Use Preemptive Marketing to Make Customers Think of You First

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” – Bertha Calloway

Preemptive marketing is the single most powerful technique anyone could ever use. Yet almost no one does! The first person in a field who uses it has an incredible advantage over all other competitors. And it’s so simple, it’s almost scary. You simply take the time to explain to your customer or prospect the processes that are inherent to your business.

The classic example, going back to about 1919, is Schlitz beer. Schlitz was number 10 or 15 in its market when a classic strategist named Claude Hopkins (whom I’ve patterned my life after) was called in to try to salvage it.

The first thing Hopkins did was learn how beer is made. He took a course in beer making, and then went through the Schlitz facilities.

The first thing he noticed was that though Schlitz was located right on the banks of one of the Great Lakes – an unlimited water source – they had dug five 4,000-foot artesian wells. “Why?” he asked. They told him it was because they wanted pure water.

Then they told him that the yeast they used to create the right taste was a result of about 2,500 different experiments. And they showed him the room where the experiments had been done. And they showed him five plate-glass rooms where the beer was con¬densed and redistilled and recondensed. And then they showed him the tasters who tasted the beer at five different stages of the brewing process. And they showed him where the bottles were cleaned and recleaned 12 times.

At the end of his tour, Hopkins was incredulous. He said, “My God, why don’t you tell people about the process that your beer goes through?”

And they said, “Well, that’s how beer is made. It’s not just our beer; it’s how all beer is made.”

And he said, “Yes, but the public doesn’t know that.”

Hopkins realized that the first brewer who told the public about the intricate process they went through to make their beer would become identified with it – and would gain a preemptive advantage in the marketplace.

He got Schlitz to number one in about six months. And I’ve done the same thing for a lot of companies.

Tell them the facts. If you sell clothes, they’re stitched 28 times for triple value and then 14 people inspect them. If it’s dyed, it’s dyed four times and the dye comes from Europe … and there’s only one special kind that can be used.

Even if it’s something that every other com¬petitor is doing … if the public doesn’t know anything about it, it sounds like a profound revelation. Just tell them the things you do for them, even if they’re things that you and every other competitor take for granted. The public doesn’t take it for granted, and they’ll think you’re the first to do it for them.

People don’t appreciate what you do for them unless you articulate it. It’s a very delicate thing. If you sort through a hundred representative examples from a hundred manufacturers before you cull out the three brands worth offering to your customers … how will your customers know that unless you inform them of what you’ve done?

If you are innovative in following this advice, you can’t help but succeed.