Every Marketer Should Watch This TED Talk

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ted talksI like TED Talks. The ideas shared in TED Talks are incredibly powerful.

One such TED Talk was given by Simon Sinek. The talk is about how great leaders inspire people to follow them, believe in them, and eventually to take action. And while this TED Talk isn’t directly about marketing, the lessons learned in this TED Talk can be and should be applied by every marketer, every small business owner and every executive.

It will change the way you think about marketing.

The Golden Circle

Sinek discusses something he calls the Golden Circle. It’s a concentric circle with Why at the center, How in the next circle,describe the image and What in the outer circle.

Sinek argues that most leaders, marketers, and organizations start at the outside of the circle and work their way in as they communicate with their audiences.

They tell their audience What they do, then they tell them How they do it, then they tell them Why they do it. (Most organizations, actually, don’t even get to the Why stage. They simply stop at the How).

Marketers do this when they talk about Features first (What), Benefits or Processes second (How) and then Beliefs (Why) third.

To quote Sinek:

“The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations…all think act and communicate from the inside out.

“If Apple were like everyone else a marketing message from them might sound like this: ‘We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. Wanna buy one?”

And that’s how most marketing is done, and most sales is done…and we expect some behavior after that.

Here’s our new car. It has better gas mileage, leather seats…buy our car.

It’s uninspiring.

Here’s how Apple actually communicates: ‘In everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is that we make our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?'”

Here’s the gist:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Is He Right?

My intial reaction is that I disagree with him. I think that telling someone why you do what you do is too vague to make a difference in their buying decision. It doesn’t answer the question: why should I care?

I’m naturally a features-first guy. I want to know what your program does, how your technology works, and how much it costs. I couldn’t care less about what you believe…I want to know how your tool is different.

But…he makes a compelling point with Apple.

They have grown to be the largest company in the world because they believe certain things. Nike has grown to be the largest sporting goods company in the world because they believe certain things.

Sinek’s argument is that if you tell people what you believe, like-minded people will follow you. Or, in a marketer’s case, if you tell people why you do what you do they will buy from you.

What Do You Believe?

Why do you do what you do? If you own an SMB, why? If you work at a marketing agency, why? If you sell SEO or PPC services, why?

Sinek makes the point that monetary gain–revenue–is not the ‘why’ it is merely a byproduct. It is not ‘Why.’

Your company has–even if you don’t them or haven’t thought about them–core beliefs.

At LogMyCalls for example we believe in running lean, in innovating and in being easy to work with. We believe, ultimately, that there is data hidden in phone calls that marketers haven’t traditionally had access to. We believe this data is valuable.

Because of these beliefs we built Conversation Analytics, a tool that analyzes call content. It can pull data like lead score, sales readiness, and pricing sensitivity. It does this by literally searching every phone call and ‘listening’ to the phrases and keywords.

It can tell you how good your sales reps are, how good your leads are, and how often someone buys from you.

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