What's the dumbest recommandation in the history of marketing? A marketing conversation with Marcus Sheridan

Mar 14, 2023

Who is Marcus Sheridan? 

Marcus Sheridan: I'm certainly happy to be here as well, Karine, looking forward to it. I'll give you a really quick background for those that don't know. So I started a swimming pool company here in the U.S. in the state of Virginia in 2001, and things were going okay up until 2008 when the market collapsed. We thought we were going to lose the business, and it was during that time that I really started to just lean into the internet, noticed how I had changed as a buyer and what I was seeing in the marketplace.

Now I started to read a lot about, you know, things like inbound marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, social media, blogging.

And as I read that stuff, what I heard in my simple pool guy mind is, you know, markets just obsess over your customers' questions, and if you do and you're willing to address them on your website, through text and video, you might save your business. And so I said, all right, that's what we're going to do, we're going to become essentially the Wikipedia of pools.

And I said, if anybody has a question, we're going to answer it; we're doing it on our website. We called that philosophy “They Ask, You Answer”, and we went on to become the most traffic swimming pool website in the world; and we built a fabulous business, a manufacturing company as well. Now we have franchises and franchises all over the U.S. of pool builders.

And you know, I started to write about my success and then companies started to say, Hey, can you teach me how to do that? And conferences started to say, Hey, can you share that from our stage? And so it's led to this amazing life where I've, other than during the pandemic, been able to speak all over the world and help thousands of companies.

The book “They Ask You Answer” came out about four years ago. It's done incredibly well. It's been translated in a lot of languages, not French yet, which we have to change, right? We've got to change that. Other than that, it's been an amazing journey, and so I'm happy to have this conversation because the principles we're going to talk about apply to any business regardless of who you are, what you sell and how you sell it. 



Working in marketing = working in the business of trust, as a teacher


Marcus Sheridan: Yeah, I love your point about trust because that's the building block of all business and it's not going to go away. If you said to me, what is “They Ask You Answer” I would define it a couple ways from an action standpoint.

  1. Number one, it's your obsession with the questions, worries, fears, concerns, issues that your potential customers have or your existing customers in the willingness to address them on your website.
  2. Number two, it's the willingness to communicate with your potential customers in the way that they want to be communicated with. So they're asking, for example, for more video. Are we as businesses willing to give it to them, or are we going to say no a video is not my thing? Which is ridiculous.
  3. And then finally, number three, "they ask, you answer" is a willingness to sell it the way they want to buy it. And this is where it gets really interesting because many items, products, services - the way they're being sold and the way the marketplace is trying to buy them - has evolved so much, especially in the last just year and a half, because of COVID. And so we as businesses now have to ask ourselves, am I willing to sell this the way that I want to buy it or do I still want to dictate the entire sales process? That's what “They Ask You Answer” is, the buyers in the middle, but all around that is trust, right? And that's what's going to be permanent for any of us who are in business. 


What is « Ostrich Marketing » and how to avoid it?  

Marcus Sheridan: Yeah, you know, we call it ostrich marketing because the myth is the ostrich. When it has a problem, it buries its head in the sand because it thinks the problem's going to go away, and businesses are very, very similar. Lots of times we get asked questions, we hear things from potential customers, buyers, et cetera but we say things like, let's, let's not talk about that unless they ask. So if they ask us, then we'll then we'll discuss it. We're just going to ignore it otherwise, which is ridiculous, considering that so much of the buying decision is made before you even meet them. So they're going to get their answers somewhere. Question is, are they going to get them from you? But most businesses don't see it that way. They think that if you mention anything that's “negative” or that they perceive as negative, it's going to hurt you in the buying process. No, it's actually the opposite. If you're willing to talk about that which others in your space are not willing to talk about, you become that trusted voice. You now control the conversation. And I don't know about you, but that's what I want as a business owner. 


What industries have a major problem of trust? 

