Yes, we know.
Most of us tend to be lazy.
Even pretty lazy sometimes.
Our brains are trying really hard to save calories and do as little as possible. But no matter how comfortable or even enjoyable this might be, it’s probably not the best way to build a succesful business. Sometimes you just have to push yourself.
Sometimes you’d be better off with a gun to your head.
See what I just did here?
Pretty smart right?
Whatever. Watch the video or read the transcript.
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Here’s the transcript…
What is Gun to your head Marketing?
I want to talk to you about something that I refer to called gun to your head marketing. So, I learned this from Gary Hilbert who was a direct response marketing genius back in the day when all marketing used to be done through print and direct mail before all of the noise came with the internet and all of this new technology.
So, Gary had an amazing story. He was starting out in the direct mail business, trying to sell things in direct mail and he didn’t have any success at all until he literally had no other choice. So, he talked about the story when he was living in a house which he was about to lose and there was no running water or no electricity in the house and his wife said to him, “Gary, if you can’t make this work like in the next week then you’re going to have to go and get a job.” And what happened is that under this immense pressure and literally when he had no other choice, he sat down to write a direct mail letter that turned out to be one of the best direct male letters of all time and it ended up being mailed more than 1 billion times. So, it turned out to be not only a very profitable direct mail piece but the most direct mail piece of all time. So, what does this mean? Gary refers to this as a gun to your head marketing. So, Gary couldn’t make it work until he literally sat down like there was a gun to his head. He had seven days to write a direct mail later that was going to work and save his business and save his lifestyle or that was it. And what Gary did for the rest of his career and the rest of his life is, every time he sat down to write a piece of marketing or doing advertisement or anything he would think what if I had a gun to my head and this just had to work absolutely, positively, had to work otherwise I get my head blown off. That turned out to be one of the secrets to Gary Hilbert’s very successful career in direct response marketing and direct mail marketing. So, what does this mean for you and me? Well, as humans, we do our best to work when we are under insane pressure and we have literally no other way then to make it work.
So, I’ll tell you a quick story about Sam Evans. So, back when he was starting out as an entrepreneur, Sam was finishing a college degree in business and also working a job which was kind of an intern/job role and he was also trying to start his first business. So, Sam was kind of sitting between these three things and couldn’t do really any one of them well and his business certainly wasn’t doing well. He got to a point where he was like, “I’m going to have to make a decision” Sam dropped out of and quit his job at which his colleagues were like, “Oh my god! What is this guy doing?” and he moved out of the house he was living in, with friends to save money and moved back home with his parents. His parents had downsized their house since Sam moved out. So, there wasn’t another bedroom for him. So, he had to move into the garage. Sam was sitting there in the garage and he had burnt his bridges; dropped out of college, quit the job and moved back home with his parents. Now, sitting there in the garage and Sam only had about one or two thousand dollars to his name and he just knew that he had to make it work, it absolutely, positively, had to work. What happened is that that’s when his business started to pick up and that’s when he first started to get his first few customers in his first few sales and things like that. So, that was a gun to your head situation. Not literally but in the sense that you and I can get. When Sam was forced to make it work, he made it work and that’s what I’m talking about when I refer to as gun to your head marketing.
So, another story is a bit later on about Same Evans when he were still working out of his parents’ garage, he had up to three employees by this point and things were starting to get a bit cramped in the garage and he needed a bigger premise. What happened as Sam signed the lease for a Foreign Office and the least was quite expensive. It was a lot of money for him back at that time and he was really worried when they first moved in their house. Sam was like “Oh my god! We’ve got to make rent and we have got to cover our staff’s salaries and things like that.” and he was kind of a bit worried and what happened is that month turned out to be, back then, their best month of sales. They made more money in sales that month than any other month because he was in one of those situations where there was a gun to my head. Sam had to make it work. Otherwise, he couldn’t pay rent and he couldn’t pay the staff costs.
So, what does this mean for us? Well, like I said earlier, us humans we work best when we are under pressure and I’m not saying that we should throw ourselves into situations where we’re in real danger like those situations I used as example but to think about every time we sit down to create a piece of marketing or to do an advertisement or to really do anything in business, we should think what if we had a gun to our heads and what if this ad or this direct mail letter or this digital marketing campaign, what if this head to work? What if it had to bring in customers? And if it didn’t, the person with the gun to your head would pull the trigger and your life was over. So, you don’t necessarily have to create yourself dangerous situations, you just have to sit now whenever you create a piece of marketing and think about what if I had a gun to my head.
Now, this summer there’s some awesome examples of this happening in big business as well. So, I’m sure all of us know Apple, the company that makes iPhone and things like that. Well, there was a point back in time not very long ago actually before the iPod and things like that when Apple was nowhere near the size of what it is today, where it was in bad shape. They literally had 90 days’ worth of cash left in the bank. So, they needed to figure out something within the next 90 days otherwise Apple was going under and it would be bankrupt and it would have never created the products that you and I have known and gotten to love today. Well, what happened when Apple was under that insane pressure is they had to make it work and what they did is they got Steve Jobs back. He cut all the products that were necessary in focused on the few that he thought were going to be a breakthrough and that’s when Apple sorts greatest turnaround of all time. That’s when Steve Jobs came back. He acts all of the Dead products and he focused in on the ones that have grown to be what you and I love and use today.
So, it’s gun to your head situations and just limited to small things like Sam dropping out of university and quitting his job or signing up for a new lease. No, we see these we see these things happen even with some of the biggest companies in the world. When it there is a situation, when there’s a gun to your head and you absolutely, positively, have to make it work most of the time, you’ll make it work.
So, what I want to challenge you guys to do this week is to look at the marketing that your business is doing right now. So, if you’ve got digital marketing campaigns or any campaigns running right now, I challenge you to look at those and think if I had a gun to my head and this had, to work, if this marketing campaign head to pull in customers and head to turn a profit, otherwise, I get my head blown off, would I be doing this campaign is the first question I want you to ask and because maybe you shouldn’t be doing that campaign at all and if it is the campaign that you believe you’d still do if you had a gun to your head would you change it at all? So, that’s what I want to challenge you guys to do this week. Look at your company’s marketing and advertising and think what I do this if I had a gun to my head and if it had to work?