Louis Grenier 00:00
Something else that people ask me a lot is how do I find my voice? How do I find a voice that is different from anyone else? Here’s the answer. You don’t thrive to have your own voice or have a distinct voice. You just put stuff out there, see what sticks. See what you feel is like you see what people remember and just double down on that. That’s how you find a voice.
Alastair McDermott 00:26
Hello, and welcome to Marketing for Consultants. This is the podcast that helps independent consultants and subject matter experts to get more clients without having to beg for referrals or make soul-destroying cold calls. I’m your host, Alastair McDermott. Before we get any further, let me give you fair warning. This episode is tied with the explicit tag. You have been warned. Today, my guest is Louis Grenier. Louie is the French guy behind the podcast “Everyone Hates Marketers.” Louie fights, marketing bullshit, with radical differentiation, helping you to radically stand out without being sleazy. He has an eight week high intensity workshop called “Stand the Fuck Out” which is for risk takers who wants to make their product or service radically stand out and you can find out more about that in the show notes. Louis, your brand is everyone hates marketers, and you were fighting this marketing bullshit. Th at sounds like a passionate mission that you have. Can you talk about where that came from?
Louis Grenier 01:22
Yeah, it’s easy to look back into stuff and have this kind of survivorship bias, you know, where you kind of summarise things or tell a story that is not actually the truth. So first of all, I didn’t come up with the name and run as marketers myself, I asked around on a Slack channel, I had the concept I knew one of the budget to do but someone else’s called Cassandra actually, she came up with that name, and I fucking loved it. And I took the risk because at the time I took, that was a risk to come up with a name like that, I could have just not do that. And we can talk about how it’s so important to take risks like that in when it comes to differentiating yourself. But to go back to your question, the very start of it started when I was getting very pissed off at what was going on in the marketing world when I started there. So I started to work in the startup And we were trying to do like anything under the sun to try to get clients. So I remember buying these Twitter software that would automatically follow and unfollow people, I remember trying to do some blackhat SEO to get rankings. And it just didn’t feel like me. And I felt I was surrounded with people who just did that. And to me that wasn’t marketing, marketing was, to me a way to help people solve their biggest problems to sell products that are actually fucking good. And they’re looking forward to using them. So that’s when it started. But I never really had anything concrete just an annoyance that I felt I was the only one feeling this way. So then when I quit the startup and created my own agency, that’s when I started to write about it a bit more. And again, to my point earlier about exposing things to people like it’s only gets real when people see it. That’s when I started to talk about the light side of marketing versus the dark side of market. So again, it sounds very bad right now. But that’s that was the view 1, right? And I started to get that. And I started to get a few people like who liked it a bit, but clearly nothing crazy. And it’s after that then I started to talk to people organise a conference, a small, small event in the Dublin Chamber of Commerce where I interviewed the CEO that I realised people like my interview style, realised that they like my kind of honest approach and no bullshit that I realised “Yeah, I could do something with that.” And so you see, the point here is that it didn’t come up to me like a fucking aha moment like God is talking to me and whatnot, two years in the making to have this annoyance in my head and then putting it out and getting feedback and understanding what stuck and what didn’t. And the result of it was “Everyone Hates Marketers” podcasts. And I can tell you man to joy I felt when I interviewed those people who I admired, who basically told me what I was thinking, who basically said the same thing. We said like yeah, I fucking hate it as well. And that was solely berating. And that’s when I ended. So yeah, it’s not only me, you know.
Alastair McDermott 04:00
Yeah, just people running these Twitter auto follows. And this LinkedIn automation and all this kind of stuff. And you know, they know what’s wrong. But they’re struggling to find that other way.
Louis Grenier 04:10
Yep. And I don’t blame them. So here’s a key lesson on this. So marketing bullshit is not something I just said, I’m going to nail that I’m going to create those two words. First of all, let’s not I don’t own it, other people can use it. And other people have used it before. I realised that people liked that when people came back to me with emails and tweets and saying, I like the podcast. I like how you’re no bullshit approach and so I kept hearing that over and reverse, that’s when I reuse that more and more. And that’s what I knew that stuck because people mentioned that over and over again. So then I use that more and more. So the noble shade thing is just bullshit is a way to frame things and put things into a box so that I can explain to people very quickly this is why you feel pain right now, this is why you struggle as a marketer. You struggle as a marketer, because you’re under pressure from your boss, you need to reach objectives, you struggle as a marketer, because the clutter is everywhere, and this so much noise, so difficult to differentiate yourself. You struggle as a marketer, because experts will tell you, you need to differentiate yourself and all of that bullshit, but never tell you how to actually do it, you know. And so you see, I can explain it very fast now because of practice, and practice and practice. So I put all that into a box and name it. This is why you have to do this. And I don’t blame you. But there is a better way. So that’s how I summarise it now. But I would not have been able to summarise it this way without just shipping stuff and putting something out there for years.
Alastair McDermott 05:28
Yeah, yeah. And learning over time and evolving and changing the way that you describe to somebody and testing to this wording work. And,
Louis Grenier 05:35
Alastair McDermott 05:36
Louis Grenier 05:36
Sorry. I’m anticipating maybe a question there. But something else that people ask me a lot is how do I find my voice? How do I find a voice that is different from anyone else? Here’s the answer. You don’t thrive to create to have your own voice or have a distinct voice. You just put stuff out there, see what sticks. See what you feel is like you see what people remember and just double down on that. That’s how you find a voice.
Alastair McDermott 05:58
It comes back to shipping. Just ship it.
Louis Grenier 06:00
Alastair McDermott 06:02
And “Just Ship It” is the name of a small booklet that Seth Godin produced a few years ago, which I recommend that people check out a link in the show notes. And that brings me to Seth Godin, which is how did you get this Messiah of marketing? How did you get him on your podcast?
Louis Grenier 06:19
I got lucky. I mean, again, it’s easy to look back and think, you know, it’s because I have such a good positioning. It’s such a good message and obviously couldn’t help attain it. So yes, I think I got lucky. I emailed him at the right time. Perhaps he was in a good mood that day. I only got started with the podcast. I think I got lucky. The first time I got him. I prepared enough of the first interview to have, I think a good hook that became the most listened, most viewed interview on the podcast. And it still is today. And I got lucky there as well. I mean, I could have come up with any other questions, but I just felt like yeah, I asked him this. And we have some sort of good relationship. Now. I mean, we exchanged emails once every six months. One liners like there’s nothing fucking fancy. So I managed to get him the second time because he likes me now. I got lucky. So yeah, that’s the truth and honest truth. The other part, which I think works, is the fact that everyone hates marketers as being a radically different podcast, marketing podcast on purpose from the start. And I think he really liked the positioning of it.
