Welcome to Business Book Club! We are here to pick up those words of wisdom shared with us from the authors who take the time to share their experiences. I'll share the highlights I got from the book and then you can decide if you want to pick up your own copy!
Today I’m going to be giving an overview of Mike Michalowicz' book Get Different. Mike says "Those who market differently, win." Get your brand, your messaging and product or service to connect with customers by standing out in your industry. Here's how:
Watch my YouTube video overview here.
Chapter 1 - Your Responsibility to Market
If you offer something that serves, you must make everyone aware. We need you, but we don't know you exist and that not knowing you exist part is your responsibility to fix. Starting immediately.
Don't hope to be found. Demand people see you. When everyone is using the same methods, nobody stands out.
Different is marketing in a way that no one else in the room does. It is uncommon, unexpected and unignorable.
You are doing what you think works and that is the problem. The problem is not with what you offer. Being better doesn't matter until you get noticed and you won't get noticed until you are different.
People lose the game of marketing because they play by the rules. Rules that don't even exist.
Be different so that people must take notice. Be different enough that the hardwired part of the human brain forces the prospect to contemplate and consider what they are seeing.
Chapter 2 - The DAD Marketing Framework
You don’t have to change everything. You don’t have to wait for a genius idea. You don’t have to do something wild or complicated or expensive. Your different could be just different enough to get noticed.
Small changes that are different win. Different is hardly ever outrageous.
Our ideal customers view what we do to get noticed as an opportunity, not a threat. But our work doesn’t end there. Getting noticed by the right people takes us only so far.
DAD marketing framework:
DIFFERENTIATE - identify a marketing approach that stands out in a sea of sameness.
ATTRACT - appeal to the people you want to serve,
DIRECT - strategy must compel your ideal prospects to take a specific action you desire. Does the prospect see the reward of doing what you ask as greater than the risk of taking that action? Reasonable Call to Action.
We don’t want to be different just to be different, or we risk turning away the right prospects. Just enough to get attention.
Example, accountant who serves cigar shops sent ten books with five sticky notes. He placed them on key pages with messages such as “This paragraph gets results! Hope it serves you” and “Don’t skip this page!” Last one said "Call me and I'll walk you through this."
Break your first different marketing experiment into simple, manageable steps. Then, share them with someone who will hold you accountable.
Chapter 3 - The Target One Hundred
Make a list of actual prospects. If you don't know who needs you, how can you market to them?
A good sample size is 10% of the entire target population (the sample size should never be below 100 people or organizations). I.e. 100 - 500 people or organizations if the population is 5,000.
3 mission critical elements to nail down the ideal prospect (Who), the ideal offer (What) and your ideal marketing outcome (Win).
Print out the last 2 years of customers from most revenue to least.
Identify the customers you value the most with a 😊
Identify the customers who make you cringe with a 😕
Circle top 10%
If you don't have any customers, clone you. What characteristics do you have that you want in a customer?
You can also look at competitors and vendors of ideal customers to see who you would like to work with.
Here’s the technique to nail down your group of elite prospects:
Write down everything you know that defines the avatar of your best customer, who brings in the highest revenue and you enjoy working for the most.
Start with demographics, such as industry, title, gender, age, family situation, and religious orientation. Then go deeper into their psychographic by defining their biggest problems and desired solutions. At the end of the day we are looking for great customers who have a big problem you are best situated to solve.
Search for groups, platforms, meetups, conferences, and podcasts where your avatar goes to share knowledge, learn, be entertained, and, ideally, seek solutions for their biggest problem. That is where you need to go and market.
Do a web search for “help for [avatar] with [problem]” or “help with [problem] for [avatar],” or a search for your avatar that specifies the problem. For example, if you own a nanny employment service, and you specify your ideal avatar is moms with multiple young kids, you might search “help for overwhelmed moms with twins.” The websites, resources, meetups, etc. are places where your avatar gathers.
Do a web search that simply specifies your ideal avatar. For example, let’s say you have a product that goes into planes and that your ideal customer is the established pilots who have a say on cockpit changes search for “pilots who have worked for more than twenty years in the industry” or “how veteran pilots can influence what is installed in cockpits” comes up with many articles for organizations that talk about this community. These are people and organizations you can contact to learn more.
Social media platforms - you can build great lists from these because they are so targeted. Give prospects something free in exchange for their contact info.
If you are in B2B, you can do web searches for the name of one ideal, existing customer and add the words “competitor of” or “alternatives to” in front of it.
You can buy lists. Search for “prospect lists” and use the parameters of your ideal avatar to find them.
Look for your ideal prospects advertising (again ideal for B2B). If you sell services to computer repair companies, for example, search “computer repair companies near me” or “computer repair companies in [specify area]”.