Marcus Sheridan: I mean, there's lots of industries that have trust problems, generally speaking, right?

So an example is attorneys and lawyers.

They have a trust problem, right? This is why I think it's hilarious. Can you find one attorney or lawyer website in the world that addresses this single question, what happens if we don't win our case? Please, someone show me one one attorney that's willing to address that question. Yet, how many people that need an attorney are thinking about that particular question? Every single one. There's other industries that have this problem in the US. One very common one is auto mechanics, because a lot of people don't know what's necessarily wrong with their vehicle and they can be taken advantage of. And so that industry is suffering from a trust problem. 

And I think every industry to a certain degree is suffering from a trust problem.

Even take hospitality, for instance, take a hotel.

You could take a hotel and you can say, Well, how do I know that you've cleaned the room the right way? Like, you say that, but how do I know that? All I got to do is, you know, pull back the nightstand and I'm like, I don't know if they clean this room very well. Right? This is from somebody that used to live in hotels. And so I think an industry shouldn't be thinking, Oh, we're good here, like everybody trusts us and we don't have any hurdles or obstacles to overcome with respect to gaining that trust.

Swimming pool companies have to overcome trust. B2B organizations have to overcome trust.

I own a marketing agency today, I have about 70 employees. We have companies around the world with their digital sales and marketing. There's a trust problem there, too, because you have a lot of agencies that might hedge in terms of what they're willing to teach or show their customers, their clients. It creates this perpetual dependency on the agency because they're not giving them what they need.

Heck, I mean, look at SEO companies, my goodness. I mean, they have a major trust problem as well.

So we could go on and on here, which this goes back to.

Why is there a trust problem?

Because there's a set of fears, and fears come in the form of questions and worries and issues and concerns. Most companies don't like to talk about those on their site, they should be talking about them. In fact, one could argue that's where you should start. That's absolutely where I think you should start as a business. 

Karine Abbou: Regarding the legal one, I used to be a lawyer and I used to try to get, you know, this trust issue fixed.  But the problem is, there is no way until you start the procedures that you can answer precisely this question. The truth is, even the lawyers don't know anything about what's going to happen. So how do we fix that in a 30 seconds website page? It goes like boom, boom, boom! 

Marcus Sheridan:  Well, it's not necessarily boom, boom, boom, Karine. I mean, in other words, let's say I came to you as an attorney, right? And I said, OK, be frank with me here, Karine, tell me what could happen if we lose? You're going to have a deep conversation with me, and you are at that point going to be honest with me, face to face, you're going to tell me; because I think at that point, most attorneys will.

Now they're going to at the same time, they're going to say, but we're going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen, right?

This is this what they do. Well, that message should be manifest through text through video on your website, and it can, but it's not short. This whole idea that content should be bite sized isn't actually true. We've been skewed on that one, mainly because of social media. Content should align with the platform that it's on. So if we're doing something on LinkedIn, it's a finite amount of information that we can put. On Twitter, it's even less than that. But it's even more so.

Like in other situations, and this is why if somebody is really serious about making a buying decision, and if somebody is close to making that decision, they're going to spend a ton of time, they're willing to spend a lot of time. And of course, I talk about this in the book, and it's not just something expensive, like a swimming pool, it's any decision that matters to them. Google has done studies on this, I mean, you know, you could be looking for a ten dollar birthday gift for a loved one, but that loved one and that gift to so important to you, you might research for hours just trying to find what is the most perfect gift that I can buy for less than $10.  

That’s how anybody should be thinking. Because what we want to do as businesses is we want to show what, you know, what the perfect rainbow looks like. And like everybody, though, does that. This is why you have to be willing. If you're real with people. That resonates so much today because what's happened is we've all been attending what we call the School of Search.

So like, you've gone to Google University and you've been learning how to use Google and search, and that behavior has evolved over the years.

It's no different than 20 years ago when we started using the internet. You didn't use a search engine like you do today. You didn't know that you were supposed to be specific. You didn't realize the more specific you are with the way you search, the more specific the results you get. This has evolved over time.

