Things are happening quickly that it can be so easy to fall trap into the myths about the future. Breaking those down, Warren Whitlock interviews the legendary copywriter and underground maverick in the world of Internet Marketing, Tom Bell. Together, they break down the myths of the future that are running rampant in this crazy world of information overload—and at a time of the pandemic at that! Is the future going to be better? Will the government take over our peer-to-peer transactions? Will our jobs be taken over by robots and automation? What will the future of healthcare look like? Why is branding important? Tom answers these questions and more in this conversation.
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Breaking Down The Myths About The Future With Tom Bell
I’m here with another interview. I’ve got a good friend and a special guest, the legendary copywriter, Tom Bell.
With an intro like that, I hope I can keep up.
I see that on TV a lot. We’re like 2,000 podcasts then and radio career before that. I’ve done some things like this. Now, it’s simple for people to get on a phone and talk. Let’s get to the topic where the bit of my audience, we haven’t already lost who are like, “What are these guys going to talk about?” We’re not here to talk about great copywriting tricks, marketing, or what to sell in direct marketing and all the great stories you have to share, which we’ve done on a show before. We’re going to talk about the future. The show’s mission is to talk about the real things happening, going on that are changing the future and try to cut through some of the myths. You’ll have to check what we called it. We’re talking about some of the myths of the future. Let’s get started with one of those. Is the future going to be better?
Yes. One of my favorite influencers when it comes to this particular topic is Peter Diamandis. I love his work. I won’t be talking about NLP embedded commands. Moving away from fear outsells moving towards pleasure. It just does. It’s math. In my industry, when you look at the news, if it bleeds, it leads. That’s not just a saying, that’s the God’s honest truth. We’re all led to believe that things are bad. When you look at the math, when you look at historical studies over pretty much anything, including aggregate wage, I thought they were telling the truth about over many years. The US middle-income wage has been stagnant. It hasn’t, not in real life, for example. You look at any chart on any topic you can name and the world is at its best place ever.
I bought a large TV for less than I paid for my first colored TV out of college.
About that TV, I know that there’s a pundit somewhere who is thinking, “He got a big TV, but there’s some poor guy in a sweatshop with no legs, who got them cut off by the boss because he’ll make TVs.” That TV represents probably Vietnam, China, where a company came in from the rice fields with backbreaking work. They’re working at a factory. They might not have the life that an American has, but their life is better.
For the record, the TV we bought was assembled in Mexico. It said made in Mexico, but what that means, I don’t know.
We’re clear that TV had 300 components. Probably most of them coming from Southeast Asia.
No doubt. It employed somebody somewhere who, yes, there are human trafficking and slave labor, things going on, but those need to be attacked separately is that’s what they are. As a consumer, if somebody said to me, “From now on, it’s going to cost $50 more for your TV. What we’re going to do is take that $50 and give a better wage to somebody in a factory or fight the violation of whatever laws that you are doing.” They’re all be great if it was used for that. It was a question of whether I believe it would be.
It’ll never get that far. For what it’s worth, I’ve done direct, head-to-head split testing against a kinder, gentler offer. In a few different industries, it doesn’t work. They like to be armchair activists when it comes to spouting off about issues. Maybe I’m wrong about some stuff because Bed, Bath, & Beyond with organic maybe, but my gut tells me it’s not a solid move. They don’t care enough to spend $50.Right now we're being taught to look at the value of things in the future Click To Tweet
Why not come up with solutions that are better emphasize that? Some of the things we see Starbucks get you to pay more for free-trade coffee. It ends up costing them $0.02 a cup and they can charge $25, but they’re also buying free-trade coffee. They’re doing some good there and we’re willing to pay it. Not just the premium, but knowing that a lot of it goes to the company that did that. A lot of the equalizations we see in the decentralized companies build upon about blockchain. We always got to talk about crypto. It’s getting payments from Point A to Point B without any intermediary taking their cut.