Alastair McDermott 07:22
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Louis Grenier 07:24
Alastair McDermott 07:25
Yeah, I want to just mention two things on that. First of all, the look part. I know, I think it’s, um, Dorie Clark. And I’ll check that but Dorie Clark, who is a consultant and pretty well known blogger, writer, she started writing for HBr. And she got, she got guest writing for HBr, because she was selling her bicycle in New York City. And she sold it to a journalist from HBr. And that’s how she got to guest right for them. And if that hadn’t happened, if this kind of just this, this pure look. And so people say, Well, how do you? How do you get guest posting with HBr? Well, you can’t have a bicycle, he got to live in New York, you know. So I think that look is just one of these things we, we can’t really manufacture luck, but we can put ourselves in the place that we can take advantage of it. If opportunity comes across our desk, we can take it, I think it’s important to, to prepare in position for us.
Louis Grenier 08:17
Alastair McDermott 08:17
And not just say, Oh, you know, that was lucky, because it wasn’t just luck, like for example, like, like, you talked about your branding. Seth Godin wouldn’t have gone on that podcast, if it wasn’t called Everyone Hates Marketers, because that must have piqued his interest, you know? So,
Louis Grenier 08:32
Yes. Now that and that’s a good pointer on serendipity. Right? It’s, I think it’s about things that we can control. Like the stories we say, you know, you need to focus on things you can control every day, and the only thing you can control is your brain and what you do with it, right? So again, goes back to putting stuff out there and seeing what sticks. So the more decisions, the more actions you take every day, the more things will happen out of the blue, you know, that’s exactly right. So, I think that’s the point of those survivorship bias type case studies where forget that yeah, it’s it’s,
Alastair McDermott 09:02
Louis Grenier 09:02
You need to mention that it’s just luck and and you’re working for years, and then something happens one day and
Alastair McDermott 09:08
But taking advantage of the luck comes from the preparation and having shipped and failed and shipped and failed
Louis Grenier 09:15
Yeah, exactly. But another thing you can control and that you must absolutely take and maybe we can talk about that when when you want to run positioning is to take some fucking risk. And by taking some fucking risk, I mean, not asking too many people around you “do you think it’s a good idea?” Not asking for too much feedback, not doubting yourself coming, coming at it from a place of confidence and say, “You know what, like, life is short on this fucking planet. Let’s just try something that is a bit different. Let’s see if that’s the case if it doesn’t, does it?” And you know, if I had listened to my guts, telling me, maybe you shouldn’t do it if I had listened to my butterfly, in my stomach. If I had listened to a few people who said it wasn’t it wasn’t a good idea. I would have not fucking shifted. I would have diluted the message I wouldn’t have carried on the podcast, I would have picked a brand name on the app probably Seth Godin will just ignore the email. So I think it goes back to that. That’s one of the key key principle, if you truly want to differentiate yourself, is to remove those self limiting beliefs that makes you think I need to do average things. For average people like Seth Godin would say, I need to just dilute my message, I need to do all things for all people. Now you need to fucking take some risks, say no to a lot of things. Try something new. follow your gut, you know, and I know it sounds a bit like a cliche. But if you’ve shipped stuff before, we’re about to ship stuff before you know what I mean. Like this, this butterfly in your stomach this, I’m not too sure if I should send that you should say if you feel this way.
Alastair McDermott 10:47
So radical differentiation to you fighting marketing bullshit is taking risk, obsessing over a specific group of people, knowing them well earning their trust, creating products and services for them that are genuinely different. That’s that’s how you summarise it. Right?
Louis Grenier 11:03
Yep. So that was coined by by Martin Neumeier, who wrote the book, “The Brand Gap,” and “Zag”, very, very famous, like brands, creative guy. So he came up, he coined the term radical differentiation. And so here’s what happened a few months ago, a few years ago, I after, after doing a lot of interviews on the podcast on how to play marketing bullshit, I was starting to think okay, but how do I summarise all of that into something like how do I basically make sense of all of this conversation, make sense of my own experience? And basically tell them, “Yes, we’re fighting this marketing bullshit. And this is how we do it.” Right? This is how we do it was missing a bit. I was getting, obviously, there was a lot of advice given a podcast, but there was no overall theme. So I worked hard on that. I printed out all of the episodes. So I got in touch with a printing company, and I just printed the all of the transcripts, that’s just 20 episodes. And you see all the post it notes, if you’re listening to the podcast audio, it’s basically a big booklet with all post it notes everywhere. So a few months ago, I digested everything,
Alastair McDermott 12:07
Hundreds of post it notes,
Louis Grenier 12:08
Alastair McDermott 12:08
On a two inch thick a4. Yeah, that’s a lot of notes. Okay, you went through everything
Louis Grenier 12:14
And my own experience as well. I even I took I remember, like, I took a blank document and just put everything that I had in my head as well in terms of like, just free flow writing, make sense of it. And the more I was reading books as well that were recommended by guests. And the more I was going back to my own experience, I realised what actually what I fucking love doing is this, I fucking love taking some risk, I fucking love shipping, something that I know is different. I love looking at the norm, and trying to find ways to play with it, I love to look at our category, like podcasts, and just fucking do something different that people will love. I don’t like doing all things for everyone. I like to focus on a group of people that are very much that I love. And so that started to make sense in my head and the congruence has started to happen. Like what I really what gives me the most energy, what people see in me, like at hajah, when I was working there in terms of the my positioning work for them, the side project, the episodes, I loved recording the most the episodes that are the most popular, all of it starts to like, you know, create and that made sense to me. Finally, I was like, okay, radically foundation is basically exactly what I fucking love. But I guess the most energised by, and it’s simply quote unquote, “simply the science really, of creating something that a few people would absolutely fucking love using your customers using your market and using the category that you’re in the what is being done to your advantage to do something that is genuinely different.” So you can’t create something that is radically different, you can’t have a radically different marketing without a radically different product, right? That’s the first that’s kind of the key ingredient. I didn’t want to become this guy who would help companies to radically differentiate, but just the message path. Now you need both, you need a good fucking product that a few people fucking love, and the marketing that goes with it, right? You can’t have one or the other just impossible. Like the good old four Ps of Marketing, include product increase price includes promotion includes place. That’s what I mean, right? So you can see I get fired up, and I talk fast. And please get me but this is it. This is the way if you want to launch anything now, with a culture that is online. The only way if you want to have some sort of decent chance to fucking be noticed is to be radically different. And then once you are and once everything works fine, it’s not as important that at the start is very much important. So if you’re solo consultants, it’s critical.
