When you're playing Marketing Ball, the main thing you're doing is communicating. That's at the very heart of marketing. People ask you what you do and you tell them. People want to know more and they read information about your business and services.

Ultimately it's all communication. And if you communicate about your business in the right way, you get attention and interest and prospects moving towards your business. If you communicate in the wrong way, you don't get much attention and interest. So what comes out of your mouth is important!

Now, communication isn't only verbal. The information about your business can be on a web site, in an article, a press release or in a write-up for a talk. Each of these needs to get attention. So you'd think that getting attention would be easy. After all, we've been working on it for thousands of years! But it's not easy and the reason is because of the way we use language.

When someone asks another person, "What do you do?" it seems that people tell you everything except what will get their attention. We ask, "What do you do?" "Do" is an action or a process. So people make the mistake of answering that question. We give people the "do" instead of something else that would really get attention.

Let's look at why that doesn't work too well.

Marketing Syntax

What I discovered is that there is a way of speaking that gets attention and I called that Marketing Syntax. So, first of all, what is syntax? Syntax is the order of things and order creates meaning. Different order, different meaning. It's as simple as that.

So the way I like to illustrate this is with this very simple word, "ART." And ART is something beautiful and attractive and something that is very attention getting, and pleasing. ART. Now, there's a syntax in the word art, and that's the arrangement of the letters in the word A-R-T.

Now, if you take those same three letters, A-R-T, and you scramble them up, you get a couple other words. What are those other words? RAT and TAR. All right. Now, since they have the same letters, they must mean the same thing, right? No, of course not. And why do they mean something different? Because they all have a different order or a different syntax. It's as simple as that. So when you change the syntax, you change the meaning.

Now marketing also has a syntax. There are certain things that you can communicate to someone when they ask what you do and there are various categories of things that you can say. And there's a certain syntax or order of things that if you say them in that order you simply get more attention than if you said them in a different order.

With marketing syntax, the best order of communicating about what you do are the following:

One is the target or ideal clients. The first thing to say when someone asks, "What do you do," is to say, "Here's who I work with. Here's are my ideal clients."

The second part of Marketing Syntax is the client's problem, challenge or concern. So after saying who you work with, you say, "These are the problems, challenges, and concerns they deal with."

The third part is the ultimate outcome that you offer to your clients. When a prospect asks, "How do you help your clients with that problem?" you say, "Here's the outcome, result or solution that I provide."

Finally, the fourth part of marketing Syntax is a story or case study. When your prospect wants to know more, you say, "Here's a story of a client I worked with and the results we got."

Those are the four key elements of Marketing Syntax: Target - Problem - Outcome - Story. When you use those four elements to communicate about what you do, you tend to get a lot more attention and interest than when you don't.

Remember Marketing Ball? We use our marketing message between Home and First Base. Our objective is to get onto first base when we connect with a prospect. We're at a networking meeting and someone asks us what we do. This is when we use our marketing message. And if we say the right thing, we're on first base. What we're going to do here in Part 3 is work in great depth on how to create that attention-getting message.

The Invisible Radio Station

Let's look at how this works. It's all about that famous invisible radio station that's broadcasting 24 hours a day. Do you know what it's called? Radio Station WIIFM - 'What's In It For Me?' Imagine that everyone you communicate with has an invisible antenna on top of their head that is always receiving on the frequency, WIIFM. It's only receiving on that signal.


Therefore, your job as a communicator about your services is to broadcast on that signal. You have to say things that mean something to your prospects and answer the question, "What's in it for me?" when you say what you do. If you talk about your process instead, you lose their attention and interest.

This is where we usually go wrong in communicating about our businesses. We talk too much about our 'Process.' We get into what I call 'process-speak' at the drop of a hat. And as I said before, it has a lot to do with language. People ask us what we do and then we tell them! But that's really not where their interest lies; they're interested in themselves and what it means to them.

Let's look at these steps of marketing syntax with an example. I'll start with a silly one to make a point. Someone asks what you do and you say, "I work with left-handed bowlers from Scandinavia." And if you happen to be talking with a left-handed bowler from Scandinavia, you have their immediate attention!

Then you talk about the problem, not the solution, not the aspiration. "We work with left-handed bowlers who get sore elbows." If I happen to be a left-handed Scandinavian bowler with sore elbows, now you've really got my attention because I'm living with that problem. I can relate to it completely.

And then we talk about the outcome. "We have a special service that guarantees your elbows never get sore again." Now you really have the attention of this Scandinavian bowler. Not only do you work with people like him who have this common problem, you have a solution that can help him solve this problem. You now have his undivided attention.

To review, there are three simple elements of Marketing Syntax: "We work with these kinds of people, with this kind of problem, who want this kind of outcome or solution." And that's your Core Marketing Message. And this message needs to permeate all your marketing communications, whether verbal or written. It needs to be on your web site, in your presentations, in your articles, and in your proposals.

The fourth part of Marketing Syntax is 'Story.' A story is a real example of a client you've worked with. Stories also need to follow Marketing Syntax. You start a story with the target and problem: "I was working with this guy who was a left-handed bowler from Scandinavia and man, his elbows were really hurting. He was getting that 'bowler elbow pain.' And I helped him get rid of that elbow pain and now he's bowling incredible scores, and his elbows don't hurt anymore."

Now, would that interest you if you were a left-handed bowler from Scandinavia with elbow pain? Of course it would. You've communicated with "What's in it for me?" language using a simple story. You've followed Marketing Syntax, but it hasn't been conceptual. It's important that you understand how simple this really is. If you use this language to communicate about your business and services, you will connect with people. You will get their attention and interest. They'll want to know more. It's very, very simple.

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