So it's the same thing with this conversation that we're having right now. Specificity is key. Lean into it as a business. Talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just present it nonchalantly. Matter of factly. That's just how you want to go about doing it. You want to become that trusted agent. You release yourself from trying to convince them that you're awesome and you just tell them the customer, the buyer, just tell them just like it is.

So for example, if I'm a pool company and I sell fiberglass pools, which is what we sold, right?

And I'm talking about the differences between concrete and fiberglass and vinyl liner poles, which are the three types of in-ground pools. I don't say fiberglass is better. That's the key, because the moment I say it's better, it shows that I'm biased. It shows that I have an angle, but almost no company thinks like this. Let me give you an example of this because I don't think when we talk about content, we talk enough about how to immediately make the reader or the viewer trust us. And this is why people like my stuff.

They listen to me and they say, oh, that guy's not biased, but something about the way he communicates makes me trust what he's saying. Well, what is happening there?

So if I'm talking, let's say you came to me and asked me the question, why should I choose fiberglass over a concrete pool? If I'm the company and I'm producing that video, that article, there's certain elements that I had to add to make you immediately trust me in that video. So I might come out and say something like this: so one of the questions we get here all the time at River Pools is Marcus, be honest. Tell me, why should I choose concrete over fiberglass? 

Or excuse me? Why should I choose fiberglass over concrete? And the truth is, you shouldn't always choose fiberglass over concrete. In fact, there are times when concrete is the better option. So what this video is going to do, it's going to honestly and transparently explain to you the pros and the cons of both types of swimming pools. And by the end of this, hopefully you'll have a great sense as to which is the best choice for you.

Now here's the thing Karine. Nobody, I shouldn't say anybody. Ninety-nine percent of businesses do not talk like that because they're afraid of simply admitting that there is another option that could be better at times, a better fit.

Well, then they might lose the business, and it's not psychologically how it works. And one more other points of this, I gotta say, because this is something none of your listeners have ever done, and listen to me right now, like, how do you know I haven't done it Pool Boy? Because I'm telling you. Trust me, this is something that nobody has done.

Every single person that's listening to this right now, if you want to become the voice of trust, let me tell you a page that you want to add to your website right now. Who we are not a good fit for. Who we’re not a good fit for. Because the moment you're willing to honestly say who you're not a good fit for, you become dramatically more attractive to those who you are a good fit for. That's how you become the trusted voice. 


Why do you HAVE TO talk about prices on your website - and how to do it? 

Marcus Sheridan: There are many different reasons why businesses, especially service-based businesses, don't like to talk about cost and price. Now none of them hold up or have any weight when you actually look at this logically and you understand psychology and today's buyer.

So the three main reasons why businesses don't like to talk about cost and price.