Alastair McDermott 14:43
So let’s talk about you’ve already spoken about taking some risk. Let’s talk about obsessing over a specific group of people. So how specific do you need to get and one thing that I’ve discovered is is important at least I think it’s important is that the, the specific group of people that they congregate somewhere, and that they also have a label that describes them? Because like, for example, you could say, let’s say we help b2b professional service providers, that describes a specific type of business. But those b2b professional service providers don’t call themselves that. So what is it? What’s a good, a good way to find your specific group of people that you want to help? And how does that work?
Louis Grenier 15:34
Yeah, it’s a good point. So especially in b2b, right? Like, if you’re listening to this right now, you’re very likely to be in b2b. So I’ll stick to that. You need you need to make a list, what I like to do is you make a list of things it is you make a list of all your past customers and people you worked with projects you’ve been involved in, and you rank them by joy, how much you’ve enjoyed working with them, how much you enjoy your relationship, rank them by access, whether or not you have actually newsletter, subscribers, whether you have a podcast with people like that, whether you know, people in the industry or not, so joy, access profitability, in terms of money, but not only in terms of time spent on profits, a lot of people will tell you, you need to rank your customers based on how much you make out of them and that’s horseshit. This is why I talk about profitability, which is slightly different. You want to know, whether it’s a net kind of profit for you to work with them? Are they draining your energy? Are they not? Are they bringing you a lot of money? Are they not? Are they draining your energy? By asking you questions very well, all the time? Are they not? So joy, access profitability, and then pain. There is this, this guy interviewed called Perry Marshall on the podcast, he talks about the 80-20 rule and he mentioned this, one thing to do is, do they also have a bleeding neck problem? Meaning, are they absolutely in fucking need of your service? Like, is it absolutely a necessity for them? To buy from you, right? And I believe in this kind of semi-scientific method of like, looking past all of the stuff you’ve been involved in clients, but also projects, even side projects, you want to look like a detective at your past self, and see traces of all of this. And for me, that’s exactly what I’ve done. Looking at the episodes, I realised that the ones I enjoyed the most were the ones about the foundations in positioning, I realised that the project I enjoyed the most was positioning, I realised that the reason why I love the podcast so much is because positioning taking stuff from risk. And when you start looking back, you’re like, shit, this is the market I want to go after. So the answer to how what is the market that you need to get this is it needs to be the smallest possible to sustain you. The big mistake that consultants make in general, and we’re very, very bad at this ourselves, but we give the advice to others is to have, you know, select your minimum viable audience, the minimum viable market, the smallest audience that can sustain you, that is congruent, as you mentioned, right? So you need to have something that unites them, they need to have a place where the Hangout online, is there online conferences for them. Is there a podcast for them? Is there a newsletter for them? Is there software solutions only for them? Chances are that if someone else is already making money from the segment, you can as well. So you need this congruence. And exactly as you said, if it’s too wide, you’re fucked. And I know it’s easy to say, rather than do it, because you have a self limiting belief right now, which is what if, you know, a customer, a potential customer comes to me and they are not, you know, in that segment, I’m gonna have to say no to them, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna lose money, you know, and when if my brain becomes 50% of its size, because I only focus on a tiny portion, and all of that. So the way to think about it is doing the opposite is to, is to think, what are you going to miss out on by not focusing on specific segment, you’re going to miss out on credibility and expertise, because you’re going to not going to be able to focus on on one particular audience, you’re going to drift apart very much like when you have massive pain in your in your teeth, you don’t go see your GP you go see a dentist. So you are going to miss out on more money, because people perceive expertise and people specialising to be to know their stuff. So you can ask for more money. You’re gonna miss out on relationships with folks who do stuff that are complimentary to yours. If you’re just a b2b marketing consultant that do all things for all people, you can’t really partner up with a paid ad specialist because you also do pay that you can’t really do social media because you know, so those are all the benefits of thinking. What are you going to miss out on by not specialising and by not going after this segment
Alastair McDermott 19:56
I love the reverse? Because Yeah, most Most people are concerned about is this fear of missing opportunity, but by niching down? And actually what you’re saying is you’re saying it’s actually the opposite. You’re missing out on all of this great stuff. By by not niching down, so yeah, fantastic. Exactly. Okay, so we’re obsessing over a specific group of people, do they need to? Like, do they need to have a title? Like, do they need to be somebody like dentists or hairdressers? Or e commerce website owners? Does it need to be a label like that on them? Or can it be a group of people who are similar but don’t have a label?
Louis Grenier 20:37
Yeah, it’s a difficult thing. Because I think in b2b in particular, we obsess over demographics and demographics as a way to to create a segment. And I don’t necessarily believe in it, I think, yes, you need to have some ways you need to be able to have a name for them that they recognise. But most of the time, you can, you can get pretty close with a job to be done once or need some time, a segment is just people who want to do X. And the way I like to think about it is this way, when you identify those customers, based on the criteria I gave you, you must talk to them directly interview them and try to understand their pains before buying from you like the journey that they took all the way to choosing you what was their pain, what was in their head. And instead of thinking, Okay, who are they in whether their job title and whatnot, let’s think about first the job, the ones that they like, the problem that they seek to solve by going for you with you. And then once you have that, you can think about Okay, now, who are the people who are more likely suffering from that the most were more likely who want that the most who need that the most. So you flip it on its head. And so that allows you to really focus on your customers for the right reason, because no one buys a solution, because they are a marketing consultant. They buy a solution because they want to, you know, get a better, I don’t know, fucking invoicing, because they are scared of the tax the tax here or you know, so by flipping like that, I prefer to think about it this way. And yes, sometimes you find out that it turns out 80% of the people who want that, actually copywriters, so perfect you go after your segment are mostly copywriters want to do that, but not the other way around. Does that make sense?
