How could entrepreneurs change their approach, messaging, and marketing in order to get more people to say yes than no? Psychology marketing has a lot to do with it. Ralph Brogden is a best-selling author, publisher, marketing and media consultant whose work has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, USA Today, The Huffington Post and hundreds of nationally-syndicated television, newspaper, and magazine outlets. He is a producer for Business Innovators Radio Network and host of Rebelpreneur Radio for WCKG 102.3 in Chicago. Ralph earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and psychology from SUNY Empire State College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in strategic communication from American University in Washington, D.C. Before launching his own firm, he was a copywriter and marketing strategist for a digital media agency in New York. Get more succinct about your messaging and more strategic in your marketing!
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Psychology Marketing And Strategic Communication With Ralph Brogden
I’m excited to have Ralph Brogden with us. He is a marketing guru. He is a bestselling author, a publisher, and a marketing and media consultant. He’s been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, all of those cool places that you’re all looking to get access to. He’s got an amazing background and I can’t do it justice, so I’m going to allow you, Ralph, to introduce yourself to the people and tell us what we need to know about you.
Thank you, Penny. It’s a pleasure to be on the show with you and it’s nice to connect with you. You’ve been on my show and now I’m getting to be on yours, so that’s great. I’m a marketing strategist. My background is in media strategy, marketing, and publishing. I’m working on a master’s degree in strategic communication. I love everything about messaging, marketing, and media. I got started many years ago in the advertising business. I had a small publishing company and I thought I was going to make a billion dollars because the first person I talked to, I sold them an ad. It was for $800 and that’s the most money I had ever held in my hand at once. I thought, “This is going to be great.” The next person I talked to was an auto mechanic and I gave him the same sales pitch and he said, “Not interested.” Then I thought, “I’m not going to make a billion dollars doing this,” but that got me interested in why the first person said yes and the second person said no. What is the difference? How could I change my approach and my messaging and my marketing so that I got more people to say yes than to say no. That started a lifelong interest in psychology marketing. Here we are several years later and I’m loving every minute.
Isn’t it interesting how we become passionate about something from some random experience, but that’s what you took away from it, was to create this passion around marketing and trying to figure out how to get more yes’s than no’s. Everybody on the audience is interested in that. How much time do you think we waste when we have poor marketing and poor communication?
I’ve looked at different studies and I would say you probably waste 80% of your efforts on doing all the wrong things.
You waste 80% of the time. Imagine what you could create when you get more succinct about your messaging and more strategic in your marketing. If I could get back 50% or 20% even from the effort that I’m putting out, that could be huge where I could direct that to.
That’s why I love strategy, because you can achieve the result you want but there are different ways to go about achieving it. One strategy could get you three times return on investment. Another strategy could get you ten times or 100 times. It’s not how hard you work. It has to do with working on the right things and making sure that you do have a strategy. A lot of people, their approach to business and their approach to marketing is a shotgun approach. “I’m going to blast my message out there, whether it’s spam or whether it’s social media, I’m going to shoot it out there to the world and anyone who has a couple of bucks. I’m going to try to persuade them to buy my stuff.” It’s conservative. 80% of our time is wasted going after the wrong person with the wrong message with the wrong product. Strategy helps to really focus all of your efforts in a way that you’re going to get the return on your time investment, as well as the return on your financial investment. I’m a huge fan of strategy and helping people to think and act more strategically because the way that our culture and our society has gone is we’re getting less strategic than more strategic. People feel like they have less time to think and focus because there’s always the phone to distract us. With every waking moment that isn’t hooked in something, then it’s like, “I’m waiting in line. I’ll pick up the phone and look at Facebook or do something.” We’re always keeping ourselves busy. It’s keeping us from that critical thinking time that keeps us strategic. That’s why people have to be that much more conscious and purposeful about thinking and acting more strategically. Don’t you agree?