Number one, we say every job is different. It depends. It's a very customized solution, right? That's number one. Well, that's very easy to explain, and it's actually essential to explain that one. The reason why it's essential to explain that one8 is because if you do not explain the factors that drive cost up in your industry that keep costs down, why some companies are expensive, why some companies are so cheap. What you're actually allowing is for ignorance to exist in the marketplace. Now, those people don't understand why things cost what they cost. That leads to a phenomena that we call commoditization. So you want to commoditized an industry? Allow buyers to remain in a state of ignorance as to why some companies are cheap, why are some expensive, what drives cost. So that's the first reason they say they can't talk about it, because they say every job is different, it depends. But explaining why depends is easy to do and it's essential to do. The second reason why we don't like to talk about cost and price is we say things like, well, we tend to be more expensive, and if we're more expensive, we might scare them away. That's actually not true at all. What all the studies have found is, what scares us away is when they aren't willing to talk about cost and price. Now, I don't know how it is in France, but let me tell you how it is here in the U.S. Let's say you wanted to go to a restaurant. Lots of times when people go to a restaurant beforehand, they'll go to a yap, excuse me, an app called Yelp, or something of that nature where they can review the restaurant beforehand. And almost every single person in that process is going to go to the menu when they go to the menu one of the things that everybody's looking for is they want to get a feel for the pricing. Now here's the studies we've done and here's what we found. If somebody goes, if somebody wants to go to a restaurant, they are even recommended to go to a restaurant and they go and they vet the restaurant first online. They like what they see, but then suddenly they go to the menu and they don't see pricing. The majority of the time they will not go, and it's not because they can't afford it. They can't. They just don't know how much it is. And you see the moment the restaurant left it blank on the menu, they planted a seed of doubt, and when seeds of doubt exist, an action occurs. Inertia. We stop. We don't make decisions. Seeds of doubt. It's no different than if you're looking on a shopping cart page online, you're ready to buy something. But as soon as you're ready to buy it, you notice there's a coupon code that you can use to buy it. Now, all of a sudden. Guess what happens? Conversion rates go way down as soon as you add a coupon code, and the reason is because now you're wondering, uh-oh, am I not getting a good deal? And if you can't find the coupon code online, oftentimes you end up not buying, whereas you went to that page to buy. Yet when you saw a coupon code, you decided not to buy because it planted a seed of doubt. That's buyer psychology. And so what scares us is ignorance. That's why, if you're more expensive, the key is you come right out and say, Guess what? We're more expensive. Let's talk about why we're more expensive so that by the end of them reading or listening to you, they're like they're only five percent more than the average business. But yet, here's all the things that they do. Value proposition, right? Here's all the things that they add, they should be 20 percent more based on what I'm reading here, but nobody thinks like that. So that's the second reason why I don't talk about cost and price is because we're afraid we're going to scare them away when it's actually the opposite. The third reason why we don't talk about cost and price is we say things like, well, I'm scared that my competitors are going to find out which is about as dumb as it gets. Because if you've been in the industry for any period of time, you have a pretty good sense as to what the market charges and what your competitors charge. You might not know exactly what they charge, but you have a pretty good sense. Besides that, one was the last time your competitors paid your bills? So it's ridiculous that we would allow our competitors to stand between us and that emotion that we call trust. So those are the reasons. It depends; we don't want to scare them away; and we don't want to give it to the competition. But again, all three of them are not at all aligned with what we want as buyers. That's why the book is called, the phrase is called, the philosophy's called, the framework is called “They Ask, You Answer”. They, being the buyer. And which, by the way, what's funny about this, Karine, is when I talk about “They Ask, You Answer” somebody wants to debate me on it and they always do, and then they always end up saying, You know what, Marcus, you're totally right. Because if they consider what they themselves would want as the buyer, and that's what this is about. The golden rule:  what would you want if you were in that situation? If you were the buyer in that moment, would you prefer that they were honest, transparent, that they address the question that they were willing to say it like it is to be real with you? People appreciate that. And because again, we've gone to this school of search we know when somebody's lying to us. We know when they're being biased. We've all felt that online, but we also know that rare occasion when the company's being real and honest and we love that. 


What are the 5 questions any website should always answer? 

Marcus Sheridan: Nobody ever comes to me after reading, “They Ask, You Answer” and says, I've got writer's block. Ain't nobody ever said that. And nobody comes to me and says, you know, and I'm not sure what we could be producing over the next six, 12, 18 months because it's literally like if you read that book when we talk about the Big Five, these five fundamental subjects that every buyer wants, cost problems, comparisons, reviews and best.

They’re to your point, Karine, under each one of those there are so many questions that directly or indirectly relate to those five things. And if you carry multiple products or services, you're going to have multiple questions; therefore, topics, articles, and videos are under each one of those.

And I can tell you right now if you want to be outrageously successful at generating trust, you want to become the voice of your industry, and your focus is on those big five.