Alastair McDermott 22:20
Yeah, absolutely. So you’re looking at, first, what the problem is, and then working backwards from that.
Louis Grenier 22:27
Yeah, what I like to ask myself is a few questions. So once you understand once you make a list of people, once you talk to them, you’re going to have a very good idea of the pain that they’re feeling. And you’re going to start seeing some patterns emerging. And just give you an example of a student who took took part of my, of my programme on on differentiation. They wanted to create this course, for people who wanted to become UX designers. Right? They followed so that was the idea. They wanted to create a cool for people who wanted to become UX designers, huge fucking market way too big, you can’t compete on that. It’s way too many courses that are way more established. So they interviewed people realised, actually the ones who really wanted to be community designers more than the others, the ones who had money, the ones who had they had access to and all of that were actually graphic designers. Very interesting portion. They were interesting, because they were the ones who suffer the most from the lack of data inside the organisation. They were sick of designing without knowing whether or not if we work, and so they were very fucking eager to move on to UX designer position. And the guy called deja vu, another French guy. He was absolutely gobsmacked at the pattern. Every time we talked to a graphic designer, he could almost guess what they would say. Like, that’s just that’s the type of things you need. Once you talk to enough people who fit in the same description, and you’ve you can almost answer without, you know, before they answer, you know, you have enough knowledge of that segment to fucking go for it. So that’s just a tiny example. Just another one briefly, for me on the podcast. The reason people listen to this podcast is because they are all people who want to I will seek a marketing bullshit, you know, so that’s kind of the overall descriptive thing. It’s not, it’s not a service yet. But then the reason why I decided to sell the programme on radical differentiation was because I wanted to teach that to people. But I knew I couldn’t just sell it to anyone wanted to who hated marketing bullshit. So I did the same exercise. And I asked myself who has money to pay without asking their boss who is really really fucking struggling with that problem. And I went back to my list without talking to a lot of people realise that actually people who really fucking need that the most are people like us, consultants, small business owner, founders, people who are not in the big, you know, big company. Like in house marketer, the defence porch do they feel the need, but not as much, the ones really fucking need that more than any other are like people like us. And so this is why the programme is specifically for them. And I said no to rest,
Alastair McDermott 25:14
Okay? You clearly obsess over the specific group of people, and you know them very well. How do you earn their trust, which is the next part.
Louis Grenier 25:23
You show up. Every day, you had them out you give, give, give without anything in return. So you need to remove your, your kind of self serving brain and think about how can I help them the most. So that sounds a bit cliche. So let’s go a bit further, is this plenty of ways one of the shortcut, I would say is to use like a psychology principle of the authority kind of principle, if you associate yourself with people who have authority and an influence, you will, a bit of influence will, will drip on you, you know, this is why podcast interview style podcast in particular, is so fucking popular is because of this by talking to each other by you can have everyone rubs off each other on and you start to trust people more and more. So leaning on other people’s expertise, using quotes and summarising books and making sense of things around you. Even if it’s not you came up with it, but just genuinely trying to help people with that is a good way to earn trust. Another way, which is something that Justin Jordan mentioned on the podcast, she’s a CMO for we’re gonna forget the name of the of the company, but it doesn’t matter. She talks about a Trust Bank, which is what you want is having way a lot of coins in your Trust Bank, meaning a lot of people say, you know, I trust you, before asking anything in return. So you need to be you need to have a net positive bank account in this Trust Bank, right. And that means just just sharing shit, helping people out getting on calls, sharing what you know, being open about the fact that you don’t know everything. But you know, creativity is connectivity, right? It’s about connecting to things that you make sense of, and boom, you can teach people that it takes years. And that’s a mistake I made when I started, I had none of that. And I thought people who trust me and they didn’t, obviously they didn’t. So associate yourself with others. Learn from them. Don’t expect to come up with something brand new on your own, it’s not going to happen. Just connect the dots between different things, and show up, show up show up for years.
Alastair McDermott 27:38
Where does creating intellectual property and writing or some people call it content marketing? Where does that all fit in the mix there?
Louis Grenier 27:47
I think it’s the result of that work. After a while you see what sticks, what doesn’t and and you start to have your own process and your own way of doing things. And the more specialised you are, the easier it gets, you know, like the, the curriculum that I teach through standard fake out is the result of me making a lot of mistakes at hotjar and previous companies and agencies and is the result of the summary of the conversation I had on the podcast and first principles and all of that. And yeah, now I have step by step that I can teach anyone. And that’s just down to years of years of showing up and knowing what you like. So yeah, I don’t think when you’re starting out, you need to worry about that much. You need to worry about making sure you can help those people as much as you can. And, and things will happen. You’ll have your own method afterward. And it’s almost it’s very easy than, you know, to know that Yeah, I actually this is our thing. But you know, I’m always a bit hesitant. When I hear that advice, as well of you know, you need to call in your own fucking process and you name it a certain thing and it adds gravitas to it can turn into very bullshitty way as well, where you just, you know, you name your own system, which is in fact, everyone’s use the faking the same tracking system, you’re just naming it because you want to be known for that. So, you know, for the methods of radical differentiation is nothing new that I teach, really, I just make sense of it myself. It’s the way I like to learn about it. But radically transition is not my term. I haven’t coined it, it doesn’t mean you can’t be known for it, you know?
Alastair McDermott 29:23
Okay, and then creating these products and services for them for this specific group of people, and that are genuinely different. So when I think about creating products and services, making them genuinely different isn’t the first thing I think about. It’s more about making it effective. So can you talk about what what you mean by by making your products and services genuinely different?
Louis Grenier 29:47
Yeah, I think that’s the reason that’s the secret. The secret is that your product is set doesn’t have to be radically different. Theoretically, foundation comes from and this is important, the intersection of three things you’re the category or in the process. Like the service you provide, and the market you seek to serve. And once the intersection of the three things is different, meaning you can’t really find anyone else doing this, this is when you’ve achieved like differentiation. So you see, it’s not like the product itself. It’s not the market itself that is brand new, different. It’s not the category you’re in. It’s the intersection of the three.
Alastair McDermott 30:21
Can you give an example that I’m just trying to find it hard to understand the the category versus the market? What?
