Selling or helping? Short term or long term?

Visante_BlogJay Baer is one of my favorite marketers. He is also an author and speaker who is truly intriguing with non-stop brilliant ideas. This week, I re-read his book Youtility, why smart marketing is about help not hype, a book I first read several months ago.

“The difference between helping and selling are just two letters, but those two letters make all the difference in this modern day business. If you sell something, you can create a customer today; but if you help someone, you can create a customer for life.” Jay challenges business to create great content that is truly and inherently useful, so marketing become “Youtility” for customers.

In this culture of quick win and immediate gratification, how do you persuade an executive or a business owner to take a long term view of offering help and building trust with customers, instead of the short term, sell them something quick mentality?

This reminds me of a brilliant entrepreneur I met a few months ago. We had a remarkable two hour discussion on exciting ideas to market his IT services. His passion for the business is contagious. However, he is obsessed with the idea to create a home-run viral video that is awe-inspiring, filled with humor and emotion. He wants the customer to buy immediately after viewing a video. I felt he was planning his business based on the winning of a lottery. I secretly hope either he gets lots of money to hire Steven Spielberg to film his video, or he gets my message by doing the hard work of helping his customers with useful contents repeatedly.

“I wrote this book as a reaction to the landslide of punditry that prescribes “make your company amazing” as a strategic approach. The reality is, your business probably isn’t amazing, and you probably won’t have the opportunity or time to make it so. For my money – and yours – I vastly prefer to adopt a more defensible plan that will win hearts, minds, fans and customers in a more viable and repeatable way. That plan is Youtility. If you create marketing that people genuinely want, you can dispense with the ‘shock’, ‘awe’, and ‘viral’ and focus on solving problems, answering questions, and creating long-lasting customer relationships by doing so.”

If you are still not convinced by Jay’s brilliance, you surely have heard of Google’s 367 search algorithm changes in 2013. Google in essence is forcing us to create high quality content consistently. Being helpful and useful and your customers will reward you with trust and loyalty.

Thanks Jay for the wisdom! 

Aileen Sig photo Aileensig_zps15aa17a6.png