“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you’re willing to do.”— Bobby Maximus
Everything that happens from the first touch point until the last should be in the service of making that person a happy customer.
Every interaction they have with our business, should slowly and calmly lead them to a conclusion. The end of the rainbow, where they clearly understand the best way to solve their problem or fulfill their desire.
We just so happen to have something that can help them do that.
Your marketing needs to feel inevitable.
The things you say, the feeling they get in their gut that corroborate what you say, generates trust and attention.
That’s a world.
Individual parts that when put together, are part of a system that makes sense and feels right for our audience.
It feels true, it feels real, it feels like it was made especially for me. The reason it feels that way is because it is.
We as entrepreneurs and marketers get to design the business and the marketing around it. What we say, what we do, we have total control over it.
If we choose to design the world specifically for our audience, of course it will feel like it was made for them. If we choose to tell the truth and what we value, of course it will feel truthful and personal.
We get to choose how to design our experiences for our customers.
And it all starts with funnels.
In marketing, there’s been a longstanding structure that everyone has adhered to for forever now.
They used to be very simple and crude.
Over time, it evolved into more layers.
The current iteration has even changed shape into a circle, popularized by Hubspot.
Whenever I talk about marketing worlds in speaking engagements, questions always revolve around funnels.
After all, it’s what everybody knows.
The idea is simple, you bring a total stranger through each step where the end is something they can buy.
It follows a completely logical, linear path of objection handling and showcase of features through all marketing channels.
So naturally, this must be what a marketing world is made out of, right?
There is no deeper structure…. right?…
To me, marketing funnels are the basics. The structure that provides a linear, progressive path that takes you from point A to “here’s my product”.
Funnels are the bones of how we could tell stories in marketing.
Creating funnels is perfectly fine, but the world our customers need to live in is something else.
A world can be made of multiple funnels. Each ‘funnel’ telling a story for a niche audience to connect with, to pull them in.
Once they are transported into your world, you have to keep their attention until they are ready to buy.
Your marketing world is the deeper layer underneath your stories.
In fiction, film, television, and gaming, creators craft worlds for their stories and characters to move through, complete with geography, cultures, history, lore, societies, and rules.
Much like when we visit a new country, we know we’re in a different place because it feels different.
We landed in a place we don’t know, and we get to discover it for a short period of time.
If we enjoy our time, we will want to come back and visit it again. If not, it wasn’t for us.
A world is not a structure, it’s a feeling, it’s a container.
And how you create this is through worldbuilding.
You often see epic worldbuilding in fantasy and science fiction like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, the Harry Potter universe.
In 1999 Steven Spielberg hired scriptwriter Scott Frank and creative director Alex McDowell on the same day for a new film project: The Minority Report (released in 2002).
The Minority Report is based on a 1956 science fiction novella by American writer Philip K. Dick. So technically a world already existed for this project.
But Spielberg wanted to do something different.
He wanted to avoid creating a science fiction movie like the novella, and instead wanted a futuristic world viewers could immediately relate to.
So no script was written.
Alex McDowell got just a few “rules” from Spielberg (from a half-page synopsis):
- Location: Washington DC
- Year: 2054
- Disruption in the center: PreCogs
From this, Alex McDowell and his team were tasked with designing a world without a script.
The design of the world preceded the telling of the story. “The world became the container for narratives,” said Alex McDowell, “The world incepted the narrative in a fundamental way.”
The world McDowell and his team created became a container for narrative, and not just one narrative:
“We could have told hundreds of stories in this space,” said Alex McDowell. “We knew the world intimately. If Steven Spielberg had wanted Tom Cruise to turn left instead of right out of any doorway, we knew what was there. And it was clear that you could apply completely different lenses to the world developed for the film.
“Although our work supported a linear cinematic narrative, it could also have been used as a way of looking into the future of urban planning; targeted advertising; wearables; gesture-based interfaces; autonomous mobility, many diverse aspects of the world.”
“What was also significant was that scenes emerged from the development of the world that would not have been in a script written in advance of production by a writer sitting in a bungalow in the Hollywood Hills and typing out 120 pages. The world had incepted the narrative in a really fundamental way. The fabric of the world had triggered the story.”
(Fun fact: In a keynote speech at World Architecture Festival in Singapore, McDowell said that over 100 patents had been issued for ideas first floated in the movie.)
Your invisible thread, your values, is the starting point of the world you will eventually build.
Every piece of marketing, every narrative, will stem from this container.
Once a story pulls someone in, they could get lost in the world and that would be fine.
Because no matter where they go, they would still feel our world and what we care about.
They could click to our services page, or look at our blog, our Instagram posts, our newsletter, etc.
Much like the set, music, or the costumes of a movie ― everything in your marketing would be working together towards the same ending.
Creating a happy customer.
I believe that the best “marketing” in the world is marketing that’s mostly invisible to the person interacting with it.
Or said another way: the “tools” of marketing are invisible, and being pulled forward is felt, not seen.
Where you self-identify as being a customer before any money changes hands.
When becoming a customer feels like an inevitability and then it is.
Marketing is a mechanism for attracting better audiences of people who want to inhabit our worlds.
Externalizing and expanding on the concepts, nuances, and principles of marketing experiences is the work I’m doing here.
I’m building an experience for you to explore.
If this resonates with you, welcome home.
I’ve been waiting for you.
Together we can build a better internet experience for the audiences we serve.
Send me an email if you’re ready to build a marketing experience and grow by attracting happy customers.
If not, I welcome you to this journey with me by getting on my email list where I unpack strategies and insights like the ones in this guide for entrepreneurs that want to grow better.