For B2C do a search for “[avatar] clubs” or “[avatar] meetups” or “[avatar] support groups” or “[avatar] events.”
Network. Go to the places where your ideal prospects gather, and get their business cards (or a way to contact them). The opportunities come about with the subsequent outreach.
Look where your customers are. What terms do they use to identify themselves? What is the problem they want to fix? Do those searches and see where they go. Then, find a way to gain access to the list.
What are you going to market to your Target 100?
Discover the reason these 100 most want your offer. Do you satisfy their core desire?
What specifically is it about your offer that your ideal customers benefit from most?
Emphasize the biggest benefit and direct them to act by having a clear Win.
What do you want? Is it to gain a customer, retain a customer, get a referral or get someone to volunteer time?
Direct the prospect to take specific, reasonable steps to lead them toward the Win.
Regular, minor successes can be more effective than achieving a big success. Narrow it down to the one action you are marketing to one type of prospect per experiment.
What is the lifetime value (LTV) of landing your ideal customer, the revenue you expect them to generate for you over all transactions they do with you, over all the time they work with you? You need an approximate number. Does an ideal customer generate $100 of income over a lifetime? Or is it $1,000, $20,000, or $75,000?
What are the odds—if you market directly and effectively to one of these ideal Target 100 prospects—that you will get their attention and win their business? Look up your past conversion rates or conversion rates from your industry to get your Close Rate Odds.
What are you willing to invest per prospect to make that happen?
= your marketing Investment per Prospect.
The big, fat marketing lie: when your marketing isn’t working, it’s because you aren’t doing enough of it. We are more vulnerable to get-rich-quick bullshit schemes when times are hard, when we are desperate for something, anything to work.
In summary, understand your Target 100 and how much you’d invest to land them.
Chapter 4 - Differentiate for Attention
Have an attention plan, not a marketing plan.
Come up with an approach that will pass the blink test and get noticed, and then create a marketing plan to roll it out.
Deliver your marketing using a different medium—different from what you already use, and different from the established norms in your industry. Medium meaning videos, signs, brochures, direct mail, influencer marketing, print, packaging, outdoor advertising, indoor advertising, phone, website, pay-per-click, search engine marketing, social media, affiliate, email, television, speaking, referral networking, facilitated word of mouth, trade shows, conferences, access point marketing, PR, listings, endorsements… If everyone is sending text emails, send video emails. If they don’t do direct mail, you should.
Gather a group of at least five people from different backgrounds, outside of your industry. Assign a facilitator to keep time and ensure everyone follows the rules. Give them a brief description of your ideal avatar, your offer and how it benefits the avatar, the problem your offer solves, the typical way your competitors market similar offers to your shared prospects. Set a 30 minute timer and one at a time, each person shares their new and different ideas about how you could market your offer. Write down the ideas —without commenting.
Document your industry’s typical marketing method. Describe your offer. What are all of the apparent features and benefits, the same features and benefits your competition brags about? How do they show their offer is better than everyone else's? How do your customers commonly use your product? Time to get different!
Be the "est". The craziest, weirdest, funniest, sincerest or deepest. Make it an amplification of who you are already, naturally: Absurdest, Brawniest, Cheekiest, Deadliest, Edgiest, Filthiest, Gooiest, Iciest, Junkiest, Kindest, Leakiest, Mouthiest, Naughtiest, Oddest, Perkiest, Queasiest, etc. Example: Frank’s RedHot Ethel puts that shit on everything.
Blend It. Study how the industry is currently marketing so you can avoid the same ignorable noise. Study people outside your industry and market, at least in part, the way they do. I.e. A bank used their drive through to give away dog treats so people wouldn't leave their dogs in the cars, like Happy Meals.
Change your label. What label could you use that is different from the common labels in your industry?
Find opposites and loopholes. Make a list of the standard aspects of your offer and your industry. What does everyone do? What is never allowed? Look at your list and determine what are the opposites and the loopholes.
Think like a reporter. Is this newsworthy?
Whose Line actors are given an object, like a pitchfork or a beach ball, and have to quickly rotate ideas for what else that item could be. As you brainstorm different marketing ideas, remember to stay open. Don’t shut a notion down with "yeah, but".
Make space and time for different.
Stay true to who you are. Your opportunity to market differently is to simply be more you, authentically. Do different. Be consistently, unapologetically you. The people who need you will be eternally thankful for it. And the people who don’t need you? They’ll be grateful they didn’t buy into a fake.
Start and build the different marketing muscle immediately. Do different marketing, in small, low-cost, low-effort ways to get started.
Chapter 5 - Attract for Engagement
Attract your ideal avatar, those prospects you most want to work with and who want the service or product you most want to sell.
The Attract stage of the DAD Marketing Framework is designed to hold your prospect’s attention. 7 techniques:
Authority - others see you as a leader
Trusted Source - already have confidence in
Repetition - hear a recurring message
Social Significance- something that elevates our status
Alignment - what we already know and feel. Validation.