You talk about evil in the world where you can push a button and send any amount of money credit for whatever you call it, shekels. It can go from Point A to Point B anywhere on earth. It means we can bypass usurious fees in between. They’re usurious now, they probably always were. When the cost of transactions and risk dropped to near zero, it doesn’t make sense for the bank, the wire service, whoever to take care of this. Transaction costs are still there. It’s not free, but it’s close to free. It makes sense everything’s going to gravitate to that. Which brings up one of the ones I’ve been hearing a lot of is China got a cryptocurrency coming out. Facebook has a cryptocurrency coming out. Somehow that’s going to lead to the implementation of government controlling things. Can you see a future where the government takes over our peer-to-peer transactions?
To answer that question, it’s the same as the first one, yes and no. Western standardized crypto like Libra because the government can impede it. If the government’s afraid of it, which they should be, they can and will impede it. They’ll do it with straight-up legislation. They’ll do it with smear campaigns against the principles, which works. PayPal and Visa jumped already. The thing that scares me and this scares me on a few fronts is China can and probably will do it. One thing about socialists/com, whatever they’re calling themselves these days, one thing about China is if they decide to do something, they don’t have to worry much about the will of the people. They just do it. It’s like that photo recognition thing they’re doing. They’re going to go so far in AI, thanks to that because they’re able to implement it everywhere. If we tried that in the US, but they would be fighting in the streets over it.
The question is when somebody doesn’t trust their government, which I assume there’s probably a couple of billionaires in China who feel that way. They’ve done well with the system, but they also know that sooner or later, people can come after them. They can lose everything. They’re looking at ways to leave or have their money leave if they don’t like the way things are going. That’s a huge flow of the cash that funds the trade in crypto these days, but it did before. They were sending money in other ways. It’s the whole setup of Hong Kong is getting along with the West were trying to mix up their own rules. That’s an oversimplification. When I went last in Singapore, I was talking to somebody about the money is all coming from China.
They don’t like to talk about it much. They won’t say it directly like that. I’ve got no dog in this race, either way. When they try to crack down, there will be something else because we are all connected. The connection feels better. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but it’s still very much alive because there are people fighting Libra and saying there’s a lot of bad things with the Chinese currency. It is what it is. Let’s learn to live with it. Let’s figure out how to profit from it and moving forward.
I’ll say any day of the week that you’re the crypto expert among the two of us. There’s some stuff I’m good at and crypto is not one of them. It seems to me, the only goal of China playing in cryptocurrency is getting the billionaires with other cryptos back in the fold. I have a little faith in that, but not a lot because China has the ability to end their companies as a way of keeping them in control. If I were China and I were doing crypto, the number one goal would be becoming the default world currency. Not for the US dollar being the default world currency, China would probably be on top already.
They’re not following our rules for how to count what the wealth is and what’s happening. They have four times as many people as the US. We’re 350 million give or take. They’re 1.3 or 1.6 billion, which number I read it. They grow very fast. They are a multiple of ours. The stat I read was it’s gotten to the point that there are more middle-class Chinese people than there is the whole of the United States population. It’s working for them whatever it is. It makes sense that it’s going to shift. Asia is going to be the place to be. You’ve seen that. You’re calling from Cebu City.
Yes. Something I’m noticing lately that’s bad for me. A little story from my day and usurious banking institutions. I use a debit card in Western Union to move money. Western Union is cheaper than the bank for me. The US dollar against the Philippine peso, Philippine peso is going up strong against the dollar. As an American who earns in dollars, it’s no fun for me. I don’t like it. My fiancée from here in the Philippines was saying, “The peso is bad.” I’m like, “No, the peso is good. Your country is doing good.” They’re going up noticeably strong against the US dollar. I bet that’s true everywhere in Southeast Asia.
