I’ve had several business teachers in my life but only one major marketing mentor. He is in his final days in hospice as you read this. His name is Dan Kennedy.
I studied marketing at university. I read a lot of books and case studies. After graduation I got a job as a marketing consultant at a renowned German company. Later on I transitioned into sales and marketing working for one of America’s Top 5 corporations at that time.
I thought I knew all that is to know about marketing. Fortunately, when I decided to move ‘planets’ and join the entrepreneurial world, I realized how little I knew about this amazingly sophisticated subject.
I will never forget the day I bumped into one of Dan’s recordings on YouTube where he talked about knowing your avatar so intimately well that he / she literally can’t escape buying your product or service when your marketing message hits him/ her. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of getting your 3M’s (message, market, media) right in order to run successful direct marketing campaigns.
This might sound pretty shallow and theoretical but that was just the opposite for me. The messages I was exposed to over the years were plain vanilla, targeting everybody and reaching almost nobody. Companies I worked for were afraid to deploy the 3Ms in such a way that would allow them to nail down the right audience by specifically excluding the wrong clients. To this day, most big players are afraid to do that.
Dan Kennedy was never afraid of that. He taught me to focus on the audience that is a perfect fit for my business and at the same time to thoroughly exclude the clients I don’t want to work with. Everything else would be a waste of time. A lesson that I immediately took to heart.
After watching a few YouTube videos I joined Dan’s emailing list, which allowed me to gain access to some exclusive materials. I purchased his books on Amazon, I attended his webinars and I went to his GKIC SuperConference.
From day one I was impressed with Dan Kennedy’s depth of marketing wisdom and knowledge, his overall approach to copywriting and the fact that everything he taught was unconventional. I learned from him the exact opposite of what I’ve been taught at university. I was hooked forever.
People who know that I’m a student of Dan Kennedy often ask me which one of his books or programs influenced me the most.
I dissected a lot of his material but I must admit that it’s his high-caliber Mind-Hijacking Advanced program that impacted me the most. So, if your goal is to be a high-performing marketing pro, you need to grab his Mind-Hijacking materials immediately. It’s a must-have for every single pro marketer.
5 Impactful Marketing Lessons I Learned from Dan Kennedy
1. The most important question you should ask when advertising is, “What’s the most that you can/ will spend to acquire a new customer?”
As I’m a huge proponent of advertising, this lesson from Dan was definitely a game changer for me. You see, I was taught like most of you to ask a different question, “What’s the least amount you can spend to acquire a customer?”
And with that perspective my friends, you’re doomed to fail. The greatest product / service or the greatest marketing can’t make up for insufficient capital.
The business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins.
The capital you’re willing to invest dictates your marketing plan; it determines which media channels you can activate and how much you can spend on marketing tools. You need to think beyond making a profit on the initial sale only. You need to have a strong strategy in place that will enable you to maximize your customer’s value on the back-end. You must be willing to outspend your competitors.
2. WHO is buying matters more than anything!
Who is buying the 8-ounce platinum filet mignon for 240 USD matters a lot more than the filet. Do you really think that a slice of beef costs proportionately more in cost of goods and overhead for the fancy restaurant than is costs Outback to put that steak on the oven? No, it doesn’t. It costs more but not proportionately more. Therefore the relevant question to ask here is who is going to Outback and who is going to that fancy restaurant more than the thing that’s been delivered in both of these environments. The big chain cutter is the WHO.
The ‘who’ matters more than the ‘thing’ that they’re buying and therefore you need to de-link the ‘what’ from the ‘who’. You delink it in the mind first of all and than in your offer. A lot of people use some kind of mathematical formula to determine the price (e.g. cost of good, overhead, hours it takes to create the good or service). It’s the wrong approach. You need to focus on the ‘who’ first and foremost.
3. Your prosperity begins with your price strategy.
You have to be bolder, more creative, inventive and effective in using price to your extreme advantage.
Don’t compete on price if you can’t be THE cheapest. Understand that there are people who buy at different price levels. You’ll find a Wal-Mart customer in almost every category but there’s also a Nieman-Marcus customer in every category. Also remember that offering discounts is a form of selling on price. When you do that, you’re directing the focus on your price instead of keeping it on the value you provide.
Most business owners pay too much attention to industry norms. They look at what competitors are charging and end up pricing their products somewhere in the middle.
Another component that impacts your price strategy massively is fear. This leads among other things to underpricing and ignoring opportunities to sell premium priced versions of your products and services.
Price has very little to do with objectively measured intrinsic values.
4. The most important word in marketing is NEXT.
What’s your next move?
What’s your next offer?
Marketing is not a one-time event. It’s not a 1-step process. Marketing is a strategy-based multi-step, multi-media process. A successful marketing campaign never ends.
I’ve written extensively about the importance of having proven systems and marketing funnels in place, more specifically on how to incorporate these complex structures into your business and leverage their power to gain competitive advantage while setting yourself apart from the crowd.
5. Referrals are the best type of customers you can get.
Word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations trump every other source available.
Referred people are generally less price and sales resistant. As they trust the person they got the recommendation from, they are more willing to transfer their trust to your business and brand.
According to Dan’s life-long experience, referred customers “spend more both in the short and long run and are more loyal than the normal customer”.
The Value of Having a Great Mentor
I can’t emphasize enough how different my trajectory in business and life would have been, had I not met Dan Kennedy.
Dan helped me evolve into a professional direct response marketer and have a better understanding of the human psyche, an invaluable asset for everyone in the business of marketing and sales. And that’s everybody.
I picked these five marketing lessons because if I had to enumerate everything I learned from Dan, I’d need to write several books about his teachings. Dan defies the odds of conventional wisdom and provides you with wisdom that you can draw from for many decades to come.
Apart from being an absolutely brilliant marketer, I will always keep Dan in my mind as a kind and warm-hearted mentor who deeply cared about his students. When I talked to him and told him about the successes I had due to implementing his teachings he always smiled and encouraged me to keep going, to never be afraid to be different and continue to work on improving my copywriting skills.
News of his sudden deterioration in health a few days ago was a shock to me.
For more information, please visit: https://dankennedytribute.com/
Dan Kennedy had a massive positive impact on me. He will always be my marketing mentor, a legend and true maverick.
Thank you for everything Sir Dan Kennedy!