That’s what my whole life is based on. If you can spend a few more minutes upfront in strategic planning, the time that you spend planning is going to save you ten times the result down the road because you can go through all the motions, do all the hard work, and realize you’ve spent a lot of time, effort, and money trying to get to some place that’s not where you want to be. Having a strategy and having a plan in advance helps you to be able to get to where you want to be faster, more efficiently, and that makes you more competitive because there’s lots of other people that are trying to solve problems and deliver solutions. If you can solve them faster and you can deliver them more quickly and more efficiently, you’re more profitable but you’re also more competitive. A strategy is the difference between success and failure.
Make sure that you book time in your calendar. I’m a big proponent of time blocking, so block out Fridays so that you can use that as your strategy day to recap what’s working and what’s not working and to create a strategy. Ralph, what makes you the master of messaging? What are the top tips that people need to know as to how they can strategize in creating that message because that means everything?
It does and that’s the biggest difference between what works and what doesn’t. Everything has to do with how you present yourself, how you say it, and what you say. I started out with a degree in psychology and in marketing. I doubled majored in psychology and marketing. Then I went into strategic communication for an advanced degree because I realize here’s the common bond, here’s the commonality. Psychology is all about communicating with other people and marketing is communicating with other people. It’s all about communication. That’s the common link there. Messaging has to do with talking to your target audience in the language that they relate to. A lot of people make this mistake. When you ask them, “What business are you are you in?” they begin to talk about themselves, about their products, their solutions, their whiz bang or whatever it is they’ve got. They’re not talking in the right language and the right messaging that’s going to resonate with their audience. I help people craft those superior messages because that’s where the most leverage is. If you can craft the right message, you can get your ideal clients and customers to respond to you favorably and that saves you time with all of your marketing and sales efforts.
What’s one tip there around crafting that message?
The first thing is to realize that nobody cares about you. I don’t mean that in a negative sense. I mean it in the sense that people only care about two things in this world. They care about a problem they have and don’t want or a result they want and don’t have. When businesses, when advertising, when they begin to go out and they start engaging with people, the easiest way to engage with them is to talk about a problem they have that they don’t want. Pepto-Bismol is a great example. They don’t talk about the medicine. They talk about the problem. We don’t have to go into all of the problems, but everybody relates to that.
There’s an old saying in marketing, “People don’t want to buy a drill. They want to buy the hole.” Their problem is that they need to create a hole to hang something up or whatever it is that they need to do. By being really specific on what problem you’re solving, then you’re going to attract those people that have that problem.
I take that a step further in my training and with my clients. I tell them, “It’s not about the hole. It’s how you think the hole is going to make you feel.” There’s a reason why you want a hole. It’s not because you want a drill and it’s not because you want a hole, but you want to be able to hang the picture or hang the big screen television on the wall, but you want that feeling. What you’re selling is not the drill and what you’re selling is not even the result, it’s the way you make people feel. That’s part of what I call the Four V approach to personal branding. It has to do with these four areas. It’s the visual, the voice, the vibe, which is how you make people feel. That fourth one’s value.
That’s one of the most important ones. All of that comes down to how somebody perceives the value.
It’s the Four V’s. It’s visual, and that’s how we judge. We look at a book and we judge the book by the cover. We judge the website by how the design looks. Before we even get into the book or get into the website design, we’re looking at the visual. We’re visually oriented creatures, so that’s the first thing. The second thing is the voice. What is it saying? How does it sound? If it looks good and it sounds good, then you’ve got half of the battle won. The third thing is the vibe. How do you make people feel? You either make them feel like they know you, like you, and trust you or something else. The fourth thing is the value. The value is what problem am I solving and what result am I delivering? Everyone wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” We can spend a lot of money on branding to get the visual right, to get the voice right, to get the vibe right, but there’s still got to be value. You still have to solve problems that people don’t want and deliver results that people do want. That has to do with getting into their heart and getting into their mind and out of your own heart and mind.