A parallel thought to that was what happens when currencies get foreign exchange. If you look at the market that the trading pair of the yen from Japan and the US dollar, why does that change so much? You got two giant stable economies. They are even better than the US and Canada, where the swing in that is 40%. It doesn’t happen fast with the US and Canada. We are much more stable. Any other currency can change abruptly by that much. That means everybody who’s holding dollars and doing business with Japan has got 20%, 30% up or 20%, 30% down. That’s more than some people making profits.
This may sound very dumb, but it’s right off the top of my head. I wonder if any of that has to do with like day trading on Forex. Do you think that has anything to do with it?
You’re talking about the bozos and the traders. They could have some influence but a big influence is, “I am a multinational company. I’m doing business in Japan and the US. I got to be aware of what the trends are and move money from one account to the other. When something sparked, I jump in with the desired goals.” I talked with one guy, who was working in bank security type things. He said that he was hired by a carmaker who had international payments crossing borders of $25 billion a year for one company. They have to worry about, if they’re going to pay somebody, who’s thousands of miles away in another country, should they be keeping currency for that country or moving it into a stable or currency or whatever? There are whole departments of people doing this. They said that the cost of that is about 15% of all the money.
If you can cut that down to being a much smaller percentage, you’ll know with certainty that the way you’re going to pay is in the one stable currency that you use. Bitcoin looks strong for being the gold of the crypto market but it’s not the only one. There are other ones that are now based on staying stable against the US dollar. Other currencies probably vary based on that. There are other ones that say, “Forget it, let’s not do business with them.” That’s the future that we don’t talk about is when we say, “It’s not about my Bitcoin going up or down about the US dollar. It’s what do I need to pay with my Bitcoin and how much Bitcoin do I have coming in the global market?”
I’m using Bitcoin as an example. It could be another currency, but that would be great. When I hear about the Chinese thing, I want to say, “If I’m doing business in China, I need to get paid and hold that currency to pay other things.” The problem is, it seems to be winding up against some form of the institutions, getting together for the West. That’s banks, government, Libra, everything against the Chinese, which could take over the dominant value of the currency. If you put those two things together, there’s an interesting trade war. That’s the one that’s coming.
That’s the one I would fear. A president getting pissed off at Chinese made farm tractors. That’s soundbites for the news. As you were talking, I was thinking to myself among the Libra alliance, who am I the most afraid of? I doubt you’ll be surprised by what I’m about to say, but I know most people would say Facebook themselves, no. Among the group of Libra backers, if I were the fed, I would be the most afraid of Visa or MasterCard. If Visa or MasterCard wanted to ruin the fed’s day, they’d be the perfect people to do it. Trust me.
If I’m able to take my Visa card and buy something and know that the value of whatever I’ve got in there is going to be stable or even advantageous because of the lower fees and whatnot, then I’m going to use that to buy my TV. Instead of the merchant paying several percent in transaction costs of Visa network, picking up all that, it gets down to what we experienced using debit cards and put money into a PayPal account and use a debit card. I see little or no fees. It’ll get better there because when I go into my computer and click a few buttons and it moves money, there is no transactional cost to measure paper. There are costs of the infrastructure. There are still capital costs.
They’ve got employees, customer support, and things like that. The actual transaction, whether I decide to move $100 to a different PayPal account or cash it out by buying something is not going to change. It’s not the aggregate volume because that leads you to think we get all get together and do something different. No. I don’t use a PayPal card. I use a credit card and then pay it off because I get points. I probably make irrational decisions because occasionally, I get a bill and it’s autopay for the minimum. Some of them are auto-pay for the full amount. They go like, “I’ve run a couple of thousand dollars and they’re charging me 20%.”
Bye-bye value of the stupid points I was trying to get. We still have to worry about stuff like that. We think about it. As marketers, we go, taking advantage of that. I’m trying to call something different. I’m quoting Rory Sutherland now, his book, Alchemy. It is pointing out the differences. You can do it for somebody’s own good. It doesn’t have to be, “I’m a marketer. I’m going to screw people.” That’s what most people think. I got to say sometimes I felt like that. I got somebody to buy something. I’m not sure whether that’s what’s best for them. I rarely do that anymore because it feels better to end the transaction with these people got a great value. It all depends on how we look at the value.
