Marketing Opinion South Africa

The two most important quotes in marketing - Becoming an authority and expert in customers' eyes

I am selling. You are selling. Or you probably want to sell something - now or in the near future. And we want people to buy from us when we sell, obviously. To whom do people give their money? They give their money to those they perceive, believe and accept as experts - or authority - in fields they need help in. They pay these people to solve their problems, wants, frustrations and failures.
The two most important quotes in marketing - Becoming an authority and expert in customers' eyes
© lightfieldstudios via

So then, we should and do want people to think we are an authority – and/or experts – in our given fields.

Maybe by experience and technicality, we are qualified to solve those problems. But people don’t perceive us to be experts or authority. We don’t just want to be the plumber called by the accountant dad when he fails to fix his blocked toilet. We want to be the expert-consulting-plumber who is called by the auditing firm that employs the accountant dad when they investigate the millions wasted in a government housing project. I.e. being the authority.

Given experience and technicality possessed, some (we) still don’t have the confidence that they (we) are experts.

For this post, an expert and an authority will mean the same thing.

Even if the venture is new to us and is an entrepreneurial innovation or insight we’ve concocted, we still might doubt that we deserve to go out and pitch potential customers.

Nonetheless, we still want to break through and this requires us to give an impression that we are experts and an authority. People want our services or products dressed in a sense of authority-ship and expertise so to satisfy, motivate and compel their conscience to give us their money.

Look, not all problems in business need the expertise of twenty years experience. Businesses need innovation to increase productivity, profits and whatever else is of benefit to them – e.g. employee happiness, employee health, company security.’ This is enough to wear that ‘authority’ hat. People need whatever it is that makes them happy or helps them achieve what their hearts desire – on a superior level.

The BIG question is “How do we portray an impression that we are an authority, and/or experts, without having twenty years experience?”

There are many valid tips and advice on how to achieve this.

Below follows what to me are the two most important quotations ever uttered to achieve this sense of being taken as an expert or authority, for people to give us their money.

Being ‘seen as’ is marketing. The kind of marketing that gets us sales. We all want sales.

1. The first essential quote

May her soul rest in peace. She went through a lot in her life, and yet she chose to still be a pillar of strength and liveliness to the world.

I thank Maya Angelou for giving perspective on what moves people more [than deeds]. She said,

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
This is absolutely the one quote cherished by many marketers from all walks of life.

In 2018, Coca-Cola brought it's 2011 ‘Share a Coke’ campaign back. The campaign is about writing people’s names on Coke cans.

How 'brand you' came to be
How 'brand you' came to be

  22 Feb 2018

In 2015 it was estimated that the campaign increased Coke sales by 7% among young adults in Australia, and by 2% in the USA.

The campaign is a success because it leaves people feeling something good about their self. The feeling of seeing your name – even a Pedi or Zulu name – on a Coke can is good and you want to achieve it by buying the Coke.

Brian Solis summed up such a scenario nicely by saying: “If we spent less time ‘talking’ about our brand and brand promise and more time designing how we bring it to life, the experience divide would naturally narrow.”

Coca-Cola designed just that through the Share a Coke campaign.

Humans are selfish emotional beings. They adopt a thing that makes them feel good. A self-fulfilling truth.

A lot of people don’t necessarily wear Gucci for the designs. They wear it for how it makes them feel. They wear it for the lie it tells them about themselves, and the supposed lie it tells about them to others (even if people don’t believe the lie). The lie is that they are a success.

In our marketing campaigns or business pitches, we should leave our prospects (e.g. audience, potential clients) feeling something that will work to our advantage in getting their business.

Another way to address this is, as Seth Godin said and wrote in his book, Marketers are Liars. Meaning they don’t tell a direct lie, they take or create a moving story (‘but people will never forget how you made them feel’) and attach their product.

The best lie, sorry I mean story, going on in South Africa is about Rooibos and moringa. Scientifically they are proven to be good for people’s health. A lot of product creators now attach or add ‘rooibos’ or ‘moringa’ to their products. The products sell on the sentiment/story that ‘rooibos’ and ‘moringa’ have health benefits.

They create different rooibos infused products. E.g. there are separate teas for apparently cleansing the bladder, kidneys and the colon. These products sell in thousands. I doubt the products have been tested to conclude that mixing moringa and rooibos in them achieves the health benefits these herbs achieve. Merely mentioned that you’ve fused them in is a sales point.

It makes people feel good that they are drinking something healthy.

