Church of the Invisible Hand

A Simple Marketing Trick Discovered in the Animal Kingdom

Do you watch the Walking Dead?


It's one of my guilty pleasures.


I've been reading the comic since issue one. And as much as I talk down on mindless television, I still veg out on Sunday nights to the exploits of Rick and the gang.


So, last night, my roommate and I were glued to the tube. Rick and Michonne are sneaking through hordes of zombies, and I'm at the edge of my seat. When suddenly, out of nowhere, my roommate's dog jumps up on the couch and plants herself right in-between me and the tv.


You see, she’d decided she wanted to be petted. Apparently, we weren't paying enough attention to her. So, she got right in front of what I was paying attention to, and made herself the center of my world.


Smart dog.


See, she knew that to get what she wanted from me, she first had to get my attention. So to get that, her best bet was to figure out where my attention already was, and jump out in front of it. Needless to say, she got what she wanted.



But here's what got me. This was a brilliant lesson in marketing.


She could have sat in the corner of the room, whimpering or panting, trying to take my attention away from the tv. But instead of fighting to get my attention, she went to where my attention already was.


All lot of times, people ask "how can i grab the attention of my customers?" But a better question to ask is "what are my customers already paying attention to?" and then put yourself there for them to see.


It's such a simple concept; even a black lab can grasp it. But it works. She got what she wanted. And if you can answer this question about your potential customers, you can get what you want too.

Nathan Fraser

Written by Nathan Fraser
Direct Response Copywriter
Marketing Consultant
High Priest of Propaganda



Related Posts

Why You Should Never Sell Ice to an Eskimo

I once knew a guy named Mike, and he was one hell of a salesman.


He was the kind of guy that could sell ice to Eskimo. He could sell anything to anyone, and he took pride in that.


In fact, he could sell people on doing all kinds of things that weren't in their best interests.


He broke a lot of hearts, and burnt a lot of bridges. He even conned me into doing a few things I later wished I hadn't. And, although I no longer keep in touch with him, I'd bet he's still doing the same thing, to this day.


But it's probably not as easy for Mike as it once was.


You see, after a while, people will start to catch on. They'll realize they've been taken for a ride, and they won't be happy about it. You can only sell so much ice in a frozen tundra before the Eskimos run you out of town.


And that's what happened to Mike.


Mike broke the number one rule of copywriting. He sold ice to Eskimos. And you never wanna sell ice to Eskimos.


And why do you never wanna sell ice to an Eskimo?


Well, it's simple.


1 ) You'll have crazy refund rates. Sooner or later, that Eskimo is gonna realize you pulled one over on him. He's gonna figure out that your product wasn't right for him. And he's gonna want his money back.


2 ) You damage your reputation. He's gonna tell his friends that you tricked him into buying something he didn't really want. That's going to make them all the more skeptical when they deal with you in the future. And if that Eskimo has access to the internet...


3 ) You're hurting trust in the market. A sale is supposed to benefit all parties involved. It's supposed to be a win-win situation. But when a salesman taints the view of selling, the entire marketplace suffers.


4 ) You are depriving people who actually need your ice. There are people in the desert that would gladly buy from you, but they can't. You're all the way up in Alaska, ignoring the real people you should be serving.


5 ) You work twice as hard. Yes, it might help inflate your own ego. But you're working twice as hard, for results that will be short lived. The most important part of of marketing is putting the right message in front of the right audience.


Sales is not about profit at any cost.


Sales is not about manipulating people out of their hard earned money. Sales is about connecting people with a solution that is right for them, in a way that also benefits you.


If Mike is still out there, trying to make a quick buck at other people's expense, it won't last. The days of tricking people into buying your snake oil are numbered. And the clock is ticking.


When you're writing your advertisements, don't try to sell to everybody. Don't try and convince the wrong person to buy. Only worry about the person that actually needs what you are selling.


This is the foundation of great copy.


It's not sexy. It's not ninja. It's not on fleek. But it is what works.


Never sell ice to an Eskimo.


Instead, take your ice to the desert, and sell it there.

How a Magnet Can Help Your Message

So, I always hear about the importance of attracting the right kind of clients and customers. Attraction marketing, I think they call it. Make sure your brand and message is attracting the right type of people.


All sound advice, I'm sure. But there is another side.


Something I have infrequently heard referred to as "Repulsion Marketing."


It's part of something called The Magnet Effect, and it works like this.


Every magnet has two sides. A positive force and a negative force. One side attracts. The other pushes away. But one can only exist with the other. It's inescapable.


So here's what that means to you. It means that if you're only focused on who you want to attract, you're not doing your job. A magnet that doesn't repulse, can't attract. It's a universal law, and it applies to everything you do.


Once you get this basic principle, everything gets a whole lot easier.


Look at the greatest pop stars. Their fan base is never lukewarm, and there detractors are never indifferent. For the most successful entertainers, you either love them or hate them. There's rarely an in-between.


Same thing with talk show pundits and politicians. The more radically they push away one demographic, the more feverish their own fan-base becomes. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. So don't try to please everyone.


Understand the Magnet Effect. Accept that there must be balance in the universe. And use it to your advantage.


You can't have success without also having haters. So take an active role in controlling who your haters are. That will give you more ability to attract the people you actually want to serve.

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