We’re being taught to look at the value of things in the future by who’s going to get us the most jobs. Is that factory going to pay enough taxes to cover the roads that have to be built around it? We’re looking at micro issues when what’s happening is, we’re all moving to like we all moved to smartphones, using the internet, and listening to podcasts. We got to say we’re going to use the technology for good and do things better. Let’s talk about that one. Myths say we’re all going to have our jobs taken by robots or automation. Others say the jobs are going to come back because somebody’s got to service the robot. The factory of the future will be the man and a dog. The man will be there to make sure to watch if it’s running and the dog will be there to keep the man from touching the machine. What was it going to be? Are we going to have more employment, less employment? What are we going to do about that?
More employment, less employment, I want to answer that but to answer the first question first, and that is, are the machines going to take away most of the jobs? Yes, they are, but that’s not bad. In the Industrial Age, did the machines take all the jobs of the guys screwing the screw in one at a time? Yes, they did. The next thing you know, everybody had a car. This is arguably cool. There’s an argument there. The quality of life, the idea that you can have a TV in your bathroom. People have TVs in their bathroom. If you just said that in the 1950s, you’d have been laughed at. The machines are going to take away jobs. Whether or not that’s going to move our society to a good or bad version of no jobs. Look at Star Trek, the dollar lost its meaning altogether. That’s a cool utopia. I’m not counting on it. I can see two things.
Areas of job growth that don’t have anything to do with machines that otherwise we’d have been screwed without. For example, the Boomers are getting old now. They’re going to need care. We’ve talked privately about autonomous trucking, creating a lot of pissed off, honest, hardworking Americans, who are largely right-wing. A bit of fear on my part is over the Civil War. When an honest guy who does this work has his job taken away from him from the machine, I could see invalidly being pissed off. When you add that for one example to the fact that we’re going to need millions of that home caregivers for the Boomers as they age, it looks like we got a little help on that front. For the retail clerks and truckers, who are about to be displaced by automation. There’s a whole other field of the new job.The idea of the future of marketing is treating individuals as individuals. Click To Tweet
I got to challenge you whether or not they’re going to lose their job because a retail clerk is there for a couple of things, bypass security, and stocking the shelves. They’re mostly to give customer service to the people that walk in. If I have the choice of going into a mall and somebody will look up from their phone to give me the time of saying, “Can I help you?” My answer is always, “No, just looking.” That experience compared to being able to go online, collect, and get what I want from Amazon. Amazon wins. It’s an easier, nicer experience for me. I don’t have to carry home. It comes right through the door. If I was shopping where I believe you elites, you 1%ers shop, the experience is a lot more. You’re going for the day. Somebody who enjoys shopping gets to go to Tiffany’s or Neiman Marcus. That experience is not going to be taken over by a robot say, “Can I help you?”
Let’s put it on the table, which represents 5% to 7% of the retail industry.
There’s a lot of retail that is stocking shelves and making sure watching with the security. Now, we have sensors and cameras and things like that, if you try to shoplift. They’ll send the tickets you get that are automated with a photo being taken.
This is what scares me a little when it comes to trucking, for example. I could paint this example into a lot of stuff, but let’s use trucking. Let’s say I’m guessing that 80%, 85% of all trucking is done by 5 or 6 companies. Pareto dictates that it’s true. Let’s say that a few years from now, the federal government approves autonomous driving. By the way, trucks are going to be first when it comes to autonomous legal driving because they do most of their work on highways, which are a lot easier than city streets. Let’s say that one day the laws make it legal and some accountant/executive at Walmart says, “We can earn an extra 9% if we switched to fully autonomous.”