Louis Grenier 30:29
Yeah, so the category would be, if you are a paid marketing specialist, that would be the category like your paid marketing, this is the box you’re in the product is the specific things you do, or service, you can offer multiple, and the market is then the minimal viable market, like your actual segment, right? And you can see, then you can quickly start to say a few things. So let me just give you an example. A few examples. Let me just find my examples on that. So just like maybe just to start with everyone, as marketers, as a podcast, the category to be marketing podcast, that’s my category, the closer I can get the the market is people are sick of marketing bullshit. And what I do to finish the sentences that everyone hates marketers is the only marketing podcast for people secret marketing bullshit, right? I don’t need to say more than that is true. Okay. Other examples? Let me just right. So there’s this French political party called liberica mash, and Emmanuel Macron is actually president now. And he created the party. And it’s a good example. The category there is French political party. Right? The market, he went after our French people deserted, disenfranchised by politics, in particular. And again, people disenfranchised by politics, they are probably professions, and age groups that are more likely to fit this way. But the core is people disenfranchised by politics. And the way he played in that category and do something different is by not allowing politics, politicians to have two jobs, hiring people who are not career politicians to join and be elected. So did a lot of things, he had to fight for that. So he became therefore the de facto The only French political party, for people disenfranchised with politics who do X, Y, and Zed, right. And this is kind of where radical differentiation comes into play. The category is the box, you must peek that has already expectations linked to it, meaning you set out to someone they know roughly what you do, they don’t need to fucking like, think ready to have some people are starting to create to try to create their own category, even the consultant world, which is a huge mistake, because you’re going to try to educate a market about a category that doesn’t exist, there’s just it’s just a uphill battle. So you pick a category of dogs that already exist for a very specific market that you define. So you know, it’s kind of BB becoming easier to differentiate, then. And then for a product that you that you offer or service you offer, and the intersection of the three is where it’s at. So the box is very interesting, because it forces you to play inside it. This is where you basically use the definition and what is expected inside it to play a bit inside it. Last example, last example. More than 100 years ago, people were using toothpaste in jars. And they were using those toothpaste were based off charcoal. And there was a huge epidemic problem of like bad teeth and bad health problem because of bad teeth, even the US Army talk about it as one of the biggest issue. So pepsodent came in, they came up with that toothpaste category still there already exists, they play within the restraints of the category by changing the charcoal to like a white powder, much easier to put on your teeth. And adding the means fresh flavour on top, you know the minty fresh feeling. And I was for people in particular middle class America who wanted to improve their status by you know, associating tooth brushing with you know, I know my shit, I take care of my health, therefore I have the status. So they became the de facto only toothpaste that gave this meeting fresh feeling for middle class America. So you can see the the intersection of the three and just I’m just going to grab myself and then shut up. It’s not it’s not category, product market, its category value market, meaning what is the category? What is the market and what value do you provide them? Meaning this problem you help them solve the goal you help them achieve? So it’s, you do that by using the product but the differentiation comes from what you actually do for that specific market inside that category. Does it make sense?
Alastair McDermott 34:48
Right, okay. We use a problem. So when you say value, do you mean the problem that you solve?
Louis Grenier 34:54
Yes. So I hate people using just the word value without describing it’s basically the bleeding neck problem again, it’s the pain. They have Yeah, how you had them really that pain, it’s the exact the things that keeps you up at night that makes them stare at the ceiling. It’s the thing that they can’t wait to solve the goal that they can’t wait to reach.
Alastair McDermott 35:11
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Okay. So one thing you mentioned before is that people were talking about this radical differentiation. And they were leaving out the secret sauce, nobody is sharing the secret sauce, is what you’ve shared with us. So far, the secret sauce? Or is there more to it?
Louis Grenier 35:28
Well, there’s more to it when it comes to? How do you actually find ideas? And I can go through that, like, when you’re in that box, when you pick that category? What kind of shit Can you come up with? Basically, right. But overall, the key things that people don’t tell you is you don’t have to peak to have a product that is different, or a category or a market. It’s the intersection of the three. And that’s the key thing. And that helped me a lot. It’s not like you don’t need to come up with a marketing podcast that is completely different, or podcast is completely different. You just need to make sure that you have a marketing podcast, and you do something very specific for this market. And that creates the foundation on its own. So the other thing that people don’t really say that much is is why people talk about storytelling, you know, and you need to tell the story. That’s purely because we evolve as social creatures. And the way we survive is by sharing information. And the way it stuck is by telling stories are under fire, and for centuries, and millennials and whatnot. And that’s why still, as of today, in the time, we are recording this episode, this is why you fucking can’t, you know, can’t wait but but watch Netflix, because it’s just the same story structure. And that’s how people remember stuff. So people tell you, you need to tell stories and all of that that’s kind of bought at the best way to frame something to make people jolt into action, to move them out of their habits, because that’s what you’re asking them to do into a new value based decision. The best way to do that is through naming your status quo. naming the enemy naming the thing that you’re contrasting your product against, that your market is suffering, because of the easy way to think about it is that David was nothing without Goliath. And you’ll just need to use the power of contrast to, to sometimes just make your point.
Alastair McDermott 37:14
So it’s just like picking a fight is is that we’re talking about picking a fight with a concept that’s that’s out there, that’s negative or
Louis Grenier 37:20
Yeah, so you don’t need to be obvious about it. So there is there is a certain degree like everyone hates marketers as a podcast and and as a brand is quite out there and very open about it. But sometimes it’s it’s it’s you don’t have to like pick a fight and make it public. But it’s really helpful to frame it, even for customers. So they understand the before and after they understand. This is why you’re feeling in pain right now. And this is because of this this box. And this is where this is what I help you to do, I help you to move from the status quo that you’re suffering in to this new world, which basically using the storytelling elements. So it’s really about using the power of contrast so that people understand what you do very quickly. And the key here is that you don’t even need to explain what you do for them to understand what you do by just mentioning that. So quick example, again, pepsodent, I only need to tell you that toothpaste in jars and charcoal off working shitty, and there’s just desirable for you to understand what’s going to come next, you know, I only going to tell you that most marketing podcasts are fluffy. They never go into details. And they are just, you know, trying to sell your shit for you to understand what I’m going to say next, you know, so that’s the using this contrast principle really helps to anchor stuff for people to understand better, it’s much easier to do that. Rather than comparing against direct competitors. People don’t compare us against direct competitors, only a handful, but they want to do it still their pain, they want to fucking do that thing. It can’t wait. And the best way to do that is to describe the situation they are in making sense of the world for them relieve the anxiety by saying I got you I understand you.
