The first step in successful marketing is making hard choices about who you want to help, and that has to be specific.

There’s a big difference between a 25-year-old man and a 40-year-old man. In fact, we’ll go over that in just a moment. The first and most important step and this is not easy work, is to pick your ideal client and make it specific. “But I have so many heroes. My product can help everyone, right?”

There’s Mark Zuckerberg on stage, and Mark Zuckerberg has, I think, 1.9 billion monthly active users on Facebook. So, he has quite a few avatars, right? But if you think you’re going to conquer the world with your business, I would submit to you that the strategy of focusing on one avatar at the beginning is vital to success. Once you’ve chosen your avatar, that’s just the first step.

And almost everyone, marketing agencies who actually do this, stop here. Everyone stops with an avatar. “Okay, I’ve clearly defined it. I know that they’re male, they live in this demographic, they’re urban, they have this type of job,” and they think they’re done, but that’s actually just the start. And this is hard work.

Empathy is not something you just kind of sit down and do in a quick casual session. This is something you need to focus. And we do this systematically. This is something you really need to learn how to do as a business owner to get your marketing right. Once you really understand your avatar, who exactly they are, give them a name, even pick out a photo for them, do an empathy map of what they’re thinking, feeling, saying, doing, what their greatest hopes and dreams are, you write the story down.

If this sounds easy, it’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do, because it takes a tremendous amount of focus and discipline, and that’s exactly why we do it at our workshop. And what was really interesting is the reaction of the coaching clients that went through this. So, let me just play it quickly.

So, my name is Herman Coppola, and I have a company called Yumiwi. We’re an event marketing platform that pretty much what we do is we track consumer behavior at live events for brands, and we provide real-time feedback back to the brands through RFID technology and NFD technology.

Right at the end of the day of day one when we had to write the story, that’s where everything fell in place for me. Because I really understood when I wrote the story in first person, I understood exactly what it was that my client feels, and that made me feel and change a lot of the things that I want to do in the business. Because of the way we’re approaching the client, it’s probably not the right way because we were lacking information.

And day one was actually really helpful into obtaining that feedback, that information, and understanding how it is that we can actually approach our client in the right way, understand them, have empathy, and obviously know exactly their pain points and what they’re looking for.

It completely redefined what marketing is for me. Completely. What I had in mind of what it was and how I was implementing marketing my company has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with what I’m going to do next week. It’s not about the product, it’s about the person, and that’s, for me, what triggered the whole change. It’s understanding of what their pain point is, where they want to gain from the product, and not so much about how I want my product to look.

It’s not about me anymore, it’s about them. And that’s, for me, the most powerful thing that I take out of this workshop, that I understand finally that this product is something I have to build and create or somebody else’s needs, not for mine.

The business owner realizing that everything including even the products and services he was doing or he was offering were not completely what he should have been doing. And you’re going to see in the next section how if you really dig deep and you do these three things, truly define your hero, make the hard choices, dig in and understand what they’re thinking and feeling not just superficially but emotionally, and then finally, write the story to where it’s so clear to you. Start thinking of them as your hero. Because if you’re a business owner and your heart’s in the right place, you should truly want to serve your customer and make them a hero.

Life is too short to bash your head against the wall with products you don’t believe in and that you don’t love. You’re in a relationship in business. You’re in a relationship with that customer. It’s a longterm relationship, five to seven years it’s going to take to get it off the ground to make a business really successful where you can consider selling it or handing it off the day-to-day operations. Trust me, I’ve done a few of these, and it’s not easy.

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