In some circles, the title of this article could be a leading statement into a description, or it could be a question. In reality, as far as I'm concerned, What Makes Authority Marketing Work is both.
Herein Lies the Question
In an attempt to answer this question, men like Adam Witty, Dan Kennedy, Rusty Shelton, Dr. Thomas Stanley, and Matt Oechsli (more on each of these men in a moment) and others took pen to paper and wrote books on the subject based on their personal place in the timeline. Authority isn't some new-fangled means by which to establish a new, higher beachhead. It is a method of marketing that is often overlooked by the vast majority of small businesses today and has been since time has been recorded.
Sure, there were people like Rockefeller, Edison, Carnegie, Getty, Ford, Weyerhäuser and dozens of other industry greats who built their authority through their own efforts. They created something new or made dramatic improvements in some area and grew into their authority.
Authority marketing is different from that. To intentionally integrate a marketing strategy with particular tactics to separate one's self from the crowd of competitors has become more of a necessity than it has ever been.
The age of technology in which we live calls for standing out in a sea of sameness. The flood of information today's consumer is inundated with daily would take weeks to impact someone less than thirty years ago. It is estimated that each day, a typical American consumer is bombarded with 5000-7000 messages. Each day. Day in, Day out. It's no wonder why the only way to be noticed is to become an authority on your particular talent, desire, or skill.
Rusty Shelton and Adam Witty, founder of Advantage Media, owner of Forbe's Books and No B.S. Inner Circle wrote the book, Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars of Thought Leadership to Make Competition Irrelevant.
The premise of the work is to illuminate the qualities that are needed to become successful to self-create one's own authority in their market.
Adam's pedigree certainly helped him become a leading expert on the subject. Considering he was named by Inc. magazine's Top 30 Under 30, spoke regularly at EO and YPO and Vistage and other activities that catapulted him to his status, he's an authority
Here's an excerpt from the foreword of his book written by Steve Forbes:
"The value of firmly establishing your authority in your field cannot be overstated. Sharing your unique perspective within your field is one of the most direct and powerful ways to make this happen. It is your vehicle to drive real and lasting change.
Bottom line: people have to know you're there. And this book will show you the way to do it."
The point I am trying to make is written in the last paragraph of that excerpt. Turning conventional wisdom on its head: doing the opposite of the masses. If your goal is to live a mediocre life, continue to do what you are doing. Risk is high in building your authority, but the rewards are plentiful. Be Bold. Go the road less traveled, seek the path that holds the true and correct future for you. After all, you get what you expect.
There are numerous ways to establish authority, and publishing a book (or several) on the subject of your expertise is one. It must be balanced with plenty of noteworthy testimonials, press clippings, a large group of followers, social presence, and a significant online presence overall. Through efforts to gain media attention, marketing to many rather than marketing one-on-one is another.
Establishing authority in your field of expertise is an essential element to break into the affluent market. The great thing about securing a strong position within the group is that trust, once earned, often is transferred by one of wealth to one of their peers. Have your person reach out to my person for an introduction to ____. You'll be able to help them.
I'll get into building influence and establishing authority to enable us to excel.
Kennedy's volumes of marketing tomes all speak of standing head and shoulders above the crowd, become a market of one, so there is no competition in your marketplace. He's taught thousands and thousands of his belief systems. There are scores and scores of successful students now commanding authority in their local, national, and international markets.
No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent is in its third edition (just released in June, '19) speaks of the economics of the affluent market and which rung on the ascension ladder to step. Where there are millions in the upper 5% of the wealth in this nation, not every one of them is genuinely so wealthy that they can make a buying decision on anything without hesitation.
To market to this group, one must be unique in the marketplace, stand so far above the contemporaries that you have the credibility to serve them as they want to be served. That is no easy feat, but it certainly is not impossible, as it happens all the time.
Thomas J Stanley, Ph.D. wrote the very successful book, Marketing to the Affluent in 2004, and speaks volume about the sales side of the transaction when approaching the wealthy. He opens the book with a story of his youth where he and his sister decided to trick-or-treat on Halloween evening in an affluent neighborhood three social classes away. It happened to be one of the wealthiest areas within the New York City boundaries. Large stately homes spaced appropriately on large acreages held no competition of other kids doing what they ventured to do. As a nine-year-old, he came upon a very well-known actor, James Mason, and was told: "no one has ever trick-or-treated me, hit on me, during Halloween." Assuming no other gremlins would call on him, he gave them all the nickels, dimes, quarters and half-dollars he had in the house.
Upon the door of the next home, a sign on the door told callers not to ring the doorbell so as not to upset a sick homeowner. The note also stated that envelopes in the mailbox contained treat packets.
The two "sales calls" amounted to more cash than would have come from 100 homes in their blue-collar neighborhood.
Dr. Stanley used that analogy to validate his research that the wealthy are Not over prospected, over-solicited, are Not constantly hounded by "Buy This Because I Want You to Buy From Me."
Stanley goes on to say that as a sales manager, his efforts were to send the most courageous sales pros to affluent markets where the greatest concentration of high-level income earners resided.
As sales are not marketing, the concept holds true. Magnetic marketing based on having authority in the marketplace makes selling irrelevant when executed correctly.
It's the psychology of understanding the mind of the affluent buyer that makes the difference. Being the expert in your field must be demonstrated by as many means as is necessary. A note of caution: don't size up an individual by the way they look, as they are deceiving. Those with jeans and muddy boots may just own a 1000-acre ranch and love getting close to the horses.
Matt Oechsli' The Art of Selling to the Affluent highlights of winning the hearts and minds of affluent clientele. He begins by examining the differences between the buying habits of the wealthy vs. the average income-earner. When faced with an opportunity to gain something they perceive as valuable, they act on their decisions. They don't consult their financial advisor, they don't run the numbers, inspect the records of previous transactions, they don't ask anyone their opinion. They act on their decisions.
Although never a push-over group, the affluent are more distrustful since the Great Recession, they are still consumers, and they buy what they want.
So make yourself the authority and market to your best clients.
Need some help figuring out your strategy? Give us a call, we'd love to help.