Alastair McDermott 39:01
Okay, so how do we actually come up with that idea then? So
Louis Grenier 39:06
the way to come up with ideas. So when I you know, I, early on, I told you about you are in that box, like imagine you’re in this category, you’re like a paid ad specialist or whatnot. The good way to think about how do you come up with an idea? Like, how do you come up with something that is slightly different that people will notice is to list down every single thing that is expected of that category. All right, so I work with a client that is doing some very kind of dry service work for consulting services in general, like they help them to go to market with a new service and whatnot. So they have to call themselves a consulting service because that’s how people understand them. They put them in the box, that’s what they do. But now they’ve listed down all the things that is expected and all the things that are shittier berries, for example. Those people tend to charge a lot those People tend to come up, come in with suits in your office, and, you know, speak to speak, never do fucking anything talk to talk about never do anything about it, they tend to be very slow, they tend to give you a deadline that is never met, you can stop thinking about the things you can do opposite of that, to play in that category and say, we don’t do it this way. We do it completely differently you expect us to do that we don’t. So removing is is something that you can do a lot of, right?
Alastair McDermott 40:28
The status quo, reverse it and use that.
Louis Grenier 40:32
Yeah, so another thing I love doing is asking, actually, your own customers like lean against your market, people have a lot of fucking thoughts and ideas already. Ask them. What is the most tired cliche that you hate about our category? You know, what is the thing you hate the most about marketing consultant? What is the thing you hate the most about marketing podcast, what is the thing you hate the most about to space, that gives you plenty of idea to fight against and and to remove, for example. And remove is really the biggest verb here. By definition, humans love to add new stuff, you know, we’d love to add, add, add stuff, like add services and add features. Instead, I would challenge you to remove remove, remove, remove all the cliches remove what people don’t really like, remove what doesn’t really solve their problems and keep the very, very essence of it. So that you become the one thing that those these things are well, by removing things, you shine light on what stays. So the less you have, the better it is for people and the way they perceive you. And in fact, people will actually make sense of what is not there and understand it and they will actually explain it. They will understand why. So there’s this restaurant in Dublin called Benson burgers. Yeah. They only do burgers. They only do one burger. They don’t do a chicken burger. No beef burger, they do one fucking burger, beef burger. And the genius of that is the Saturday school is that all of those other fast food restaurants offering all of this type of fucking menu with all those options with shitting gradients and all of that, they go the opposite way. They are still fat, fast food restaurant, fat free, fast food restaurant, they are still they still do that. Right? They still play in that box. But they remove everything, keeping one fucking burger. And they are able to do that they are able to get meat from the butcher. They only offer one type of beer, one type of drink. And you see they remove everything else. And guess what? When people go there, they don’t complain that there is no chicken burger. They rave about it. Because by removing as much as you can you shine light on what is still there. And this is the kind of what people don’t really fucking say about differentiation is that removing is the key there is the actual it’s not adding it removing.
Alastair McDermott 43:00
I love it, removing is the key. Yeah. Yeah. And I see this, you know, in in web design, I see this all the time where people want to add, particularly on the homepage, they want to add all these things in. And this is really important. And this is really important too. And this is really important. It’s like if everything is high priority, nothing as high priority is kind of concept, right? Yeah.
Louis Grenier 43:22
And I actually share something on LinkedIn yesterday, like a quote from Dave Trott. And I’m gonna have to I’m gonna have to say it out loud. I don’t want to butcher it. So please give me a second. So he says welding GCB to a Ferrari doesn’t make a machine that can dig roads or 200 miles per hour, it makes something that you can’t do either job properly.
Alastair McDermott 43:48
Okay, for the Americans. A JCB is like a backhoe. So yeah, so welding a Ferrari to a JCB doesn’t make
Louis Grenier 43:58
sense doesn’t work in either way. Now, you’re fucked. So this is exactly why in advertising in particular, there is like research done where the more message you add, the less people remember any of the messages. So there is this need to do all things for all people and add as much as possible and say that we also do this and this and that and do that. No. Excellence in any extremes. Always, always, always imply a trade off? Like, I’m sorry, to give this example of Google, everyone gives this fucking example. Google, still, as of today, have almost nothing on the homepage. They removed everything, and they keep it this way. And in fact, it’s, it’s they want, they make sure that there is not more than x words on it. That’s a rule inside Google. So you see, it’s like, think about all the companies that are differentiating out there. The ones that you remember the ones that you feel are different, and do the thought exercise of what they’re actually what have they removed because it’s so easy to look at when Is there look at what is not there. Like, let me give you another example. A consultant, the world famous said good in, as you mentioned, the fucking marketing guru, the marketing God and whatever, take a look at what he doesn’t do. He doesn’t it’s not on LinkedIn, it’s not on YouTube is not on Twitter. He only posts once a day on his blog, and does a weekly podcast.
Alastair McDermott 45:25
Right? Only post yesterday, every day for 15 years, 20 years. So
Louis Grenier 45:30
the reason why he’s able to do that is because he’s not doing anything else. And you I’m not saying you in particular, but you’re trying to like, do a podcast or YouTube channel or fucking newsletter or whatever you’re gonna burn out. And so that’s the thought exercise, a thought experiment I’d love to do is looking at what is not being done by others, by others, looking at successful consultants around you and look at what they do, and especially what they don’t do, and you get the least of the things they have removed, and they’re not doing, the cliches they’re not doing all of that is Wait, don’t get rid of the things that currently have.
Alastair McDermott 46:01
Absolutely just on the you know, the multiple channels and things I know that Joe Palooza of of the Content Marketing Institute, he wrote that book right behind me. And he recommends that when you’re starting out, you know, focus on one channel only, and stick with it for 12 months, and don’t give up, you know, eight 910 months in as being really important. So let me just change gears here a little bit, because we talk a lot about the process of differentiating yourself. And, you know, failing over and over again, shipping things and trying things. I just want to go back to basics for a minute. And just think about somebody who’s just starting out. And somebody who’s is who’s, you know, they’re at the first crossroads. Maybe they’ve left a corporate job of their own volition. Or maybe they’ve, they’ve been pushed out in some way because of the economy. And they’ve got a couple of months of runway, and they’re thinking about doing their own thing. What advice would you give to somebody who’s starting out trying to build their own consulting business?