I work with some people time to time on these different aspects too, or even in networking. While I’m out networking, I say to people, “I don’t get what they’re telling me that they do” or “I don’t get how that differentiates them from anyone else.” Once they tell us and they connect with us around the problem, how do you suggest people address the differentiation piece? You’ve probably heard of blue ocean strategy. They’re in a red market where there’s lots of competition. When they have the problem clear, what’s the tip around differentiation?
That’s speaks to what we call the USP. That’s the Unique Selling Proposition. That’s part of strategy. Strategy is figuring out how you can eliminate or make the competition irrelevant because what you do is so unique and so focused on a particular problem and result that no one else can compare. What I like to tell people is there is no one on earth who does anything quite the way you do it. You are the brand, you are the message, and what makes your product and service unique is the fact that you are the one who is delivering it. That’s where knowing, liking, and trusting is very important because you make a good point. If all I am is a marketing consultant, there are thousands of marketing consultants, tens of thousands of marketing consultants, but what makes me special and what makes me unique is there is only one of me in this world.
By applying that to you and to your business and to your own self, you can then develop your own USP, your unique selling proposition. The way you look at problems, the way you deliver solutions, the way you come across, the way you work with clients, your own personal way of doing things, that is going to attract people. It’s going to turn some off, but it’s going to attract the ones that you can do the most good for. That’s where I would say your best strategic advantage lies. It’s in capitalizing on those personal touches, the personal brand, who you are, and how you deliver that solution and that result to your clients. There’s only one of you, Penny, and no one else can do what you do.
What I differentiate myself in my space is I created a productivity assessment. There isn’t such a thing out there, so I created a process that people can follow to find out a baseline of where they are in their productivity and then also to track themselves over time. It’s like a personality test but you only take that once. This is a productivity test that you take once but then you continually track yourself to see how you can close the gap. For entrepreneurs, that’s going to be your assignment. You talked about the visual, the voice, the vibe, and the value. Those are important to keep in mind, but I want to have people, for this assignment, to give them how they differentiate themselves. What is different? You said how they go about doing things, so they can break down into a three-step process or a ten-step process, it doesn’t matter. That makes it unique and special to say, “Here’s my approach of how I will go about working with you to find your differentiation or your perfect message.” You probably have a flow where people go through that and at the end, it pops out their perfect message.
It’s not difficult to make this personalized to you. Give it a name, like your signature program. It’s like your personal trademark, your personal stamp of approval. You have crafted this solution that no one else can duplicate. That’s the thing that’s going to set you apart along with how you deliver that. It’s the personal touch. Even in this world of mass communication with digital marketing, people still want to be able to do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Brands that are successful, they’re successful because they come across as very personable. Even though they could be a big corporate brand, they still come across as very human, able to communicate, able to touch. It’s easier for us, if you’re an entrepreneur or a solopreneur, whereas I like to call them revelpreneurs. Don’t create some sterile corporate brand that you hide behind and try to be bigger than what you really are. Instead, revel in the smallness. Revel in the personal attention that you give to your clients. That’s one example of a competitive advantage. Big agencies, they have lots of clients, they got big staffs, big budgets, big teams. They also charge big money. One of my USPs is personal service. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot and you get access to me. Anybody can duplicate that in their business and that is a great way to differentiate yourself.
When I first started out in business, when I left Arthur Anderson, working for that big company, I got some of the big deals. I won a deal away from Arthur Anderson because I was bringing in my ten years of expertise where those big companies, they sometimes put on junior people. You don’t get the same level of expertise. You may get a big team that’s supporting you, but that doesn’t always mean that you’re getting the most efficient and effective solution. You’re not getting direct access to that knowledge. You have to take a look at what your competitors are offering and see how you do it differently and where the value is. Unless you’re asking yourself those questions, “What value do I deliver differently? Why do people come to me?” a good question is, “Who are your existing customers?” It’s one of the things that I’ve helped people to do is to see what do they feel is the biggest value that you’re delivering if you’re drawing a blank. Do you have any other good question that people can ask themselves that can spur them to get to that place?
