Useful = today’s marketing secret

Youtility, how being useful is today's marketing secretLet’s look at the reality:

  • Fragmented media choices
  • Permission-based media on the rise
  • Ability to filter, skip, ignore irrelevant advertising
  • Nothing beats word of mouth
  • A jaded, cynical consumer
  • Consumers tuning out, taking over and talking loudly about brands

That mountain of challenges is what faces marketers every single day.  So how in the world do we earn their attention, their dollars and even tougher — their loyalty?

Author, consultant and tequila loving Jay Baer believes he has the answer and outlines it in his book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help Not Hype.*  (I have 9 copies to give away — read to the end to find out how you can win!)

Jay’s premise is simple enough. If brands focus on being helpful, consumers will be drawn to them and when they’re ready to buy, that brand will have already earned the consumer’s trust — so they’re more likely to also give you their money.

Jay calls this friend-of-mine awareness (as opposed to top of mind awareness) and argues that in a congested, time starved world – if you want to keep earning market share, you need this level of connection with both customers and prospects.

The book is packed with stories, examples and very pragmatic ideas that any business — big, small, consumer or business focused — can implement.  It’s one of my favorites for 2013 — and a book you should definitely read. (Click here to order it from Amazon*)

I asked Jay a few questions about the book.  Here’s what he had to say:

If you had to describe the content of your book in a single sentence (no run ons) what would it be?  

If you sell something, you make a customer today. If you help someone, you can create a customer for life. 

What one book that you’ve read do you wish you could claim as your own?

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by YoungMe Moon, and anything by Bill Bryson.

In your opinion, what is the one trait that all uber successful business people possess?

A true understanding of customer needs.

What’s the biggest business mistake you’ve ever made and what did you learn from it?

I botched a 1031 real estate exchange eight years ago, costing myself a ton of money. I learned to trust experts that you hire, but always follow up.

Why did you have to write this book?  What truth or insight was missing from the human consciousness — that you’ve now answered?

2 reasons. I wrote their book as a reaction to the landslide of punditry that prescribes “make your company amazing” as a strategic approach. Also, I wanted to give people a thoughtful scaffolding for why and how they should be creating content.

After someone is done reading your book — what do you hope they do as a result?

First, begin to understand how your company can insert itself gracefully into the lives of customers and prospects by being useful. Second (or maybe first), tell 3 friends to buy the book! 

Okay — the book is awesome and you should read it.  And 9 of you will get to read it for free.  Winning a copy is simple.  Leave a comment on this post and I’ll use the randomizer at to pick the lucky readers!


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28 comments on “Useful = today’s marketing secret

  1. Hi Drew,

    I don’t think “Be Helpful” is a mantra unique to our digital age — but it’s definitely become more important in an age where every brand is competing for eyeballs that are no longer all focused in the same place.

    I personally have a soft spot for Netgear (and how often does anyone say that about a company that sell tech hardware) because my router came with start-up free tech support. In other words, the company knew that I wasn’t buying hardware but a solution (wifi).

  2. Adam says:

    Drew, this one has been on my reading list since you first recommended it to me. Thanks for this blog post — it got me thinking about what I need to send out to my tribe!

  3. Jean Baker says:

    To paraphrase the great Zig Ziglar – you best help yourself when you help others. And I believe your rewards in life are in direct proportion to your service – not your sales. When you focus on the service side of the equation, you can’t help but be rewarded.

  4. I love books like this. This kind of reminds me of You Inc. Looks great. Thanks for the insight

  5. Jon says:

    This was my favorite line of the interview: I wrote their book as a reaction to the landslide of punditry that prescribes “make your company amazing” as a strategic approach.

    I guess we can’t just sell Crush It?

  6. Jamey Elliott says:

    Sounds like an interesting book!

  7. Julie Z says:

    I’d love to win a copy! I’m a big fan of Jay’s work and can’t wait to read this one.

  8. Jim says:

    I completely agree that today’s consumer is starved for time and he/she needs to take shortcuts when making buying decisions.

    Being helpful – by providing useful content on your website/blog, or providing proof that your product/service will work for that particular customer builds trust and trust turns prospects into buyers (in my opinion)

  9. Sounds like a great read. I really like this comment,
    “Jay calls this friend-of-mine awareness “, I like doing business with people that I feel that I know.

  10. Douglas Pals says:

    I appreciated the write up and notice about this book. Win or lose, I’ll be reading this book soon. Thanks, Drew.

  11. Looking forward to reading and learning more!

  12. Emily DeVries says:

    Just added this to my reading list, but a free copy would move it straight to the top!

  13. Great points all around. Today consumers demand brands who will help them solve the problems they have. The representatives of those brands must be the subject matter experts, have the heart of a teacher and be willing to take the necessary steps to create customers for life.

  14. I would love to win a copy of this book. Working off a web site, I don’t meet my customers face to face, so developing that customer relationship can be challenging.

  15. JT Cattle says:

    I am just curious as to in today’s society, how underplaying HYPE really works? (maybe I will have to read the book)

  16. Another great post. Helping the customer over selling the customer always makes for a long term customer. I plan to give the book a read and see what I can implement.

  17. Trish Radke says:

    Love the concept of “friend-of-mine” awareness. This article reminded me why I love marketing when it’s genuine!

  18. That reality list at the top really hit the nail on the head! The help versus hype concept is very intriguing.

  19. I love the term “Friend Of Mine Awareness.” Everything Jay writes about makes so much sense. I like to think of the term “social capital” for the value of your network. Recently my agency lost a large account we had had for 20 years. One of my friends, who is a smart marketing guy, told me “your network will take care of you.” And indeed it has. We replaced all the business from the big account and then some. What you put out to the universe truly comes back. Thanks for sharing, Drew. I’d love to have my own copy. 🙂

  20. jeff says:

    excellent one sentence description. I’ve been trying to get that to resonate with our sales team.

  21. Debra Helwig says:

    I’m a great believer in “relationships first” when it comes to a company’s branding/service ethic – and it sounds like this takes that mantra to a whole new level and into the marketing suite. MUST. READ. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  22. Mike Beckman says:

    Being a fellow tequila lover I know he must be good at what he does as well. Look forward to reading this book whether I am “randomized” or not.

  23. Erica E says:

    I like the idea of “friend-of-mine awareness”. I can think of times this has worked for me as the consumer — if you’re out to help me instead of just sell something to me, I’m much more likely to buy from you.

  24. Dina Giovale says:

    I would love to win a copy of Youtility.

  25. Louise Mansergh says:

    Good post Drew, and good to hear from you again. It’s been a while! I heard Jay on Marketing Over Coffee and he talked about how Colombia sportswear have an app about tying knots.

    To Jay this represents Youtility because Colombia are being helpful, rather than salesy. But I do wonder if companies like Colombia see an increase in sales because they’ve invested in creating a helpful app about knots.

    I’d love the read the book to find out more about the impact Youtility has on the bottom line.

  26. Barry Linetsky says:

    Great post Drew. I already had this book in my amazon wish list. Have you read Bob Garfield’s latest – Can’t Buy Me Like? Great book also.

  27. Marcia Martin says:

    I think Baer ‘s comment says it all: “If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you can create a customer for life.”

  28. Very interesting review of this book. As a tax attorney, I really appreciate his one big mistake. I have been involved in Section 1031 like kind exchanges and the devil is definitely in the details. Structuring these deals correctly and documenting them in the proper way are keys to keeping the IRS from invalidating the tax savings. Anyway, I appreciate the points and tips he makes in your post. Thanks for the information and review.

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