Louis Grenier 46:57
Don’t take, unless you have a limited savings, find a job. Even if it’s about time to have money, because exactly to your point, earlier viscosity, you want to avoid that like making bad decisions in the short term. So invest your time into a job so you can get money in return. And then on the side, build credibility, give knowledge away, digest other people’s, you know, where I can make sense of things. Again, it’s creativity, not creativity, meaning, you don’t have to come up with a brand new fucking idea. Just make sense of what is there already obsessive a specific group show up, you know, peak of peak performance, a newsletter, a podcast, whatever else, just pick one thing, something that is linked to your unique ability, something that you give you energy, because you’re gonna have to fucking keep doing it for six to 12 months. And once people come wait for you to work with them. Once people email you and say, where are you going to go on your own? And when once people invite you on podcasts and conferences, and once people you feel people trust you and you have a bit more scale, then yeah, use that audience to sell your stuff. But please, for the love of God, if you don’t, if you if you were in the situation that I was in, no credibility, no network. Even with savings, it’s one of the hardest things to do. So don’t do it. Until until you have an audience. You know, I know it’s cliche. People talk about audience first. But that’s that’s the truth.
Alastair McDermott 48:27
Build your audience build, build some momentum, build a network while you’re working for somebody else? And then once you’ve done that, then go out on your own afterwards. But But bill that first?
Louis Grenier 48:39
Yes, be patient. Absolutely Be patient.
Alastair McDermott 48:45
Louis, I actually searched back through my email to find when the first time we were talking. And it was October 2015. And I remember having a conversation with you because it was kind of like a cold wintry day. And I was actually in my car chatting to you over Skype. That was the first time we spoke. So six years ago now. So back then you were reaching out and trying to build your network in Ireland, you just moved over can tell me a bit about that.
Louis Grenier 49:09
I actually moved over almost 10 years ago, but I wasn’t really involved in the startup slash marketing world then even though I was very interested, I was working for a car manufacturer started there as an intern and then move it up a bit and then four years after I moved I started to get more involved into all the startup world in Ireland you know, going to startup weekends and going to conferences and we actually met at I think at conga face to face you know this unconventional Aggregation Which was which was a it’s still in its it still impacts me we like I like the way he does it. I like the way he radically different shape compared to many conferences where there is no guest speakers and stuff like that. So I remember seeing you there. But yeah, I actually remember as well myself. I looked at how long have you been subscribing to my emails. And you were one of the first like, literally one of the first and you’re still on the list without unsubscribing for more than four years. So thank you for that, because I fucked up so many times in between. and, you know, it’s tough to find who you are, what you stand for what you want to fight against, what people like, what they don’t like, and you’ve been part of the journey. So thank you.
Alastair McDermott 50:19
Yeah, well, you’re one of the people who I always check what’s Louis doing now, I like to talk to people about failure, because I think that people don’t embrace failure. And often people don’t see failure, they see failure as a bad thing. Whereas it can be such a great learning experience, and can be something that you can build on. You’ve experienced a bit of failure before a couple of times. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Louis Grenier 50:40
Yeah, I guess I see life to be measured by the number of decisions you make, you know, the number of things you do. And it’s not a matter of how good those decisions are, it’s a matter of how many times you’ve done you’re doing that because you will do stupid stuff. And you will ship stuff that people don’t care about. But it’s only by shipping stuff that things become real. You know, that’s, that’s a hard lesson. It’s, you can imagine something in your head in your mind for years and years and years. And even if it’s on paper for you, even if it’s on a Google Doc until it reaches your people, your audience, your market, whatever. It’s not real, you know, failure is a byproduct of that. I mean, from a very young age, I’m being very transparent and honest, like just the way my personality always has been. So yeah, I mean, I’ve fucked up so many times, one of the biggest one was when I had 20 grands 21,000 euros exactly in my savings, that was 2016. And I had, I was head of marketing for a startup. And I wanted to do my own business like anyone, anyway, like, like I was 26, or something like that. So I wanted to have my own business, obviously. So I had this massive idea for software that would actually enable people to send automatic emails to people based on their purchase behaviour, that lasted like maybe four weeks in theory that said, you know, having enough money, no knowledge to do it, or passion to do it. So I created a marketing agency. So I bought these three piece suits, I went to the Chamber of criminals in Dublin trying to get clients to get a few clients pivoted slightly to conversion rate optimisation, because I thought that was, that was the next big thing. And after less than two years of burnt out mentally. I mean, just an aside, and burning out burning out is not the moment when you know, you throw your computer out the window and say, fuck that burning out is the process of going to that point. So I was clearly burning out, throw those three and a half, because I had no credibility, no knowledge, really no network. And any clients we were getting was through referrals, you know, was just through like me trying very hard to sell myself and be someone I was not I was trying to act, like what people expected me to act as a consultant. So I bought the three piece suits, I went to the range of cameras, I pay to speak at conferences, I mean, all those mistakes there. So that’s a big one. But I’ve learned so much from it. And now that I have officially kind of relaunched my business years after I’m using all of that knowledge to, to not make the same mistake. So that’s that will be beyond.
Alastair McDermott 53:10
I think that anybody you know, there’s this myth of the overnight success. But I think that anybody who you examine in depth and you look at their success now, there’s always a track record of some kind of failure beforehand, to bring them to this point.
Louis Grenier 53:25
Correct. And there is always track record, I think failure again, I don’t see failure as something that you seek to do. I think it’s something that you can control when you’re listening, if you’re listening to this right now is, is the number of things you shape not only the things you do so yes, there’s always a track record. When someone is quote unquote, famous or have quote unquote, succeeded. of them shipping.
Alastair McDermott 53:45
Louis Grenier 53:46
Shipping stuff, trying stuff. You know,
Alastair McDermott 53:48
One thing you mentioned there, he said that you didn’t have the money, the knowledge or the passion. And so you see those as as as three things bound together as crucial for success, right?