Safety Validation.- protection from harm (physical, financial, emotional, etc.)
Comfort - attracted to things that sustain us. Avoiding or preventing discomfort.
Expansion - expand the things we already like (1st class, nicer car)
Belonging - to a community. Fitting in.
Health - physical, mental, sexual health. Improves our well-being.
Relief - gain pleasure and avoid pain
Beauty - amplify that which we find pleasing to the senses.
Esteem - things and messages that make us feel valued and recognize
Consider your Target 100. What type of Attraction Influencer would appeal to them? Then, review your list of ideas. Which of them would repel or fall flat for your ideal prospect, and which would attract them?
People are also attracted to their own image.
Identity is powerful. This is why intentional polarization can also be an effective attractor factor. We are drawn to messaging that affirms we are right and other people are wrong.
People know when they are being marketed to, and they know when you are taking advantage of a crisis.
Mike had focused on a marketing idea that only yielded onesies-twosies. And because that idea worked, he ignored the fact that it was only inching him toward his goal. He set up a new email sequence, modified web properties, changed up the format of virtual keynotes, and, most effectively, added a level of marketing where people use his books to market themselves.
Think about Get Different marketing as an experiment to cut through the noise of self-judgment.
Chapter 6 - Direct for Results
Have one clear directive, and make it easy to do. Be specific and reasonable.
Will the directive trigger the wrong action? Or no action at all?
What can your community see, hear, or understand that other people can’t? What would they respond to that other people might not? Design your directive for your community. What would appeal to them specifically?
An appeal that aligns with both emotion and logic. When you use the direct, ask yourself what serves the instant gratification of your customers’ emotional desire (quick wins, easy steps, fast rewards), and satisfies the long-term logical desires (permanent change, noticeable impact and improvement)?
How you direct depends on if you are a leader (tell what action to take and reward their compliance to your request with demonstrations of relational advancement. Phrases such as “you have made a great decision” and “you will love this shirt” and “way to step up"), equal (invite them to join or connect and reward with a welcome message or family announcement) or inferior (petition them to share, tell you or contribute and respond with you have made a big difference” or “thank you for leading the way” or “your generosity will not be forgotten.")
To figure out the directive, simply ask yourself, “What exactly do I want my ideal prospects to do at this stage?” Click and buy. Subscribe to a list or follow on social.
Chapter 7 - Experiment, Measure, Amplify, Repeat
Most of your different ideas will suck. But the 10 percent that go the distance, will more than make up for the experiments that don’t.
You'll experience a magnetic pull back to what you have always done, the way everyone else does it. Not because it works, but because it feels safe. Because no one else is doing it, that’s precisely why it will be effective.
You’re going to run a test to figure out if you’re onto something. No pressure to go big. Break down your marketing ideas from grand “marketing plans” to doable “marketing experiments”. When successful, move on to marketing plans (comprehensive and continuous). Evaluate to see if they adhere to the DAD and track them to see if they actually work.
Doing more of the same unnoticeable, ineffective stuff is a huge mistake. Doing more invisible is still invisible.
The Get Different Experiment Sheet is a simple way to create actionable marketing ideas.
Step 1: OBJECTIVE (Chapter 3). WHO = a set of qualities of the person you most want to work with. WHAT—What offer serves your prospect best? WIN—What is the ultimate outcome you want? Do you want to sell your prospects something? Do you want them making a contribution, becoming a member, signing up for a class? The WIN is the endgame for your marketing.
Step 2: INVESTMENT
Step 3: EXPERIMENT - DAD Framework. If you’re able to tick off all three, you’re good to try the experiment. If you can't check all the boxes, reform your idea until you can.
Step 4: MEASUREMENT. Don’t make big bets on what you think the customer will do, make big bets on what you know the customer will do. Measure the ROI. For your Get Different marketing to make sense, it needs to result in a positive return. Will you build a prospect list with email, phone, or other contact info, without directing them to buy just yet? Will you offer an industry report in exchange for them providing you with their name and email? Remember to measure along the way. Just because a Get Different Experiment works now does not mean it will work next year.
You’ll never know if your Get Different experiment works if you give up before you hit statistical significance. You need to give it enough time to do its magic. Don’t start and stop. Don’t rush the experiment. You’ll know it’s time to abandon the idea when, after trying it out for a reasonable amount of time on your Target 100 and tweaking the Attract and Direct components, you still aren’t getting the results you had hoped to achieve.
Do your experiment along with others. Take action fast. Start with the smallest, easiest element of your different idea and build from there. Ask "What is the cost of not doing this?”