When companies come to me and say, we're struggling with our content, we're not getting a lot of traffic leads and sales. We don't seem to be gaining momentum. I'm like, OK, what percentage of your content is related to these five subjects?

And it's always extremely low - 10 percent, maybe 15 percent at most. You want to do something amazing. Make 75 percent of your content around those five things, and you will start to dominate your industry online. No question about it. 


Content saturation index: What is it and how to overcome it? 

Marcus Sheridan: I about that, Karine. I don't know about that now. Well, let's hold up. Hold up, OK? So there's this thing I talk about in the book called the Content Saturation Index (CSI). So anybody that likes crime shows will appreciate that certainly in the U.S., there's a show called CSI. So, content saturation index what that basically means, or what that equates to is the more saturated an industry is with content, the harder it is from a Google search perspective to really stand out. OK, now that's true. Here's what I have found. In 2021, still over 80 percent of industries have a low CSI. So there are certain ones that have a high content saturation index, let me give you an example of some that have a high CSI. Things like insurance industries. All right. Because there's a million gazillion insurance companies, things like that. Marketing agencies, because every marketer is trying to do content and marketing; and so therefore, they're all talking about this stuff. So that's a very, very high saturation index in their certain I mean, there are certainly others out there not going to get into them now. Even if I started a pool company today and was competing against the great Mark Sheridan, I would do and I'm not exaggerating, I would do the exact same thing all over again. Now here's the reason why, and everybody listen to this. The foremost reason why you do, they ask you answer is to help your sales team today. Every piece of content you produce if it's good, and certainly if it's related to the Big Five is going to be a question that your sales team is dealing with right now. And by the way, if you’re listeners, you might say, I don't have a sales team, that's bull. You have a sales team. I don't care what you call it, but you transact money in business, you have a sales team. So I always got a sales team. So if you read the book, there's half on marketing, half on sales. And the reason for that is because the companies that really understand the power of content, they integrate it into their sales process right away, immediately, which affects sales cycles dramatically and dramatically, also increases closing rates if you do it the right way. And so just from the sheer fact that it makes your sales appointments, your conversations with prospects dramatically more effective because they've been to your site, they've vetted you and they like you so much more, they trust you so much more, that alone makes it worth it. Then if you get very intentional about integrating it into the sales process, like you read in the chapter on assignment selling and the book, which is a whole lot of meat and potatoes there, a whole other conversation. But if you get really good at that, once again, you're talking about explosion, enclosing, closing rates. And so my point is, even if Google never ranked a single article that you produced, would “They Ask You Answer”, be worth it. The answer is hell yes. It would be very, very worth it because everybody that still comes to you has probably vetted you on your website and therefore going to think that you're an amazing teacher. They're going to trust you more. They're going to thank you for it. They're going to come more prepared when they're actually ready to buy. Your conversations are going to be better. The morale of your sales team is going to be better. So all those are the reasons why you should be doing it. Yet still, in saturated industries when somebody does, they ask, you answer they find that Google ends up loving them. 


The dumbest recommendation in the history of marketing…? 

Marcus Sheridan: So sometimes I hear people say, you shouldn't produce that piece of content unless you have something new to say. That's just about the dumbest recommendation in the history of the world. I will die on that hill, because tell me how many new ideas are really out there? Look, my book, there's nothing new about it. I mean, 

