, and when we do it right, it gets released in a forward motion that leads to trust.

To measure our efforts, we ask,


Status and Identity

When we buy or sign up for something, we either reinforce our perceived role and identity or move to a new status role.

Either make ourselves feel that we're back where we belong or engage in the stressful move.

Most things for a wedding aren't done because people want to have a good time. It's done because people like us do things like this. And it's about a momentary affirmation of status within a tiny circle.

What are the views of the people you seek to serve on their status roles? Who is trying to move up? Who is staying the same? Who is moving down? Do you help them make that move?


Marketing Plan

We come up with an idea that we love, and we want to convince others to love too. But these plans are founded on self-centered concerns.

Instead, make a plan that helps you think, rather than to persuade.

One that elevates the hardest decisions, and is based on intentional instead of random choices.

A marketing plan should be based on understanding others' needs and desires, working with instead of at others, and serving others by delivering on our promises.

Make a marketing place based on empathy, humility, and effectiveness.

Marketing Plan in five steps:

  1. Undeniably true things
  2. Asserting things you believe to be true
  3. What to do if you’re wrong
  4. The expertise, passion, and talent of your team
  5. The cost to make this come true

Use these five pieces alongside the change you seek to make for your marketing plan.

A simple marketing worksheet:

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Resources

Find resources to help you get started, move forward, and level up.

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Degreeless.marketing

Marketers make change happen

Indispensable to our clients

We’re linchpins—special people, in special situations, doing special work. Work that has a huge ROI when done with skill and effort.

Adhocracy over bureaucracy

There’s no top and no bottom. Simply the ranks of people who care enough to make things better. Action over complacency brings out the best in people.

Commitments

We show up and extend ourselves by choice to create space. The space to own the work, to personalize it, and to turn it into more than getting by.

Contribute to building

Every step of the way we ask, what are you building? Directly, or helping other people build, or teaching other people to build, or taking care of people who are building?

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© Degreeless.marketing, 2020. Made by Lukas Murdock