Walmart is not known for taking a stake through the heart of its people. Let’s say in this example, that Walmart makes the move. They fired 90% of their drivers and they switched to fully autonomous. It is what it is for Walmart in this example, the first company to do it. Here’s the thing that scares me a little. When Walmart, J.B. Hunt, or when the first big company does it, the other companies, whether they love their people or not, they’re going to have to do it to stay in the game. They can love their people, but they’re going to have to do it so they can keep up.
They have to make that change, but it becomes a whole different game. It’s not who can drive a truck the cheapest. That’s settled. What are we going to do with these people? The laws are going to help these guys out in whatever this transition is fully autonomous. It can be fully autonomous and still have a person with the shipment for whatever reason. I’ve got the opportunity to go cross country with broadband, with the ability to do something else, train, run another business, do whatever it is that you haven’t turned over to the driving that you can’t do when your eyes are on the road.
That person can do something else. What that is in trucking. I got to say, I’m with you. It’s hard to say that an autonomous truck is going to need a driver and not too very long from now. I’m all for autonomous cars, vehicles everywhere. Get the humans off the road. They cause most of the accidents. Let a robot do what we’ve been wasting a lot of labor on. I first got interested in the very poor and before even the Billions Rising book. I got interested in is when I had teenage daughters. I heard a story of somebody who was almost precisely between their ages at the time. The girl was spending eight hours a day, getting water for the family.
I’ve seen this in a documentary, the mistake we make of saying that’s a life wasted. No, it’s not wasted. She’s helping her family. She’s a good person. It’s a needed thing, but what happens when they get water and she can then free her mind to do something else. The saying I came up with is, “She could be almost as smart as my daughter.” My kids are the best. It could be curing cancer. Coming up with something better or could be doing the caregiver part of the job, going back to health, isn’t that what the future of doctors are? The bedside manner, we’ve done studies. We know that if a doctor will spend a little bit of time with the patient, maybe touching their hand, feeling their forehead for a temperature. Anything like that is the least bit human.
The success rates for those patients to go up. It takes nothing to do it, but we’ve got doctors with charts, reports, and lots of patients to see. The whole style of being a doctor is to not care about the patients, especially surgeons treat patients like meat is one of the sayings I’ve heard. What happens when the doctor has an instant diagnosis out of the AI, has laser machines that can do surgery better than him doing it himself so he can do more procedures. It’s not just about he’s going to try to crank out more and earn more. At some point, the earnings have to go down on that. We like having a doctor. A nurse is somebody that comes in and cares about that patient who’s lonely and that’s by themselves.
I would have to imagine one of the truths that I feel very lucky to be able to know this truth for a fact. A lot of the big time “gurus” are my friends. I’m happy about that. To a man or woman, let’s say, we’re talking about a surgeon. Making a lot of money, being the highest-paid doctor, that’s not what gets the real experts to do what they do. It’s having an impact. I hate to sound airy-fairy, but it’s a fact. I would have to imagine that, as doctors get better and better. AI, like radiology, has already been supplanted by AI. You can get a better answer from a computer than you can a human when it comes to radiology. When doctors get that lifted off their plate, where they know that when they go in to see Mr. Jones, they don’t have to wonder what he has. At least that burden being lifted off the doctor’s going to make their life. I’ll bet there are doctors out there who would happily take a decrease in pay by knowing that they’re saving more people, is what I’m saying.
It helps them do their job better with the AI, looking at medical history. Great story I heard back when I was an IBM futurist, they were doing things like this. I missed this one. When a guy was attending an event, they decided to have Watson, the great AI in the sky, plan the meal. They fed Watson cookbooks. It took minutes or one hour or something that, and Watson read all the cookbooks. Unfortunately, the story ends before he says what they ate. That would be interesting, but the fact that they were able to do that. I heard all the cookbooks. It’s not every possible cookbook everywhere.
