What kind of marketing is the most effective?

sneezr.ca Have you ever asked yourself that question? I did. In fact, many years ago I spent countless hours trying to figure it out.
The answer turned out to be quite simple: word of mouth marketing. Or as I call it: the art of cultivating recommendations.

Surprised? Probably not. With recommendations, there is no sales pressure and no credibility issues. When your friends, family members or trusted co-workers recommend something or someone to you, they are genuinely trying to help you. That means a lot, which is why you usually remember it for a long time. But here is the catch: recommendations must be earned. How do you do that? Where do you start? How do you give people a reason to talk about your products/services? How do you nudge your story into every day conversations? I launched sneezr.ca to help you answer those questions.

What are you sneezing about?

From time to time, the first-time readers ask about the origin of the name sneezr. Here’s the short answer about the name sneezr: Sneezing is usually a vivid experience—your whole self gets involved. And something usually makes us sneeze, right?

Now think about word of mouth marketing for a moment (WOM). Something usually trigers WOM and that something is usually intentionally cultivated. But how? How much time do we have? Not much? OK. In short, through design—think MINIApple; through easy of use—think GoogleAmazon.com, through remarkable customer service—think ZapposRackspace.

The key takeaway is that word of mouth marketing can be intentionally cultivated. Yet, interestingly, often when we recommend someone or something, we feel that we do it completely voluntarily. Your idea, your business, your product, etc., will spread faster if people are sneezing about it. :)


Jerry Seinfeld’s secret.


A. He crafts great stories people can step into.
B. He seems to prefer long-term thinking to flavor-of-the-month thinking.
C. When he takes on a project, he does not seem to be thinking Mac or PC, Facebook or twitter, etc. When he takes on a project, he seems to be thinking a small table for two.

Case in point: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, aka one of the most successful web series ever. It came out of nowhere, it offered great stories, and initially was only watched by a very small audience. (If you haven’t yet seen an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the show is a web series in which Jerry Seinfeld picks up various  comedians and they do exactly as the title suggests. Sony’s digital-only channel, Crackle, and the car maker, Acura, have signed the series for 3 more seasons.)

Let’s wrap this up. Jerry Seinfeld crafts great stories people can step into, prefers long-term-thinking to flavor-of-the-month thinking, and seems to be thinking a small table for two. What’s your secret to connecting with people?


Simpler = easier to market.

The simpler the better.
Think Facebook. One of Mark Zuckerberg’s most genius moves? Nudging the idea into the heads of hundreds of millions of people that all that matters is the number of likes.


What can Peter Thiel teach you about business?

zo“In Silicon Valley, nerds are skeptical of advertising, marketing, and sales because they seem superficial and irrational. But advertising matter because it works. It works on nerds, and it works on you. You may think that you’re an exception; that your preferences are authentic, and advertising only works on other people.  It’s easy to resist the most obvious sales pitches, so we entertain a false confidence in our own independence of mind. But advertising doesn’t exist to make you buy a product right away; it exist to embed subtle impressions that will drive sales later. Anyone who can’t acknowledge its likely effect on himself is doubly deceived.”

That’s Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, talking in his remarkable book Zero to One. I agree with Peter: one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses is that they count on their product to explain the value of their product.

My 2¢: We humans love theories. This article is about practice. Reach out. When done right, ads don’t just attract us — they change people. Even the “just-the-facts-ma’m” folks like Elon Musk. It’s easy to forget that.


It is by dreaming first that we get to new realities

Today’s story began yesterday. A friend of mine invited me for coffee at a local Starbucks. During our conversation, he mentioned that one of his kids is considering entrepreneurship as a career. This was music to my ears. Why? How much time do you have? Not much? OK, then here are the top two reasons:

1. Being an entrepreneur is hard, and that’s a good thing. Why? It’s simple: because in the long run, humans find doing easy things to be deeply unsatisfying. Millions are unhappy in their careers simply because they are not really being challenged in their day-to-day work.

2. Chances are, almost everything that makes your life more enjoyable or more productive was created by an entrepreneur. In fact, the energy and ideas of entrepreneurs have been fueling civilization all along. Think about it for a moment: your smartphone, your car, your running shoes, your favorite pizza place, your computer, the ‘no-flip’ mattress you likely sleep on, your you-name-it — who created them? The banks? The government? It was the entrepreneurs. And who will be doing it in the future? The entrepreneurs. To move our economy to where we need it to be in the future, we need more people to take up entrepreneurship.

You may return to your regularly scheduled programming.
Sep 19, 2014