Louis Grenier 54:03
Again, it’s difficult to answer I mean, in the context of a solo consultants listening to this, right? success means being able to live off paying yourself a comfortable salary without overthinking How am I going to get money next month, right? So if you consider that to be success, you need the wheel to fucking keep going and fight those moments when you feel like shit. You know, you’re you’re in front of Netflix, Netflix at 8pm. And you just overthink every single thing. And you’re like, what if that happens, and that happens, you get anxious, and you do need some sort of love for the game. And that’s what I mean by passion. Like, I fucking love the craft of marketing. I love understanding user psychologies. I love trying stuff and see how people react. And so it’s never really I’m never forcing myself to do it. So I think that’s that’s what I mean. You need the great to keep going and going and going for years and years and years. Money. Yeah, I mean, I burned through my savings during this first company. Oh, use leads, it’s an important thing to have to have some cash so you don’t get anxious. But I think I think you can build a decent carry as a solo consultants by having a full time job and working on the side. building credibility, your your your reputation, your network on the site for us.
Alastair McDermott 55:23
Yeah, one thing you mentioned there, you know about being anxious if you’re running out of cash. And it’s when you’re coming in when you’re in that place of scarcity. I think the book called scarcity discusses this a bit. But you actually make bad decisions when you are in that scenario. So So I think it’s important to bear in mind that if you’re in a situation where you are cash poor, you really have to examine your decisions, because you could be forced into making bad decisions, you know, through it, the scarcely screwing with your mind, basically.
Louis Grenier 55:59
Absolutely. That’s a good point. So, you know, I had the luxury of after failing at this agency, I was in touch with the with her job through the CEO, because I had interviewed him on the podcast, until I got a job there worked almost for three years, three years and a half. And I promised myself, I would work on that podcast, everyone hates marketers on the side. And I would ship every week no matter what, even even with a full time job. And the luxury that I had is that I didn’t have the scarcity, I was being paid well. And so I knew that I could just keep going and giving, giving, giving, giving, giving, giving knowledge and stuff away, right, without expecting anything in return. So I said no, to sponsorship opportunities. Through the years, I had like h refs, I mean, I’m not going to drop names, listen to the point. The point is, I had the company’s very interested in sponsoring me and I could have gotten some good money out of it. But the long game was always in my mind, I wanted to build a brand. And the brand doesn’t take like it takes a long time to get that. And I didn’t want to have everyone hates marketers associated with being a sponsor, she bought ads on the podcast to me, those two didn’t collide, right? Sure. So to your point about scarcity, because I didn’t have that scarcity mindset. I think I made the right decisions for this three years and a half. And now that I carry that now and that I that I’m slower than I, I’m building your own as marketers, the business. But absolutely, and I need stuff, man. I mean, if you’re listening to this, and you’re struggling to get clients and all of that, I understand why you need to sometimes get clients, you don’t really like to get money and pay off your bills. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s to be in a position where you don’t put yourself in that position like I did, where I just quit. We just money but no credibility. Nothing was a big mistake. And I didn’t do it again.
Alastair McDermott 57:50
What are some resources that have helped you along the way? What who have you read or listened to? Or what are some great blogs or books that you’ve read that you would recommend that people look into?
Louis Grenier 58:03
I mean two minds about this. I could I could stop citing a few people and ebooks and stuff. But I could also tell you that you need to ship stuff you need to start. Again, nothing in your head is real, until it’s touched other people’s lives and the seat. So you know enough already. I suspect if you’re listening to this right now you already know enough time is to do something about it and stop living in your head. That’s the advice I give to myself as much as giving to you listening. Now to really answer your question, I’m going to be a bit cheeky and say that honestly, the way I’ve learned I’ve learned and the way I keep learning is through all the smart people I’ve interviewed on the podcast, man. I mean, I’ve learned so much from them. That, yes, I read a few books like “Eat Your Brains,” which is very good about marketing. I love I love reading about marketing effectiveness. I love the work from Byron Sharp and Mark Ritson on that but honestly, after a while, you just need to listen to whenever interview with an author or read a summary and you basically fucking know what’s going on. So focus on trust principles on things that will never change. Use your psychology, human psychology, principles of marketing that have been proven and then fucking get started. And persuasion by Cialdini is probably one of the easiest way to start on first principles and things that will never change but human behaviour that you can lean on reciprocity, you give stuff away before expecting anything in return on authority in a lot of people’s expertise. You know, that’s, that’s what I’ve done for the last hour. So Exactly.
Alastair McDermott 59:38
Louis Grenier 59:40
Alastair McDermott 59:42
Okay, so so on that What is your favourite business book? Do you have one in particular?
Louis Grenier 59:47
Yeah, I mean, the I have a lot of ebooks as well. So I’m actually fucked. They say, but the, the one book that I read one I the reason why I’m in marketing is because I read the French version of Cialdini of persuasion book. Yeah, it’s not a traditional translation. It’s actually another another author called a participator. The manipulation is actually the nature, which is basically how to manipulate people when you’re a nice guy.
Alastair McDermott 1:00:16
Louis Grenier 1:00:17
And that’s when I fell in love with with that craft way before I started on it. So that probably is the one I like the most.
Alastair McDermott 1:00:24
Right? Do you have a favourite fiction book?
Louis Grenier 1:00:27
I need to read more fiction. I don’t read fiction much at all. The one thing that is not fiction that I very much enjoy is “True Crime.” Right? I love reading stories like that. But you see, it still goes back a bit to my work. Because the reason why I think I enjoyed the most is because it goes to the, to the edge of physical psychology and of people in psychology in their brain and how it works, understand how crazy they can be.
Alastair McDermott 1:00:56
Okay, where is the best place for people to go to learn more about you and radical differentiation?
Louis Grenier 1:01:01
And yeah, “Everyone Hates Marketers” google it, go to the site. And there’s a there’s emails that I send around that topic more and more, and then the podcasts, you can google it as well. I’m sure you’ll find this.
Alastair McDermott 1:01:11
Yeah. And I highly recommend that particularly the episode would Seth Godin’s great place to start out. Thank you, man. Do we thank you so much for being with me today. I really appreciate it.
Louis Grenier 1:01:20
You’re very welcome. Thanks for doing what you’re doing. It’s not easy to be on the other side. And I know it’s so wish you all the best with it. And and keep liking doing it.
Alastair McDermott 1:01:29
Keep doing it keep shipping like you. If you gained any insights or tips from this episode, please share it. It might just be the thing to help someone in your network. If you share the shownotes link it will include the podcast player and all the other information from today’s episode. Thanks for listening and see you in the next one.