I headed to the TCMA conference in Edinburgh with much excitement as I knew I was going to get to meet the great Marcus Sheridan. This man was influential in me starting my own business and making me see that there is a better way to do marketing, a way that entertains, educates and delights.
To get a chance to see the man who helped me spend more time with my family and see more of my daughter grow up was such a dream come true.
I thought I knew what to expect as I have followed Marcus for years and I wasn’t expecting to hear that much new content.
But like Marcus says himself sometimes you need to hear the information 2, 3 even four times before it clicks and I mean really clicks.
What I actually took away from this conference was far more than I bargained for.
It’s not about you
There are times in one’s life where you look back and say that was a definitive moment, the moment everything changed, the moment everything came into focus.
As in life, marketing it is not about you it is about everyone else, whether that is your friends, family or your customers. You need to make everything you do about them.
Here is a quote that has served me well over the years but never before has it held so much relevance to me.
“Help others achieve their goals and you will achieve yours.”
Marcus talks about “they ask and you answer”. This means being transparent on your website and answering all the questions, no matter how difficult, for the world to see.
At a basic level this is just being helpful and talking about other people’s challenges instead of talking about your services. Richard Tubb another speaker at TCMA said “be interested not interesting”, just like Dale Carnegie said all those years ago in his book, “How to win friends and influence people”.
Doing this builds trust and people will buy from you more as a result.
But don’t think of it as a means to make a sale, think of it as being helpful.
When you think about it, marketing is not about marketing at all it is about improving lives.
It’s not just about making business more money although that is a goal. Businesses are made up of individuals and those individuals lives are affected by the success of the business.
They are affected and their families are affected.
The real goal of owning a business is doing more of what you love and a successful business lets you do that.
Whether that is spending all day fishing or being there when your daughter first says ‘da-da’.
For me having my own business means I get to help people improve their lives every day. It is not about selling marketing services to me at all. Not only this, since the birth of my daugher 7 months ago I haven’t missed a thing.
I see the development of a new person, growing into someone special. It’s in her eyes that I have discovered what is important in life itself and helping others live.
Don’t make your marketing about you, but instead make it about your customers, thus enriching their lives and the success of their business. This makes you more successful.
Content Marketing is methodology not a tactic
Hubspot say that businesses that are totally bought into inbound marketing/content marketing see the most success.
I used to struggle to find the time to create content but what TCMA 2015 taught me is that it is not time that is the problem, it is the value you apply to creating content.
In a digital age creating content is one of the most important things you can do as a business because 57% of the buying decision is already made before they contact you.
How else are you going to be part of the conversation?
Like Marcus says in the next ten years this number will be 100%. So please don’t ignore its importance to your business.
You have to think of content as a part of your business culture not a tactic you use to market your business.
Content is not a marketing tactic, it is a business asset and should be thought of more in that way.
You may be sceptical and I can understand why. But I can tell you it works, I see it every day with the clients we work with.
They are almost exactly parallel to Marcus’s story.
Why you should attend next year
The content marketing academy conference is far more that just somewhere you go to listen to someone talk for 30 mins. It is special, Chris Marr has created a community that has a bit of magic to it. It is hard to pinpoint what exactly it is but you can really feel it when you are there.
You will understand what I mean when you go next year.
One thing I will be doing is offering all Stargazer’s employees and partners tickets to go for free next year as we strongly believe you will leave with your life enriched in ways you never thought possible.
For me there were so many moments that were special to me and I know I have talked a lot about Marcus, but the other speakers were equally good.
I got something for everyone. Notable mentions have go to Gavin Oates from Tree of Knowledge who challenged the way I should be thinking, Richard Tubb for making me think about what an online connection really is.
To Karen Strunks for educating me that being yourself is really the only way to go.
My biggest thanks has to go to Chris Marr because without him none of what I experienced would have been possible.
Sir, I salute you!