Perry Marshall is well known for his best-selling book “The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords” (now in its 3rd Edition) as well as his many AdWords courses and coaching programs. Through his work, Entrepreneur Magazine says “He has helped over 100,000 advertisers save literally billions of dollars in AdWords stupidity tax.”
But if you only pay attention to Perry when it comes to AdWords, you’re missing the boat. From copywriting to conversions to email autoresponders and much more, Perry has proven himself to be one of the most astute direct marketers and business strategists, online or offline, around today.
In this interview Perry talks about his recently released “Marketing DNA test.” This tool is used to assess your natural persuasion and communication style.
Why is this important?
Well, the short version is it tells you which marketing/sales activities you should focus your time on, helps you build the perfect sales and marketing team for your business and can even help you fix your marriage.
How did the idea of Marketing DNA and this test first come to you? And with all you’ve got on your plate…running masterminds, creating courses/info products, writing books, endeavors outside the marketing world…why was it important to you to spend the time and resources to
create this tool?
The Marketing DNA Test was born out of my own painful discoveries of building a team: That 5 musicians does not a band make. Especially when four of them are bass players! In marketing, you get teams of four bass players a lot because bass players hang around with each other and understand each other. The person you most need on your team is not necessarily someone you “click” with. But that person can take you to the next level.
Back in 2005 one person could be the webmaster, copywriter, pay per click manager, fulfillment center, graphic designer and CEO. Seriously, there were a lot of one-man bands or one man with two support staff. One lone ranger wears all the marketing hats and tries to be good at everything.
Well that worked for awhile. But it’s not happening anymore, because the whole world is now on the Internet and competition is as thick as thieves.
Today, any one person can realistically expect to build only part of the marketing engine. Going from stranger to customer in one step is rarer and rarer. Sales funnels are very complex. Customer behavior is complex. The demand for specialized skills is great. And if you don’t have a good way to accurately judge your team members, you’ve got a big problem.
I was impressed at how well the Kolbe test judges peoples’ work style – starter vs. finisher, fact finder vs. improvisor. I felt very strongly that the marketing world needed something like that. But instead of measuring how people do work in general, I wanted to measure how people naturally persuade and communicate.
Another reason for creating the test was my early struggles as a sales person. As a traditional live face to face sales person, I’m mediocre at best. As a writer and traffic strategist and spokesman, I’m a formidable opponent. Could we create a test that actually tells you exactly what TYPE of sales person or marketer someone is?
I suspected it might be possible. So I embarked on creating the Marketing DNA Test.
There are so many different styles and modes that different people use to sell. For example:
-Organizing and analyzing data in AdWords or Google Analytics
-Writing copy, sending letters and emails
-Connecting emotionally with followers in Social Media
-Creating attention-grabbing graphics, videos and designs
-Selling from the stage and provoking people to run to the product table and buy
-Consultatively leading a customer through a complex decision process
-Meticulously editing an infomercial or pre-recorded webinar
-Creating a new offer that impresses a customer because he’s never seen anything like it before
-High-wire, hostage-negotiation style conference-room battles over pricing and features and terms
-Methodically following a carefully engineered presentation script
Do you see how different all these things are? Most of us do one or two of these things well – and we SUCK at the rest of them. And the irony is, every single product launch that comes by and every seminar we go to GUILTS us into thinking that we MUST get better at a bunch of stuff that we hate doing! That’s a prison. People need to bust out of it. Even people who are not salesmen or marketers have their own innate selling style. And they need to find out what it is.
I spent a year building the DNA Test (I naively thought it would be pretty simple and I’d finish it in a month or two, easy 🙂 exhaustively testing it on hundreds of people and building complex algorithms. But once it was done, we had something where one third of the people who take it say “it NAILED me” and the rest say “it’s very, very close.”
It tells you how suitable you are for every one of the above sales tasks, and more. It says, “Here’s what where you shine. Pour your energy into getting better and better at THAT, because you’ll earn compound interest on your gifts. Then team up with others who are good at what you hate. Because there are people who really do love what you hate and here’s a test you can give them to find out what they’re good at.
My experience is, the Marketing DNA Test sizes up a person more accurately in 15 minutes than an hour-long conversation with that same person. In fact at Roundtable meetings, which is my $16,000 per year coaching group, the test invariably comes up. The larger someone’s staff is, the more critical this information becomes.
I also built a follow-up email sequence that is so unique, only one person in 10,000 will get the same recommendations you get. I am talking to test takers VERY specifically about what they’re wired to do. I tell them:
-Alchemists (creators) need Producers (system followers)
-Live Performers need Recorders and Editors
-Visual communicators need Wordsmiths
-Empathetic people need Analytics
…and vise versa.
