Column: I like you (marketing strategy #14)

To begin, I first want to tell you how I came upon this strategy. I figured this out when I was gearing up to put on a workshop recently. I always want each one to be better, and decided that I needed some new “show and tell” or new props for the presentation. When I want to get creative, I usually go buy stuff. Shopping kind of gets me in the mindset. Oddly things produce themselves on shopping trips that become useful and that I can use to create a better visual.

So I started by going to the bank to make a withdrawal in preparation of spending some money. I spent a few minutes talking with the person who always helps me out. I then headed over to this little eclectic type of Vancouver store. I couldn’t believe the neat signs and fun stuff that was mostly for decorating your house. I’m pretty good at making purchasing decisions, so I picked a few things out that would be fun – not necessarily to become decorations. I saw some chocolate at the checkout and bought some of those too. I put all the stuff in my truck and drove to my favorite printer in town. I knew I wanted to have some fun print materials because people like to have something to take away after attending a workshop, so I settled on an idea and went back to the office to create a file for printing accessories.

When I made it home, I looked at my purchases and tried to figure out what made me buy the stuff I found. I realized that among my items, there weren’t any big brand names. Instead, my purchases were attached to someone I liked.

Starting with my bank, I have an account there because I had attended an event that was put on by the bank. I even received a nice thank you after I attended from the banker who invited me. I bought the fun, almost toy-like items from a store that participated in a home show and had set up a workshop-like setting where they shared how they had prepared decorations for the home. I had learned something from these people. 

I realized that I bought all of this stuff because someone took the time to teach. When someone teaches or tells you about something, you have a different level of respect for them. You trust him or her on a different level than when someone is pitching you.

I started thinking to myself about the idea (or strategy) of how you can teach a person something and they can come to like you and become your captive audience – a secret weapon in marketing.

So how do you implement strategy #14? Go to your Facebook page or your company website and start teaching by telling your audience everything you’ve learned. Include things that didn’t turn out right, and things that took a few times to get right. You will get a serious amount of traffic on this. Not because you shared a mistake, but because people will like that you are honest.

What you end up doing is attracting like-minded people. As a result, you end up attracting potential customers. You might not even know they are customers, but they trust you more because you gave them something without pitching to them.

The strategy is that whatever you are doing, whatever you learned today, get it out there. Figure out how to share what you are doing, educate people, and stop being afraid that you are going to give your competitors the edge.

You are going to start building an audience. When you start to build an audience, you will have captured your market.


Lisa Schmidt is a marketing communications strategist. She can be reached at or 360.314.2730.

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