In a database, all the cookbooks they could find, and that’s what AI is going to be able to do. If we have medical records, I want my doctor in the time that he’s diagnosing me have every relevant fact about me available to that. There are the privacy and security issues of who gets access when to that. We’re building things to help with that. The weak part is trusting humans. I don’t think it’s about trusting the AI. If you tell the AI, “Only give this information to somebody with the key,” it’s going to do that. My buying history, where I travel, whether I sit or stand at work. What nutritional supplements am I taken? I take them regularly. They say there’s something like 30% of people on high blood pressure medicine don’t take it.
Let me throw this in, Warren. Good universal access, medical AI, for example. There’s no doctor on earth who would do this little piece of math that I’m about to describe. Let’s say they knew pretty much everything. They could say, “He buys a 30-day supply of magnesium every four months.” That says a lot and you’re going to walk into the doctor and say, “Yes, I take magnesium. It’s true.” With that kind of information that the doctor can know that “He buys supplements, but he doesn’t necessarily take them the way he should.” That would help with a diagnosis.
If you’re buying them on a regular basis versus a prescription that didn’t get filled even, that buying history is going to be able to flag things even before the doctor gets to, are you taking magnesium? question. It’s all going to be fed in. They’re going to say, “With this profile and with the genetic code tied into it, we know that you have the disposition to get these things.” The stuff I’m studying now about epigenetics says that it is going to be able to not through CRISPR and making those kinds of changes, which is magnificent on its own what’s possible. Long ago, Dr. Atkins, the guy that came out with the Atkins diet was famous for a while. He mysteriously died young of a heart attack. A heart attack is what they called a slip and fall.
I’m keto myself, a fan of his work and I believe in it. It was a heart attack. People went to town with that.
He had written a book just before that I read about longevity and the future of medicine. He said, “We’re far out 50, 100 years from now, which more than halfway to that 50.” Since he said this, “Where going to be a doctor who’s going to say what you need is to eat this kind of lettuce.” The idea of having to have pills and surgery goes out the door when you tell your body how to take care of itself. We need access to all this data to be able to get to that point. We will. Will our information be used by a marketer to try to sell us something?
Absolutely, but I’m going to give them permission. One of the first things that attracted me to Amazon in the mid-90s. I was a very early user, was the fact that I could buy books. I’m known for marketing books and being an author and that kind of thing, but many years ago, I read a lot of books. I would go to a bookstore and come home with 4 or 5 more books. There was this chance to go on Amazon who would know about my purchases. One of the books I read before Amazon was One To One, and the idea that the future of marketing was treating individuals as individuals. We’re still not there.
Do you mean adaptive funnels?
You and I and the adaptive funnels, it’s good for trying to sell something, but it’s still batches of people. It’s very crude compared to, “I know the genome of the person I’m selling to. This is what we can do to help them the most.” We have to be careful not to abuse that. It’s not all of us marketers should have access to the data and we decide what we’re going to do with it. We’ll be good. No, we can’t do that. We’ll come up with some other way. That’s going to be one of the things is I foresee a future. When I walk into the doctor’s office, I give them permission with the thumbprint or eye scan and they know everything they need to know about me.
Are they going to grant me credit? They can get my credit score. The minute that decision is made and entered into their system, I no longer give them access to it. When I leave the facility, they don’t have any access to me. They can’t market me. They can’t sell my data and do anything. Those systems don’t exist, but they’re technically feasible. The same thing when I’m talking to my bank, they need to know that I didn’t have a heart attack and I’m borrowing money anticipating to die. I’m going on one last trip, but not pay the bill. They don’t need to know that on every customer all the time.Branding is what people think about you the minute you turn your back. Click To Tweet
If I’m a key employee kind of a thing, with a company and I need to guarantee I’m alive, then I can do that. In the future, we can’t do much of this, which means the jobs of investigators, researchers, clerk’s handling data, all get a lot easier. I like to say that the future is not about taking away jobs, but it is about taking away work. The drudgery part of work, the things we don’t like. I like to say that you can tell the difference between work and play. You’re not doing one of them right. Your work can be a joy if there’s something about my work that I don’t like, I outsource it to somebody else. A machine is fine.