Chapter 8 - How to Know It's Working
Trust wallets, not words. Do strangers love your thing? Ask strangers to give you something in exchange such as an email, a phone number, money. You get the truth through currency exchanges with strangers, not the support of your friends and family.
Test within 24 hours of the idea, no more than a week.
The Omen method:
Objective- what is the intended outcome? Direct your prospects to take one specific action, not a sequence of actions. The objective of your experiment is the first step that move you to the Win.
Measurements - what defines a successful outcome?
Evaluation frequency. How often will you measure the progress? Schedule your progress check-ins and track it.
Nurture. How will you evaluate your settings? When you check in on your progress what could you tweak to improve your outcomes? Were the objectives and measurements you set the right ones? Change, tweak, amplify or abandon.
Have customized web pages for each mailing or campaign. Have two different mailers with two different urls, phone numbers, coupon codes, etc. to track.
Focus on the marketing that drives sales.
Market with enthusiasm. Get better at it. Make tons of offers. Follow up. Nudge people. Remind them what they stand to miss, and do it as if your business depends on it. Because it does.
Chapter 9 - The Disadvantage Advantage
A simple reframe of your disadvantage can help you find the courage to do your own Get Different experiments. The stuff you don’t want anyone to know about, the stuff that you think needs to be fixed, hidden, or downplayed, could be a starting point for you to brainstorm new different marketing ideas. So flip the narrative.
Think of the worst mistake your company has ever made, and highlight how you handled it. Authentically reflect your company’s values to attracted ideal customers.
People are drawn to the underdogs who trip and fall but got back up and finished the race.
If you’re second best (Burger King) or, even better, way down the list in your industry, consider how you can use that ranking to your advantage. Instead of hiding it, how could you play it up? How can you leverage the strength of your competition to make you stronger?
What are you saving up to buy for your business? What’s something you think your customers expect you to have that you can’t afford? That thing you don’t have could actually be a feature, not a flaw.
Chapter 10 - Reimagine Your Business
Focus on profitable sales, not more sales.
The day may come when no matter how different your marketing is, no matter how many times you experiment-improve-experiment, and no matter how buff your marketing muscle has become, you can’t sell enough of your thing. It happens to all of us. Tides turn. Tastes change. Disruption happens. Copycats emerge. When it does, reimagine your business—the offers, how we market them, even who our customer base should be. We have to be willing to shift the way we do business, not just how we market.
Differentiate what you offer not just how you offer it.
Take 1 step back:
Look at your historical offering, the main thing you do.
Then, record the last step you take immediately prior to delivering the final offer. For example, if you are a restaurant serving the food is a final offer and one step back of carrying the food to the table.
Now consider how you could change your offer based on that step.
Now take one more step back. What happened before that prior step? How could this become a new offering?
Keep rewinding step by step until you have identified all the significant steps you take to get to your historical offer.
Once you've zeroed in on the one step you want to differentiate, play with the idea to make variations of it then run. If it works, amplify. If it doesn't work, rethink it and try again.
Sell the Tell:
Share the details of your idea with your community through email, social media or in person. Tell them you have an idea and the key components you intend to include.
Be upfront about the fact you have a new idea you want to try and because you may make mistakes it will likely need improvement.
Then ask if they want your thing. Do they think the idea is useful? Do they need it? Ask for a deposit. The Direct part here should be based on a discounted price and remind people this is a beta concept.
Send out the request within 24 hours of thinking it up. Determine the ultimate price, discount it for the people willing to get it early and get them to commit with cash.
If you don't get enough positive responses, seek feedback on what needs to change and try again or set it aside and move on to the next idea.
Involve your beta customers and improve your thing. Ask for their feedback and make changes quickly.
After you finished your test, roll it out at full price. Because you delivered it to your customers while actively taking and acting upon their feedback, your customers will rave about it.
Ask “Who else benefits?” For example, for an event where the sale is an attendee buying a ticket, other beneficiaries include the ticket processing company, the event venue, food services, hotels, the production crew, etc. What other vendors also want to serve the same customers? To reimagine or even reinvent your business, ask yourself who else benefits? Keep asking it until you find new opportunities.
Do what doesn't scale. What if you could find a way to do things that other people can't? Kick around ideas for an hour or so and ask yourself what if? What if you weren't concerned about scalability? What if the inability to scale something was just an industry myth and you can in fact grow it? What would you offer? Or how would you deliver your offer different? What if you simply did what can't be scaled in your industry and filled the gap? That might be your secret sauce.
The key to succeeding at marketing and sales is to continually ask yourself what if I tried a different way? What if I tried a different approach? What if I borrowed a product or service delivery system from a completely different industry? What if I bucked conventional ideals, set aside industry norms and tried something completely out of the box? When you reimagine the big stuff, what you sell and how you sell it, you just might discover your true calling.
Get your own copy of Mike Michalowicz' book Get Different. You won't regret it!