There’s a series of questions and it all revolves around trying to understand the problems that people want solved, because you can craft a great solution and solve a problem that no one cares about. One thing to ask yourself is, “What problems do I solve?” Make a complete list of those problems. Secondly, “What results do I deliver?” Make a complete list of those. You may want to ask yourself, “Who has those problems and who wants those results?” You may find, if you ask your target audience directly, that what you think their problem is, they think it is something else, and so you work with it, you adjust it, but that’s where that research comes into play. A lot of people, they come up with an idea that they want to sell something, they rush out and they try to sell it, and they try to persuade people that are not willing to be persuaded. You can’t convince anybody to do anything that they don’t want to do.
It’s a waste of time to put something out there and try to shove it into somebody’s face when it’s not what they want.
We want to lure people in with a problem and result message that is going to appeal to them without having to twist their arm, convince them that this was the right problem, and convince them that this is the right solution. They already have the problem, they already know the result they want, all we have to do is tap into that. That greatly simplifies our marketing and our advertising strategy because we can eliminate 95% of the work and just focus on that one niche market. Niche it down.
You mentioned Pepto-Bismol. Who isn’t going to seek out that product as quickly as possible? Whenever you have a problem and it’s painful to sit in that problem, people are going to seek you out when you’re clear and specific about the problem that you’re resolving.
That’s true and the same that I have that works for me is if you want to satisfy, you have to simplify. Once we simplify the message, first we simplify our lives by figuring out the problems and results that people want or the problems they don’t want and the results they do want. We simplify our marketing by saying, “We’re going to go after those people.” We simplify the messaging by saying, “Here’s the problem and result language that we’re going to use.” We’re not going to talk about ourselves, talk about our greatest solution, not yet. Not in the beginning anyway. This simplifies the whole process and makes marketing fun. It makes your business successful.
Thank you so much. This has been packed full of truly valuable strategic information. Anybody can take this one podcast and can get clear on their messaging and go in and crush their market and take back the time that gets wasted on ineffective marketing. Wherever you are in your business, stop and look to simplify it. Look to simplify and look to answer those questions and see, “Are you being very clear in your messaging and making a very clear specific target?” You can wait and go on and continue wasting time but why would you do that? Now’s the time to stop and put some strategic thinking time in your calendar and answer these questions, refine your message, get your documentation, your website, the visuals, the voice, the vibe. Create all of that and put those changes up onto your website and the way that you communicate. See how that instantly it’s going to make a difference for people seeking you out. Ralph, where can they go to find out more information about you?
It’s good that they do look me up. The reason being it’s tough to simplify yourself. We tend to overthink things. We tend to overanalyze things, analysis-paralysis. It’s hard to do this on your own, so a peer or someone who can coach you or a consultant could be valuable to you. You can reach me at RalphBrogden.com. I’ve got some training videos on there and some other results. I would love to share more of my thoughts with you on simplifying your business so you can satisfy not just your clients and your customers but satisfy yourself by building the business you need so you can live the life you want.
Thank you so much, Ralph, for being here. For everybody in the audience, thank you for being here and I hope that you’re going to take this stretch and this assignment that I’m giving you to review your messaging and see are you addressing what we discussed here. Are you differentiating yourself? Are you talking about the problem that you’re solving and getting those people, the result, that they’re looking for? Are you talking in that way? Go ahead and take that challenge. Let us know how that goes for you. Our goal here is to help you to take back time, so stay with us for our next episode when we give you another set of strategies and tips on how you can save time, money, and effort.
About Ralph Brogden
RALPH BROGDEN is a best-selling author, publisher, and marketing and media consultant. His work has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, USA Today, The Huffington Post and hundreds of nationally-syndicated television, newspaper, and magazine outlets. He is a producer for Business Innovators Radio Network and host of Rebelpreneur Radio for WCKG 102.3 in Chicago.
Ralph earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and psychology from SUNY Empire State College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in strategic communication from American University in Washington, D.C. Before launching his own firm, he was a copywriter and marketing strategist for a digital media agency in New York.