In our Marketing Stars Series, we bring you insights from some of the top influencers in the world of online marketing. We’ve asked the best of the best to share their insider knowledge with you, our readers, so that you can harness the power of their expert advice, tips, and tricks in your own marketing efforts.
Today, we are honored to have the opportunity to bring you our interview with John Jantsch. John is a marketing consultant and speaker, and the best selling author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine, and The Referral Engine. We are thrilled that he agreed to answer a few questions for us
1. John, tell us a little bit about what it is you do, and why you’re so passionate about it.
I’m a marketing consultant, author and speaker but mostly I just try to make marketing as simple as it really is.
2. Can you give us a quick intro to Duct Tape Marketing and its mission?
Duct Tape Marketing is the brand name I’ve given to my attempt to turn marketing into a system that eliminates the frustration that business owners feel around marketing their businesses.
3. How did you get started in this industry? What was the Aha! moment that ultimately led you to where you are today?
I got started because I was pretty good at selling things. My aha moment came when I realized the real trick was to figure out who you actually wanted to sell things to.
4. What strategies did you use to attract readers/followers when you started out?
Hard work and consistency I guess were my first tools and then I guess networking like crazy with other people that were doing the same.
5. What has been the biggest challenge so far in your career?
Letting go of certain elements of a business and brand that I created when it was just me.
6. Do you have any funny stories to share about your experiences in the industry?
One time a really big faceless corporation sent me a check for $156,273 although I had invoiced them for $1,562.73 – and yes I did send it back.
7. John, you are a successful author of quite a few books and e-books. What inspired you to write and can we expect another soon?
I got hooked on writing really early on, in high school I suppose, but it was only when I had a business reason for writing that I started to do it consistently. Funny you ask, my fourth book, Duct Tape Selling – Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar hits the shelves May 15th.
8. You also spoke at TEDx, what is your favorite TEDx video you think everyone should listen to?
I love Dan Pink’s TED Talk on motivation.
9. Do you have any sure-fire sources of inspiration?
Nature does it for me every time. If I’m stuck even a walk around the block helps, but a week in the mountains is gold.
10. What is one piece of advice that may be unconventional or that we just don’t usually hear that you would recommend people follow?
Read a weird book using a filter. Okay, weird is relative, but in my case I pick up books on architecture and calculus and plants and pour through them with a single filter idea in mind like referrals or systems. It’s funny how you can find so many examples of great ideas from unrelated subjects when you do filtered reading.
11. If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ [websites, books, coaches] you’d recommend, which would you include and why?
I really don’t know that I do because I always share everything I find. Although I do think every marketer should read The Practice of Management by Peter Drucker.
12. How do you define success?
I think it’s a feeling more than anything else. I feel successful when I’m doing something as well as I can and people are benefiting from that.
13. What advice can you give to people just starting on their online marketing journeys?
Write every day even if you don’t want to, get in front of as many audiences as you can and share whatever idea you have that day, ask people you admire for help – most will turn you down and ignore you, but it’s the only way to find that one that takes you under their wing and mentors you. (P.S. If you don’t take the first two pieces of advice don’t attempt the last one.)
14. What are three hard-to-spot pitfalls that are critical to avoid in marketing?
- Trying to do what everyone else is doing – This shouldn’t be hard to spot but it is.
- Being afraid to narrow your focus – We all want customers, who cares if we can’t really serve them well?
- Spending time being busy – Busy and effective are not the same. Identify high payoff activity and stick to it.
15. Before we end this interview, looking out 3 to 5 years, beyond the obvious trends, what do you think will be the next big change in your industry?
Marketing will be less about creating demand and more about organizing behavior.