In which we fi nd the subjects for our
persuasive talents and build their
efore you skip this chapter believing that marketing
is not relevant to you, bear in mind that we all have
something to market. The persuasion techniques that you
may have discovered in this book are completely useless if
you have no one to persuade. You may have love to give – is
putting your details in a lonely hearts column, marketing? I
think it is. When you send your CV off for that job, surely
that is marketing too. Creating these expectations for our
subject simply gives us the opportunity to persuade. If you
have a small business you may call the subjects “customers”
and marketing helps you to find them. If you are in direct
sales, you would call them prospects” – but you still have to
find them. Or, if you are just lonely, you might like to think
of them as “friends”, but you still have to track them down.
In all these cases, the classic skills of marketing (I can think
of no other name for it) are what we need to learn.
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I make my living by public speaking; my presentations
are planned to inspire crowds of eager business leaders (and
not so eager employees) to ever greater heights of under-
standing and achievement. The most fatal flaw a presenter
can have is to be boring so my business points are put
across with a lot of gambolling, shouting, stories and exag-
geration. When talking about marketing I create the fiction
that most people in marketing are named either Jervais or
Tarquin and are not entirely in touch with the real world.
The story continues with a chain of roadside diners that
is failing badly and feels that the solution could be a bit of
marketing. A number of businesses work on a very naïve
formula which, on the face of it, simply states that (i) the
business is failing because not enough revenue is coming
in to it, (ii) that finding and keeping customers is the only
activity that can generate revenue, and therefore (iii) if they
could simply find more customers, they will find more
revenue. (What they fail to ask is, where did the original
customers they had go to? Is their company too big and
unwieldy for the limited amount of potential custom-
ers that there are? Are they making maximum profit from
every customer they have?) But for now, their simple minds
tell them that more revenue comes from more customers,
marketing is the science that finds customers, so therefore
they could do with a bit of marketing.
Could you do with a bit of marketing? Why?
A constant aim throughout this book is to give you unex-
pected power simply by making you conscious of why you
are doing things. If you have a small business, perhaps a
great fresh brochure would do the trick. What trick is
that then? When you commission this thing, what are you
expecting it to achieve for you as regards persuading people
to do business with you?
I am not immune from this failure either. For ages I
have worked with a great bunch of characters who built my
website for me. Although a bit weird, they are brilliant and
because they used to lurk in a cave-like office behind a bar,
I christened them the Techno-trolls. I really like my website
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