There’s no reason to be like everyone else when you have the chance to be legendary.
I see this all the time in the marketing world. Everyone does the same things — they all have social media and they’re all sending you an email at 2:07 pm on a Tuesday. So why would you do the same thing as everyone else if you want your brand to stand out?
I always love to talk with my favorite, stand-out marketing masters when I host my podcast. Seeing people really be brave and dare to go against what everyone else around them is doing deeply inspires me — and my listeners too. It’s a relief to see how many people are “Following Their Different” these days — like Dave Gerhardt.
Gerhardt is the head of marketing for Drift, a conversational marketing platform. He joined me on the podcast after his fellow Drift rockstar, David Cancel. He and Cancel do one of my absolute favorite podcasts, called Seeking Wisdom, and they’re co-authors of the number one, brand new bestselling book called Conversational Marketing: How The World’s Fastest Growing Companies Use Chat Bots to Generate Leads.
Gerhardt talked with me about how he applied huge marketing strategies to the launch of their book. Tactics like the multiplier effect, making your brand undeniable, and, my personal favorite, legendary marketing — you know, the kind that makes your competitors have emergency board meetings.
If you’re looking for some serious gold, read on.
1. Sell high, sell low, sell everywhere to everyone — including at airport newsstands.
Everything Cancel and Gerhardt do at Drift is about educating people on conversational marketing — what it is, what it does, why it matters.
“Hopefully,” says Gerhardt. “If we’re the ones teaching you about it, then when you’re ready to buy, you’re going to come to us.”
Part of their strategy in getting their “educational materials” out in the world is making them as accessible as possible. One of their biggest wins on that front has been their book Conversational Marketing — which really does seem to be everywhere in the business world. Of course, they’ve promoted the hell out of it, offering it at a discount directly from their website, talking about it on podcasts, etc.
But they also took a surprising new angle in getting their ideas in front of people that matter.
“The book is gonna be at every airport newsstand in the world for three months, starting soon,” says Gerhardt. “I want the CEO getting off the plane to be like, ‘I’ve heard about conversational marketing. Oh shit, there’s a book on it at the airport? Okay, I better go check it out.’”
The idea then is the hypothetical CEO will read it, send it to the marketing team, and they’ll assign the topic to someone to become the expert.
And this strategy is working. The book is at #26 on Amazon’s business sales list, beating out thousands of other titles.
2. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.
Of course, Gerhardt doesn’t just want to stop with marketing to CEOs.
“A huge part of our strategy for marketing this book is to get it in the hands of as many people as possible,” says Gerhardt. Which might sound like a “duh” moment, but hear him out. “We’ve done a lot of things to basically encourage people to tweet out and post pictures of the book because I want people to be like, ‘Goddamn it, all I do is see this freaking book. Okay, I gotta go buy it. Everybody’s reading it.’”
Gerhardt refers to this as tapping into the “Keeping up with the Joneses mindset.” People often see their competitors doing one thing and immediately think, “Okay, I have to do that now.” That’s exactly the action Gerhardt wants to inspire in people when it comes to Conversational Marketing.
And again, Gerhardt aimed at every possible set of ears and eyes he could find when promoting the book. He went on every single podcast he could wrangle during those busy few months.
“I don’t care whether somebody has an audience of 100 people or 100,000 people,” says Gerhardt. “Because if you have a podcast about marketing and 100 people listen to it, damn, those 100 people…love marketing. That’s a niche inside of a niche.”
3. When everyone is going left, go right.
Remember: to stand out, you have to be willing to go against the crowd.
Just because all your fellow marketers are doing things one way, does not mean that’s the only way of working. One of the things Gerhardt makes sure to focus on is how to swim against the current or find the back doors of entry that no one else has thought to use. Remember the emails at 2:07 pm on a Tuesday?
“99% of marketers are going to send an email at that time,” says Gerhardt. “Whereas I want to be the guy that’s sending you an email Saturday night because nobody’s marketing team is working on a Saturday night.”
And that’s why I love talking with guys like Gerhardt and Cancel — they’re always thinking of ways to split the crowd.
Because marketing today is like war.
It’s a war for attention.
Which means you can’t be afraid to take chances and do things outside your comfort zone. You have to always be asking yourself, “What chance will I take next?” And yeah, you might fail. But that’s the risk you take.
In order to become a legend, you have to risk being a loser.