Imagine spending years learning top skills, techniques, and secrets from pros in your industry only to discover a technique that transcends what they know. Imagine surpassing their highest achievements and wondering why nobody told you about the technique you’ve discovered. More importantly, imagine watching people around you fail using those industry secrets and wondering if anyone knows their techniques are inefficient. You might even witness them fail time and time again, refusing to let go of the methods that no longer work.

That’s the world of marketing in a nutshell. Many marketers learn skills from the experts and cling to their strategies forever. As they watch their beloved strategies lose effectiveness, they cling tighter, work harder, and sometimes go down with a sinking ship.

There are countless marketing gurus selling systems and strategies purported to give you quick results, and each one promises to reveal some kind of insider secret to make you an overnight success. These methods may work at first, but sooner or later, any rational, thinking person will realize there’s a better way.

To be successful requires understanding four basic things about marketing:

  1. There are no absolute rules
  2. There are no shortcuts
  3. Nobody’s giving away real secrets
  4. Your success is directly tied to your willingness to let go of what doesn’t work

Not all rules are absolute or forever

What if the top strategies used by successful people are not hard and fast rules? As one poker player turned entrepreneur discovered, rules are not absolute, no matter who tells you they are. When people assume someone is an expert on a subject, they just do what they’re told without questioning why they’re doing it – that’s a huge mistake.

After spending years learning from the experts and gurus in poker, Billy Murphy discovered a better strategy that crushed his opponents nearly every time. He increased his rate of success by no longer following the rules the poker gurus swore by. He thought for himself; by doing so, he was able to develop a higher-level strategy. He watched as the other players made predictable moves, and how even when they were being mercilessly defeated, they continued to use the same losing strategy over and over.

In the marketing world, the big guys at the top make boatloads of money – more money than the people they sell their strategies and guides to. This should be a red flag to ask why. If they’re really selling their best strategies, why is there such a huge gap in success when it comes to the people who learn from them?

If you’ve ever wondered why you’re not as good as the people you’ve been learning from, it’s time to consider the possibility that what you’ve been taught isn’t the same strategy being used.

The real secrets aren’t being shared

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Have you ever sat through a sales video, waiting for a secret to be revealed, only to be disappointed that it wasn’t really a secret?

Part of marketing is creating catchy titles for sales copy, and using the word “secret” in a title has been proven to capture attention, so everyone does it. Do you think marketing gurus are really going to share their secrets? Hardly.

Are there marketing secrets? Yes, there are. However, the real secrets can’t be explained in a downloadable PDF file because they require hands-on experience to really understand. The real marketing secrets aren’t action steps or magic words. They’re a collection of understandings about human behavior that have to be learned from experience and observation. They are integrated into the marketing strategy from the top down.

When a critical mass is reached, even the best strategies fail

The best strategy in the world can only remain that way until everyone starts using it. At that point, when 99 percent of people are using the same strategy, independent thinkers will innovate a new strategy specifically designed to outsmart what 99 percent of people are doing, rendering the former strategy ineffective.

The only real marketing secret
The only true marketing secret is to be able to think for yourself enough to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Think of marketing like a game of chess. If all you have is a strategy, the moment your opponent makes a move that prevents you from executing that strategy, and you don’t understand the game inside and out, you’re going to lose. When you understand the game itself, you can switch strategies at any point and still have a chance to win.

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