answer your customers' questions, talk about cost and price. Duh. Of course, I know inherently that I should be doing that. Yeah, but nobody's doing it. And so the fact that I didn't say anything new yet presented it in a way my way that made hundreds of thousands of businesses, because that's how many companies have bought this dang book, now say this makes so much sense. It's so simple. It's so obvious. When they say it's obvious, that means it ain't new and ain't new. So the stuff we're talking about here is not new. But there's other reasons for this. You, as the business, need to force yourself, to talk about it, to teach about it because it makes you better. It forces you to have a doctrine, a belief. And think about it like this. This is what I do; if I get a new salesperson on my team, I say, you need to go to our website's learning center, I want you to read every single article and then I'm going to give you a test on it. So that's our training manual for new employees. I see companies where you ask somebody in sales a question and you get 10 different answers. Why? Because they've never stated their doctrine, what they believe to be true. Whereas if you do, they ask you answer, this becomes your gospel, according to your company. That's what it becomes. And that's powerful, because now you've got it. You've got that training manual that nobody ever does, that everybody knows they should do, but they haven't done. Now you've written it, now you produce it. It's powerful. So the secondary benefits, please, please, please, when you think about “They Ask You Answer”, do not start with search engine optimization as your primary goal, because if you start to do they ask, you answer, you're going to realize all these other beautiful benefits that come with it. And then you're going to say, Wow, I thought it was all about get more Google Love, but it was actually way more about all these other things. 


Forget about becoming the next Red Bull! Just answer your customer's questions

Marcus Sheridan: That's funny. That's interesting. It's powerful. That would probably be pretty viral, too. It would get a lot of attention, its creative. I would actually say that what he was doing there, he was leaning into an inherent “They Ask You Answer” principle, which is fears, worries, concerns, and transparency. I believe everybody should start with, “They Ask You Answer”, I don't care who you are. I don't care what industry you're in, because you need to go through the process of getting to know those questions, worries, fears that your customers ask. You got to get great at it, and you don't need to sit there and debate on your freaking buyer personas all day. What you need to do is you need to focus on the questions they're asking all the time. And as you do that, then you really start to learn about your customer and you start to see what resonates. You start to see what works. And you also start to get more creative. So if you want to do it more, you know, story brand style over the course of time, you can. But you have to start somewhere. The issue is if somebody comes out the gate and says, I want to be totally original with our content, I want to talk about stuff that nobody's ever talked about before. It's a bad model because you'll probably never get off the ground. Why? Because like a child, we need to learn to crawl before we walk. And then we walk before we run, and people forget that when it comes to content, you just don't come out of the gate and you're like, wow, are amazing, look at us, we're like Red Bull. And besides, you don't want to be Red Freaking Bull. You see a lot of these companies that we see about that are like, these are amazing storytellers. They all start out with like billions in the bank. The main ones, Patagonia, Red Bull, Coca Cola. Those are the three most common like content marketing; like, wow, look at them case studies. Ninety nine point nine nine nine nine percent of businesses in this world don't have one one one-hundredth thousandth of their marketing budget. They got monopoly money. We don't have that. We actually have to go make money. So my system “They Ask You Answer” is the one that gives every business the best shot. 

How to market a restaurant? 

Now, somebody might listen to this and say, well, 

OK, tell me somebody, that “They Ask You Answer isn't really for. Well, in its truest sense, I'll give you one. If I was a restaurant, I wouldn't be doing “They Ask You Answer'' hard core. Like I wouldn't be answering every single question about like I would about a swimming pool. What I would be doing, though, is I would be obsessing over showing the story behind my food with video. And each dish on your menu has a story. I would create a visual story. I would show how it's made, so I would show the secret sauce. Show how it's done. And I would make sure that they felt like they had seen the kitchen and what happened in the kitchen before they ever walked into the restaurant. That's an essence of “They Ask You Answer”, but it's a different approach. So that's what I would do if I was a restaurant. And I can say that because I have ventures in the food service industry, but the fundamentals of “They Ask You Answer” for 90 something percent of businesses starts with knowing the questions race, fears, issues. Addressing them, beginning with the big five: cost, problems, comparisons, reviews, and best. Leaning into them, teaching your sales team how to use those things in the sales process. And then everybody starts to win. 

Karine Abbou: In France, we have one restaurant specifically that is extremely famous. I think that for the past 50 years, there has been a line outside in the streets, besides during Corona, of course. All their success lies on one thing, their Baroness sauce, it's this special dressing that they put with the meat. Nobody has the secret of this. All the restaurants tried to replicate it, and they never could. So I was thinking, that might be super smart to create some content around this. 