When you honor all those ingredients and re-shuffle the responsibilities of your various team members according to their giftings, you go from having a team that strains and struggles to get stuff out the door, to a team that kicks ass. And we can all use more of that.
Most people have probably given little, if any, thought to their natural persuasion/communication style. Are there reasons, aside from outsourcing/building a staff, why it’s important that an individual understand how they naturally persuade/communicate (including, as you mentioned, people who are not salesmen or marketers)?
When I was about 25 I went to a retreat my church organized about giftedness. They had licensed material from another organization and it was actually extraordinarily good. We went through a series of exercises and I came away with a notebook of specific observations about what I do and most importantly how I do it.
At the time I was struggling with all my might to succeed as a young “Network Marketing” guy. I remember at the end of the retreat, I walked to my car, slid a motivational tape into my radio, and said to myself, “All that giftedness stuff is great, but I’m gonna Go Diamond if it’s the last thing I do.”
I put the giftedness notebook on a shelf and forgot about it. Until about two years later. I was STILL getting nowhere in my side business, plus my new career in sales was floundering, I had a baby at home, I was up to my eyeballs in debt, my credit cards were maxxed out and I was about to lose my job.
I was in such pain and desperation, I decided to dust off that notebook. This time I paid close attention and thoughtfully wrote a set of parameters that my next job HAD to fit before I would accept it. Which was especially scary considering how desperate I was, but I knew if I didn’t start paying attention to my real talent zones, I was gonna have a financial collapse and maybe a nervous breakdown.
Well I don’t think that’s real unusual. Not only do most people ignore their giftedness, many times we actively defy it. I know I did. We try to be someone we’re not, we try to imitate people we admire, we don’t understand ourselves.
When you’re a regular guy with a regular job, you pay for that mistake. When you’re an entrepreneur, though, you pay double or triple. On the other hand, when you really understand your giftedness zones – and engineer your life to harness as many of your innate talents at the same time as you can – you start earning compound interest on everything you do.
Paying attention to this stuff is not navel gazing, it’s not narcissistic, and it’s not selfish. It’s absolutely essential to success. KNOW THYSELF. Most of the people you admire – whether they’re leaders in your own life, or musicians or actors or billionaires – really suck at most of the things you do NOT see them doing. So they’ve eliminated a huge list of things they COULD do and focused 1% to a level of perfection. That’s the part you see and that’s why they’re so great.
If I’d taken the Marketing DNA test before I accepted my first sales job, I would have eliminated at least half the pain and suffering. If I can save just one person from the misery I endured it’s worth the effort it took to put it together.
Going back to the team building aspect of Marketing DNA…is there a magic formula of persuasion and communication styles that a marketing/sales team should ideally have or does this vary based on the specific business, its goals and/or other factors?
The wildcard, the x-factor, is the Alchemists. Alchemists are the people who drive marketing ideas forward. If you don’t have an alchemist on board, you probably struggle with your Unique Selling Proposition.
Alchemists also tend to be erratic. It’s not unusual for us to have trouble finishing things and to badly need “Producers” – people who are methodical and systems driven. Businesses need two things – 1) fresh input with new ideas, and 2) stability and predictability. These two factors are ALWAYS in tension with each other. You have to not just tolerate that tension but celebrate it.
You’ve spent a lot of time developing the Marketing DNA test, 1000s of people have taken it…what are the most surprising things you’ve learned from the results so far?
Yes, thousands of people have taken it and the number is growing every day. My first epiphany was discovering a category of people that we call “Chameleons.” Chameleons are people with scores similar to 5555 where every number is in the middle. They are very flexible and can go in a lot of directions. They don’t respond to situations based on their gifts, but based on the situation itself. They mediate eccentric team members. It’s been really interesting to see how accurate the tool is at predicting team behavior.
My first big surprise was introducing this at our Consulting Seminar, and seeing the outpouring of enthusiasm for this tool in the event. Literally the #1 comment about the seminar was, people wished we’d organized even more networking based on the tool. You can predict how people are going to behave very accurately and it’s great for screening collaborators and employees.
A funny moment was, I have some good friends, a husband and wife who both took the test. The test accurately pinpointed that he’s an Alchemist who doesn’t like to have to explain what he does to other people, and his wife is a producer who wants to know everything in advance. That is the very thing they fight most about!
I had no idea that this would turn into a “fix your marriage” tool too :^>
What’s your Marketing DNA? Go to MarketingDNATest.com to find out.