Something else to throw in that. It’s going to affect parts of this discussion is this, there’s a cynical side. As we have this conversation about the doctor’s going to have everything noble possible. Let’s say hypothetically that information is coming from fifteen major sources. Retail, banking, that the human brokenness that any one of the teams from those fifteen sources can pull some or all of that data and then use it to sell you. There’s a lot of room for corruption there and data security. From a whole other front, there’s an issue that’s either a gigantic problem or an invitation for a great solution, which is what I prefer.
That is the advent of quantum supremacy. Every piece of encryption on the planet is built off of the knowledge that it would take a traditional computer 10,000 years to break the encryption. A working quantum computer would break that encryption in 0.4 seconds. It’s happening. The field of cybersecurity or the new field that hasn’t even been named yet, maybe I’m the guy to name at Quantum Security. It’s going to get interesting in the next couple of years. All of that security advances that we’re going to get because of quantum computers is going to filter down very easily into compartmentalized personal security to make it safe for you to go to the doctor, to give him all your stuff for fifteen minutes.
I attend a lot of crypto conferences. We had the biggest blockchain with the BitAngels and CoinAgenda having events. I worked with them. It was World Crypto Con was there too. Money 20/20, the big FinTech show in the middle of all this. At the end of it, I’ve seen tons of security stuff, what wallet you’re supposed to use, hardware, software encryption. Two guys that have been at it for quite some time, a CEO of his third or fourth startup and an attorney that works exclusively in this space, and we’re having dinner and chatting as friends. I said, “Why are you worried about security? Put all your crypto on your old cell phone and then turn it off.” They’re like, “Yes, I could use a USB drive, but I loved the idea of the phone being that I could turn it on and access the wallet in a few minutes.”
What that reminds me of, this was in a Robin’s Williams piece, but it was also true to the best of my knowledge is the story of the $2.5 million pens that NASA developed. It writes upside down in zero gravity and the Russians used a pencil. I love that.
We did get a lot better pen technology out of that. Everything from cheap ballpoints to pens that will write upside down came out of that, and there have been billions of dollars return on it. The actual end of solving the problem ended up costing us a lot. That’s back when they threw money at the space program. It was a good idea.
I happened to be a very highly paid writer and I hate writing. I hate picking up pens. It’s a Tom thing.
It’s an impediment until we get a machine that can write better than you. I work with a lot of people that have problems with their website and whatnot. A lot of my work is in getting a brand strategy and sticking to it. Branding is known and most people will say marketing even. Branding is all about, “Does my logo look good?” No, I get into the mechanics of a website and the user experience. I define a brand as a relationship with the customer. It’s not there. There are many places. There are many abandoned shopping carts and people not doing things right. The need for cleaning up and using the wisdom of many years doing this can make a big difference. I get solicitations all the time because I run websites that are asking if I need help. They have developers. They can do this or that. I’m always looking for somebody that knows what they’re doing and at the same time most of the people doing it think that because they can operate the software, they’re expert.
To put this out there because I know it has to be said. This is me talking directly to the audience. You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but I’ve been doing this many years and I promise you this, A, Warren is right. Branding, in my exact definition, is what people think about you the minute you turn your back. If you think you’re slipping, the correct definition is you’re screwed. If you think you’re doing it right, you’re not, unless your name is Gary Vee.
There are some people that get a lot of things right. What I’m learning is that it’s not my job to go around and telling them what they’re doing something wrong. When I get a client, who is trying to be consistent in what they’re doing, a partner that done some large brand work in the past, we take a look at it and say, “Are you consistent?” It used to be that you spend a lot of time and money deciding what the logo and matching colors and all of that was because you were spending hundreds of thousand dollars to print the brochure. That’s where marketing got the idea. That’s what it is. It’s also a lot of marketing practitioners who are taking the job and making sure the right reports get filed and that the post goes out on Facebook.