Marcus Sheridan: Well, in their case, if they truly have the Coca-Cola syrup, or something like that, I then in that case, would probably build content around it, but I wouldn’t maybe complete it. In other words, I might say, we're going to show you the first steps and we're going to see if anybody can guess what comes next. We're gonna have a contest or something like that or, there's a lot of creative things that you could do with that and really just get people involved. 

So it is a different approach. You know, the food service industry is so much more socially driven, it's not as research driven. And what people buy in that industry is stories. That's what they're buying. I go to a restaurant unless I'm just hungry and I'm going to McDonald’s, right? But the story that I'm buying there is that it's going to taste exactly the same every time. That's the story that I'm buying. They're cheap. I know it's got to be cheap and I know exactly what's going to taste like. Complain all you want, but a lot of people complain about it yet they still go there because they know what to expect. There are no secrets, no seeds of doubt. Right? That's why they do well. And so, 

you know, this is how we evolve the model to the industry, but it's still you obsessing about what buyers want. And that's what I love to do. I can't stop thinking about how I'm changing as a buyer. And that's why I don't sit there and debate about things like should you be doing video, huh? What? Are you kidding me? How many videos have you watched? And sometimes people say, Well, I don't really watch videos. Guess what? Our opinions don't matter. My opinion as a business owner doesn't mean squat. The only opinion that matters is the marketplace. Marketplace dictates what I do. And if this is what they want, then that's what I'm going to do. But hopefully I'm smart enough to recognize myself, yeah, this is how I'm evolving. It's it doesn't help to be stubborn as a business owner and hold on to the past, because what worked in the past, at least when it comes to today's buyer, is probably not going to work in the future unless it's a principle of truth like trust. 


Forget about « brand image »! Just start by answering your customer’s questions!!!

Marcus Sheridan: You didn't offend me. You know how many times companies sit there and they say our brand image, yet they're being left behind by some teenager that's producing a video on their iPhone that's got a billion followers. And why? Because they're not sitting there nit picking their “brand image” all day long. Sorry, folks, you're not BMW in. Oh, by the way, BMW could afford to be a lot more creative themselves because eventually you have to have a soul and you've got to start to relate the human element of your brand, to the marketplace, to the world. Especially in a time period that's becoming more digital. We need to be in our branding, in our marketing. Online we need to be more human, not less. Digital doesn't mean that you're less human. It should mean that you're more, starting with video. They can see your face. They can hear your voice. They can get to know you before you get to know them. That's the whole goal to video - that they see you, hear you and feel like they know you before you've ever seen, heard and met them. And if you achieve those things once again, we go back to that same word, which is trust. That's the essence of video. People overthink video. They over analyze it. You shouldn't. If you do it, it's worth showing. Show the thing, whatever it is, you do your product, your process, your method, your technology, whatever that thing is. Show the thing because as they say, seeing is believing and we've never believed that any more than we do today, we want to see the thing. Eighty five percent of all the content we consume online? Video. Eighty five frigging percent of the time we spent on the internet is video based consumption. Does anybody listening to this think that's going to go down? Heck, no, it's only going to go up. I'm not celebrating it once again. I'm accepting the reality of what it is and saying, OK, so what do we need to do about it? 


Videos or podcasts?  

Marcus Sheridan: Look, I love podcasts. I think they're a beautiful medium. The majority of companies shouldn't start a podcast before they start doing videos aggressively. You know, I would say that every company should be doing videos. Some companies should consider podcasting. 


