I picked up on something recently, and I don’t like it. It’s this: nearly all of the people I’ve met since starting in the online marketing field in 2011 are still doing the same thing.
Maybe they’re operating at a bigger baseline number today, but they’re still fighting with the same problems, and trying to treat those with the same solutions.
I have done a number of things since 2011, and what I do today⏤in fact, what I’ve done since 2016⏤is completely different than what I was doing in 2011. What I do is probably nothing like what you do. And there's so much herd-following out there...
Even in 2002-06, the four years I worked as a credit manager for a national electrical wholesaler collecting $2 million every month, I changed how I was doing what I was doing every year.
People in the online marketing field continue to center their activities around the concept of Launches.
The process of launches is so parallel to drug addiction it’s scary. You’re constantly looking for that “one more hit.” The dopamine, the feeling of winning, the immediate gratification of your short term money needs.
And once you get sucked into this supposed ‘business model’ it’s hard to get out.
WHAT’S THE BIG PROBLEM WITH LAUNCHES?
What’s the problem with launches? They keep you in a desperate state of fear, searching for Traffic.
This makes you focus on the wrong thing.
If you haven’t figured Traffic generation out, it means you don’t know your ideal or target customer.
If you did know, you’d be clear on what to do ⏤ you would go get buyers lists, the way Nathan Latka shows you. Your time would be spent on setting up JVs not with people who have huge, unsegmented lists but those with companies who have buyers with needs overlapping the problems you solve.
Then you would not be launching any longer: you’d be building your business.
Let me be crystal clear: launches are vampyric.
LAUNCHES TURN YOU INTO A SOUL-SUCKING VAMPIRE
I’ve spent some time, about two decades I guess, thinking about the difference between vampires and werewolves. They’re frequently pitted against one another in somebody’s new full moon story, and while I really liked vampires as a teenager by the time I hit 30 I had to conclude I came down on the werewolf side.
But what is vampyrism?
At its essence, and here’s the fruit of the thinking I’ve done, being a vampire is about the ego trying to maintain its existence forever. Sticking around too long. Supporting itself artificially, off the lifeblood of others...and always searching for that next hit.
Just as launches have you behave.
You get stuck in the same repeating cycle, year after year. Your needs are “short term met,” but what about the long term? I doubt you can see that far...when your focus is on making just enough energy to be able to comfortably crawl back into your earthen bed for awhile, why would you even look out?
WHAT GAME ARE YOU PLAYING?
The online marketing field is so focused on the vampyric launch tradition of Traffic and Conversion it has even named conferences and companies after it.
When you’re not clear on your values, your principles, your Big Why, you stay in the vampyric cycle of launching.
And it keeps you in a “know it all” state, too: I have had several incidents lately of encountering business owners who complained they couldn’t solve a problem, although they clearly had not tried out all possible solutions...or even more than one or two. In the first case they could not properly measure their business activities, despite being well on the way to seven figures ARR; and in another case, would not give me their help desk ticket data to analyze at no charge, after complaining in a long thread about this resource-sucking problem. Did they get a consultation with me? No. So how can they say they “tried everything?” Their egos, pushed into a corner by their launch mentality, forced them to insist it was so.
I’ve seen owners say they’re masters of processes and systems...and then complain of broken outcomes and friction with buyers.
How many business owners are like this? In my opinion and experience, almost all of them in the online marketing field.
I find quite a different experience with brick and mortar business owners. On the data science side of my business we’re working with a skateboard wholesaler. He supplies retailers all through the US via several distribution centers. Shipping costs are the biggest expense for him: get a skateboard in the wrong distribution center, and you’ll never be able to sell it at a profit. It costs too much to ship it again, so you have to unload it at a fire sale price.
We asked him if we could take all his data and analyze it, to create a predictive AI that says which skateboards should be sent to what distribution center to maximize the chance of profit. Also we can identify which centers are overutilized, or underutilized, and help him make decisions about which to close, which to up the resources on, and so on. Finally, we can help him choose the location for a new distribution center in California, where he wants to put one.
This predictive AI is an asset and in a year or so I will be able to say to similar distributors, “Let me tell you the Seven Cities of DEATH! If your competitors go into those markets, you can laugh all the way to the bank!” because of it. Notice how this concept is not a launch and it will pay off again and again.
LEARN TO PLAY THE INFINITE GAME
You’re probably familiar with Simon Sinek for his “Start With Why” speech. If you haven’t seen that, go watch it now. More recently, he’s talked about an issue that is so critical I’m including it here. It’s the secret to getting out of the vampyric launch game.
You plan to be around for a long time, don’t you?
Have you even thought about this in the past several years? Or have you been looking for that one next hit?
In this talk, Sinek describes the infinite game. To play the infinite game well, you must have clarity on your values. It’s not enough to concern yourself with your interests: you must know what you stand for as well because that will guide your actions.
Clarity about your values gives you clarity on your long game.
And trust me, whether you see it or not, you are playing the infinite game.
How you do what you do is the most important thing you can focus on.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” This is why.
How you do what you do is all about your values, your principles, your Big Why.
How you do what you do is more extensive and deeper than a simple flowchart, and you probably don’t even have that.
How you do what you do is about operational excellence: taking your customer’s breath away with the awesomeness of your solution...and fulfilling your offer so effectively you have a lot more money in profit left over at the end.
HOW YOU DO WHAT YOU DO MATTERS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
Get out of the vampyric launch headspace. Get into your long game. Discover your values. Build clarity on your Big Why and get interested in how you do what you do.
I can say what I've said here because I don't care about offending someone. I'm not a launch guy and never have been. My products stick around...I've been selling and supporting Sales On Fire since 2012. I build real businesses, especially through LinkedIn with brick and mortar operations. So a couple unfriends in the launch realm don't make any difference.
Either you give a damn about the things I’ve talked about, or you don’t. If you do, you know where to find me. When you’re tired of limping along, launch to launch, year after year, not really building anything, not really standing for anything, tell me.