Back when Martini launches ruled the day on Madison Avenue, which isn’t anymore. To be clear, I’m not even a branding guy. I don’t sell or do any services in the area of branding. As a marketer, the bloody obvious thing to point out is you can’t do it. You cannot pay attention to your branding. I’m a street smart guy. I spent some time homeless in New York and that the truth of this statement, if you do something dumb or crazy, or not in service to your customer, they have Facebook. People will know about it in three seconds.
We covered everything. We got our branding and talking about the future, but some of those things that are sometimes considered soft skills but when you bring data to it, you don’t let data take over. You can’t let data make the decision. You have to have some brains outside of that. You need the data. You need to know. You need to test and see whether conversions work better with one thing or another. You need to have some wisdom and common sense of saying it’s a fire sale like, “We’re going out of business and selling everything at 95% off will generate some new leads.” What business will you be in when you get done with it? It’s a very simple example.
The leads that you generate claiming to be going out of business in five minutes. I can’t imagine them being much good for anything but the price drop. They’re not going to stick it around.
I can tell you from experience. There’s a lot of people that think a price drop is the only thing they can do to get a sale. It’s the last thing you want to do if you want to build a relationship with the customer. Give them an occasional discount. You show them the value, but you can’t always be having a fire sale.
Take it from a marketer who’s been doing this awhile. It’s not only not the best way to sell, it’s one of the worst. There’s a lot of great ways to paint yourself into a corner with price drops.
As an added bonus to our audience, contact Tom, contact me, we’re online. We talk to people, ask us a question. We’re going to give you some help. Tell me what you think about this show. I am always on Twitter, but that also includes Facebook, Telegram, Skype, I’m all over the place. When somebody asks me a question and email is best. If somebody asked me a question, I try to answer it. You might not like the answer. If you need to go spend some money doing this, I’ll refer you to an expert. If you need a copywriter, I’ll refer you to Tom. If you need a brand strategy or whatever, we got a few things we can do for you, but mostly opened up the communication. We’re not here to try to sell you on something. We’re here knowing that the value of this discussion and of networking is how most business gets done now. It will be even more important when a computer can do a lot of your work in the future. Tom, do you want to give us a website where people can find out more about you?
I’d say the best way to find me is my actual Facebook. Don’t be offended if I can’t accept the friend request because I’m usually at my limit. Hit me on Messenger. That’s where I spend a lot of time. If you’d like to jump on a chat, a good way for me is my email, which is InspectorProfit@gmail.com.
That’s a golden lead there. Find Tom. He’s Thomas Bell on Facebook. I’m Warren Whitlock on everything. Hit me up, ask me a question and I always try to see that I can get you pointed in the right direction. If you do not contact me to say with, “Will you give me money or do work for me for free?” which is very rare that I get that. I’m sincerely open to anything. Go ahead and try anything you want. On Twitter @WarrenWhitlock. You can Google me or find it on the page that you got the show from, I’m around. I hope you come back another time, Tom.
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About Tom Bell
Since 1999, Tom Bell has been an underground maverick in the world of Internet Marketing. To call his list of accomplishments merely “impressive” is an understatement, but they still pale in comparison to his literal “rags to riches” story.
Before becoming the CEO of the successful companies, Tom Bell was a crack-addicted homeless person, ready to cash in his chips before his life got even more depressing. Fortunately, he battled past his depression and addiction, and within a few months of getting off drugs, he got onto his first airplane, earning over 5 million a year!
His online marketing resume is equally impressive. Tom is widely recognized as the foremost authority in the industry for landing page creation and optimization is because he created 1000 paid customers on average EVERY DAY for 18 months straight! He has also recruited over 1700 MLM distributors in 10 days and consistently oversees leads a day!
Currently, Tom Bell is residing in The Philippines, spending time coming up with ways to help regular folks exper