Customers reviews shouldn’t be difficult to address: here is why 

Marcus Sheridan: I don't know why, it shouldn't be, Karine. Here's the reason. When you do a review video, there are two fundamental parts. Everybody does the first part, they skip the second part and therefore they call it difficult. So what's the first part? Who the product is for, what it does, why it's good, and what you like about it. Simple. Easy. The second part is the more important part. This will come as no surprise if you've been listening to this podcast now for the last 54 minutes, and that is. Yes, you talk about who the product is not a good fit for and why. You have to do that without bias, without being snarky or sarcastic. You just honestly, transparently say, now, listen, if you're looking at this, this, and this, this is probably not the best option for you. And here's the reason why. You know, sometimes I'll go to business leaders or owners and I'll say, tell me, who is your product? Not a good fit for? And they just can't even say it like, it's not that hard. I've known your product for 10 minutes, and I could tell you it's not a good fit for you; get used to saying it, buddy. It's not hard. But if you say it, it's beautiful. I can tell you a fiberglass pool is not a good fit for you. If you're looking for a very long pool because they don't get longer than 40 feet, a very wide pool because they don't get wider than 16 feet, a very deep pool because they don't get deeper than eight feet. Sorry, that's not in the metric system there. And I could go on and on. If you're looking for extremely customizable fiberglass is not a good fit for you. That's fine. It doesn't hurt me to say that this isn't huge news. And so to do a review on anything you had to show both sides of the coin. That's the key. But if you're willing to do that, you're going to build quite a following of trust with your reviews. 


How to deal with bad customer reviews? 

Marcus Sheridan: First, let me say the best book I've read on this is my friend Jay Bear’s book “Hug Your Haters”. That's the best book on how to handle reviews that's out there. With that being said, if you can address it, assuming that the person has some validity to what they're saying. Sometimes people are just nuts, but oftentimes they have some truth and it's important to address it. And oftentimes it's important to say, hey, here's where we've been imperfect in the past. Here are some of the mistakes that we made. Here are some of the reasons why we've got negative reviews before, but here's what we've done as a result of the feedback we've gotten from the mistakes that we've made. So here are the specific changes, and here's what our people are saying now because of it. Who doesn't appreciate that?


How to deal with the blurry borders between sales and marketing? 

Marcus Sheridan: Just to give you a few quick thoughts on this, because that's a 60-minute conversation. 

Marcus Sheridan: Don't be sorry because it's a big deal, and it's good that we end on it. Every marketer in their job description should include sales. Every salesperson in their job description should include marketing. The overlap yesterday is unbelievable, and they should be one team for the most part. They should be viewed more as a revenue team and some of the most progressive companies that I work with. They have revenue teams where sales and marketing are very much under the same umbrella because of that. Marketing needs to understand sales better. They should be integrated into sales meetings, they should see that world. But sales should definitely understand marketing much more. I would argue that instead of marketers going to marketing conferences, salespeople should be attending conferences in their place. Leadership teams should be attending those conferences because then they would get much less resistance still to this day 2021, the biggest problem that marketers have is resistance from sales and leadership. That is by far the biggest issue in the industry. They need more buy-in. How are you going to get more buy-in? It's by education. That's what's going to cause or that's what's going to eliminate the resistance. But education oftentimes won't occur from you, the marketer. I'm sorry to say that, but you can be a prophet to the world and nobody will listen to you in your hometown. So people see me as this like, Oh my goodness, Marcus, 

but you talk to my kids like, my dad? What a dummy. Right? It's the same. It's the same thing with organizations. This is why I wrote the book. I wrote that book for that marketer. He's so frustrated. They needed something to give to the leadership team   or sales team that essentially gave them a green light to be able to do what they've been feeling like they should be doing for a long time. I wrote that in their language, in the language of leadership and sales. It's not written in the language of marketing. That's why the book has taken off the way that it has. 


Where can you reach out to Marcus Sheridan?  

Marcus Sheridan: Impact plus dot com. I've got free online courses. I've got a free “They Ask You Answer'' course that's almost two hours long. Can you believe that? F-r-e-e impact plus dot com? You can find it there. But Karine, it was such a pleasure talking with you and my friends in France, and hopefully, I'll come out there and speak at some point if you all would ever invite me. So let's make it happen, people. Let's make it happen. 





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