Framework questions to achieve this

  1. How do I create the feeling Maya talked about through stories? (e.g. ads, broadcasting testimonials, activations)
  2. How do I build the feeling into the product like Share a Coke?
  3. How do I add marketing innovations like fusing rooibos and moringa into products?

This is how to deliver a brand story or promise. For us is to keep conceptualising and brainstorming ways of achieving the above.

The following quote is maybe the best way to make your prospective clients/audiences feel in order to get business from them.

2. The second essential quote in marketing

I heard this quote from the famous pickup artist, hypnotist and teacher, Mr Ross Jeffries:

You want to establish that you are an authority in the world of the other person. People will not accept that you are an authority on where they should go or what they should do unless they first accept that you are an authority or an expert on where they are at. If you want people to accept that you are an authority on where they should go, you must first demonstrate that you understand where they are at.
He further adds, “ never sell a product, you always sell wants, needs, and most importantly feelings, and trust and desires.”

In the same workshop where he says the above, he further adds – I paraphrase: “The skill – the ability – to see and understand where the other person is at without having to go there for yourself is a profoundly powerful ability.”

In the Bible Moses demonstrated to the children of Israel that he was the authority to take them to the Promised Land in several ways:

  • For the lives of Israel’s first-born children to be spared, when the plague was to kill every first-born in Egypt, Moses acting on God’s instructions, asked the Israelites to splash blood of a slaughtered lamb on their doors. And the lives of their first-borns were spared. It is called The Passover.
  • He made the heavens rain with manna when they were hungry and desperate and in a corner. He provided food for them in that threatening situation.
  • He opened the Red Sea for them to cross when Pharaoh’s army was fast approaching.

Moses demonstrated he was an authority on where they were by saving them in the now. There was distrust at certain points, but he came through for them, with miracles. Hence they trusted him with taking them to the Promised Land – where they wanted to be, and they walked along with him.

Do a quick audit of the people who trust and confide in you. You hold their confidence because to them, ‘you get them.’ You are an authority in where they are and seemingly an authority on where they want to go. Others do not get them hence you are their confidant.

To them, you aren’t judgemental. It doesn’t mean internally you do not judge. It means you are able to hold your reservations and listen first.

Psychologists have said kids do not confide in parents who are quick to reprimand and not listen.

Even with me, the people I am easy to confide in are those who aren’t quick to give advice but listen first. If they get where I am, they will get where I want to go. Or maybe I am lying to myself. But Seth Godin said it in Marketers are Liars. Marketers give people the impression or story (we are marketers). They, in turn, take that story or impression, own it and lie to themselves.

To get clients and make them believe we are an authority, we must understand where they are and where they want to go, and make an impression that we understand. And link our products to where it is they want to go.

So, when you market your product, highlight their problems, feelings, frustrations and fears. You can:

  • If your product allows, give them a sample of your product that solves some of their problems, feelings, frustrations and fears. Software companies do this. Grammarly, the grammar app, gives free but limited use of their app. If they can achieve helping someone lesson some of their grammar shortcomings, then that person will trust them to solve the remaining portions of their problems – i.e. paying them this time. Then slowly surely they will work on signing up that person to become a paying user – throwing all sorts of incentives, more resources and discounts. Some call this a marketing funnel.
  • If not or in addition, do like Coca-Cola with their Share a Coke campaign, or adding ‘Rooibos’ in your product. Build an emotional reward in your product.
  • Collect testimonies from the users of your product and share the stories. The stories should match where more prospects are emotional, i.e. their Problems, Feelings, Frustrations and Failures/Fears. Insurance companies do this well. But as marketing is competitive, the aim is to create stronger and stronger campaigns. It does not stop.

  • If you don’t have testimonials, frame a story. Marketers are liars – but not liars. Frame a story that makes you look like you are the person to solve their problems. Sell yourself as though you know and understand their Problems, Feelings, Frustrations and Failures/Fears, and thus you are the best person to package solutions for them. do this until you get testimonies and then fuse them in the marketing.

Marketing is a never-ending road. We keep learning, conceiving and testing.

About Tiisetso Maloma

Author of 'The Anxious Entrepreneur,' 'Township Biz Fastrack' and 2 other business books. Creator of EBC Business Model and Business Me Young. Contributor to outlets such Biz Community and Huffington Post. Parallel entrepreneur for over 10 years. Consultant, writer and speaker on entrepreneurship, marketing, publishing and development economics.
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