Instead of a long build-up where I get you to spend more time reading for better stats, I’ll give you the basic structure right up front.

  1. Find something that someone considers valuable.
  2. Figure out how valuable this something is to that someone.
  3. Understand where that someone spends time and could possibly see this something.
  4. Put the something in front of the someone in a way that connects the dots between the something and the fact that it’s worth the cost to the someone.

If you have marketing experience, you’ll recognize the “4 P’s of Marketing.”

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion

Go Marketing! Yay!

Quick exercise

What was the first “something” that came to your mind?
Was it the product or service your current employer offers?
Was it an idea you’ve been wanting to create to start up a new business?
Was it a service or skill you could offer to others in the form of coaching, teaching, or consulting?

I tried the exercise with Caitlin.
Here’s how it went:

Me: “What is something people consider valuable?”
Her: “Boats.”
Me: “Really?!”
Her: “Yeah!”
Me: “Where would someone spend time looking for boats?”
Her: “A lake!”
Me: …
Her: …
Me: “Okay… What would you charge for the boat?”
Her: “I don’t know but I would sell all kinds of boats at a lake. Cheap canoes and other boats.”
Me: “What would you pay for a boat?”
Her: “A million dollars.”
Me: “Uh… no.”
Her: “I am going to sell boats for a million dollars to people at lakes!”

A few takeaways.

  • Caitlin is adorable.
  • Apparently, she’s in the market for a million-dollar boat.
    Let me stop you now. We are not good for it.
    If you sell boats, please do not contact us with a million-dollar boat offer.
  • You’re welcome if you need a new business idea.
  • You can always count on your spouse to intentionally try and throw a wrench in your thought exercises.

What if the product is not a tangible thing

In Caitlin’s case, the product was something tangible. A boat. But let’s move away from tangible products for a bit. Because products don’t have to be something you hold in your hand (or on a trailer).

Take blackmail as an example. Let’s assume someone is blackmailing you.

  1. They have an email/picture/video that puts you in a compromising position (Product).
  2. They put a price on this information that they think/hope you’ll pay to keep it a secret (Price).
  3. They know your email address (Place).
  4. They send you an email with the other email/picture/video, the price you need to pay to keep it quiet, and the consequences if you do or do not send them the money (Promotion).

Let’s try another where your money isn’t the goal.

  1. There is a video of your favorite political figure tackling the latest political issue in an articulate way (Product).
  2. The video is 10 minutes long and packed with great comebacks if you ever get in an argument with someone who holds the opposite viewpoint (Price).
  3. The creator of the video knows that you spend time on Facebook and, based on Facebook’s tracking of your behavior, knows your political preference. They also know that a friend whose Facebook content you interact with often likes the video (Place).
  4. The video crosses your feed with a charged headline and a automatically starts playing with subtitles and a timer so you know what the video is about, how long it lasts, and you know you and your friend can talk about it later (Promotion).

Every interaction has product.

Yes, even this blog post. Products include things you can hold in your hand, services that take work away from you and put it on someone else, or information.

Every product has a cost. Those costs include time, money, energy, thoughts, and emotions. If you’ve made it this far, thank you. You could have spent that time doing something else. I hope this has been worth it… now… keep reading.

For you to influence others (or be influenced by others), the product and its cost must be placed in front of you in a way for you to make a decision as to whether or not that cost is worth it to you right now or in the future.

So much of the world today is pushing for the instant satisfaction and quick alleviation of pain, worry, emptiness, boredom, embarrassment and lack of pleasure at the cost of your time, attention, and ultimately money.

Buyer’s remorse

We’ve all been there. You bought something that at the time seemed a bit too expensive, but it looked so cool!

You were watching your idol on TV destroying his opponent so effortlessly that it looked like poetry in motion. Simply beautiful.

You envisioned yourself playing against that neighbor kid who keeps dismantling you on the tennis court, and the only possible reason that could be happening is because the equipment you are using isn’t the same as your idol’s.

So, you went and bought the same shoes, socks, shorts, shirt, headband, bag, and tennis racket(s) your idol was using as he destroyed his opponent who happened to play just like this kid.

And then, the next day, all decked out in your matching shoes, socks, shirt, headband, rackets, and bag, you proceeded to get destroyed yet again.

It wasn’t the clothes.

It wasn’t the racket.

But for a brief moment the day before, you were convinced that the $500 price tag on that equipment was worth the future victory you would have over Nathan. Now, you desperately want to return some of that stuff. You don’t even look good in a headband!

We’ve ALL been there… right…?

No?

… Yeah, me neither… I was just speaking in generalities…

Okay, maybe you haven’t tried to look like and somehow magically become Roger Federer in an attempt to try and beat Nathan in tennis, but we’ve all had buyer’s remorse in one form or another. Clothes, cars, houses, jewelry, the list goes on forever.

How about wasted time going down the YouTube black hole of recommended videos that seem to read your mind and keep you distracted for hours? What about the Facebook feed that gets you fired up about Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, Trump, sports, or cute kitties?

“…Must…resist…reading…the comments… What?! No way!”
*Start madly typing away to point out your brother’s grammatical error on his uneducated comment.

Was it worth it?

What’s the point?

Great question. I jumped into this and was hoping to figure it out as I went.

I guess the point is, the resources that you are able to exchange (money, time, energy, etc.) are limited. You only get so much of each.

There are a lot of great products, services, and ideas. There are plenty of worthy causes and beneficial places to put your time, talents, money, and energy.

The world is also ripe with filth, garbage, lies, and scams designed to rob you of your resources and direct you away from the more important things in life.

You know what things cause buyer’s remorse for you personally. You know where they typically find their way into your life. Now you know that us marketers are constantly trying to get you to behave a certain way. Don’t let us use those 4 P’s of marketing to distract you (too much).

The products will always exist, you really can’t change what the population of earth will produce, but you can influence how the other 3 P’s affect you.

You can determine what price you are willing to pay for the transaction.  

You can influence the places where you spend time whether physically or digitally.

And you can acknowledge when the promotion is put in front of you, albeit nearly impossible sometimes to resist.

Don’t let the things that are more valuable to you in the long run be traded for the things that seem temporarily valuable in the moment.

I guess that is all I’m hoping to say (and accomplish myself).

Caitlin said I just unintentionally convinced both of us not to get that pickleball court installed in the back yard… I should’ve never gone down this rabbit hole.

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