(Get the highlights from ICON14 Day One here.)
When your day starts and ends with Casey Graham (a guy whose company has grown 850% in the last 4 years) — Seth Godin shows up in the middle — you know it’s been a great day. Welcome to day two at ICON14.
(Also, check out Infusionsoft’s recap video of Day 2. I’m in it twice! Can you find me?)
Casey Graham was last year’s winner of the Infusionsoft Ultimate Marketer award and this year he gave a great presentation full of energy, passion, and focus. Casey told us,”Dominate. Don’t dabble.” And that is definitely the code he lives by! He markets each of his products with just one ad, on one network, and with one landing page. This forces him to continue to refine and optimize that funnel until it’s 100% predictable. He also focuses his marketing and opt-in efforts toward getting people to like him before he asks them to buy anything. If they like you, and you have good content, they will buy more often. Simple, but revolutionary!
Next up was Seth Godin. If you’ve heard Seth talk, you know he always delivers big ideas and big inspiration. Seth walked us through the history of marketing to explain why you can’t just create average products for average people any more. He was able to demonstrate why remarkable products for the edge cases are much more successful than those pitched to the masses. And, since you are selling to “freaks”, you need to be a freak too, and build a tribe of freaks just like you! Seth lays out the landscape of modern marketing better than anyone. And that landscape is changing. The old way is just that — a thing of the past. But not to worry; Seth went on to tell us what we need to do stay in the game.
Between these two talks, I had enough food for thought to last a month. But Seth followed his presentation with a Q&A session, and one question in particular took my musing to a whole different level. Someone asked, “How do you find your inspiration? How do you create the amazing content for these talks?” Seth paused for a minute, then answered slowly. “What works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you.” He went on to talk about how he keeps his creative edge (by, for example, shaving his head). But this question, and his initial response, haunted me for the rest of the day. It laid bare a hidden fantasy; the barely conscious motivation for attending a conference like this.
We are here, at ICON14, to see the stars. It’s exciting to see them, up close and personal, right? And maybe we’ll have some kind of first hand experience with them, or their ideas. But it’s more than that. We want to listen to the likes of Casey Graham and Seth Godin because we want to figure out their secret. They’re successful, smart, and inspiring; and we want to be like them! How does attending a conference and listening a talk achieve that kind of change?
Seth’s response to that earnest question put the harsh light of reality on it: we can only do what Seth Godin does now if we’ve gone through what Seth Godin has gone through for the last 20 years. We can do what Casey Graham does now, only if we’ve spent the last 5 years driving around in a red truck and getting into debt while doors are slammed in our faces and we never see our kids. No one is formed in a moment; we become over a lifetime. The reason that my business hasn’t grown 850% isn’t because I’m missing some secret knowledge (not that there wasn’t a ton that I learned this week), but because I haven’t acted on the knowledge I have. I haven’t been focused, the way Casey is, doing just one thing, and dominating that one thing before tackling another. I haven’t spent years “noticing things” the way Seth has, to say nothing of all the public speaking he’s done!
Part of the allure of a conference is that promise a transformational experience. To be sure, getting out of the office, meeting new people, and hearing about new ideas refreshes us. We return to work all fired up, with renewed confidence, and maybe some new goals. We also gain a lot of transformational tools that come in the form of information, shared wisdom, and sometimes relationships that are formed there. But we don’t automatically come back different. Transformation only happens if we go home and act on the great ideas and inspiration that we receive. Acting on, practicing, and applying the new ideas, principles, and information will transform not just what we do and how we do it but, ultimately,who we areas well.
So. If you are at ICON14 this week, what action will you take? What are you going to do (and it better be a short list) to apply what you’ve learned here? And if you didn’t get out of your office this week, how can you narrow your focus? How will you free yourself up so you can make progress on your biggest challenges before next Friday?
The truth is, no business is transformed in a day. But unless we take action, it won’t be transformed in a year, either.