Why All Those Nifty Expert Marketing Tips Have Gotten You Nowhere (And How to Fix it)


I understand your frustration.

Over time, you’ve followed a number of experts in your industry who have risen to the level of success and notoriety you’d like to achieve.

Out of a burning desire to succeed, you study every word they write, and you consume every detail of their rags to riches stories.

You’ve worked hard.

You’ve done the reading, you’ve taken volumes of notes, and you may have even forked over a hand full of your hard earned cash to those authorities in exchange for what was billed as expert advice.

But here’s the knot-in-your-stomach, frustrating part… it doesn’t feel like it has gotten you very far, does it?

What Are All These Experts Up To?

Just think of all those amazing stories those experts tell in seminars and write in their books.

It’s interesting that no matter how hard you work or how intently you follow all the expert advice, those amazing results the expert got never seem to manifest for you. At least not in the way they advertised.

So you wonder: Why don’t all those tips and tricks work for me? Why am I not realizing the success I’ve worked so hard to achieve?

It’s so discouraging that at times you may have even considered calling it quits.

But getting frustrated and quitting isn’t the answer.

Why the Blame Game Leads Nowhere

One of the things the human mind does in times like these is assign blame. If you’re able to pin blame on someone or something, it reduces the tension a bit. It feels better. The first few steps on the blame trail usually look like this...

1: The experts are liars!
Maybe those experts are just a bunch of smarmy snake oil salesmen. There’s no way any of those tactics they teach could be true. Otherwise they’d be working for you, too, right? They have to be a bunch of dishonest crooks.

2: There’s something wrong with you.
You start to believe you’re not good enough, talented enough, or smart enough. After all, you’ve been studying successful people, but you can’t seem to make their obviously golden advice work. It has to be you.

3: The experts are liars AND you’re not good enough!
Oh no! Both things? I’m being lied to - AND I’m not smart enough to know it? That's the worst one yet! Well, it’s all over now. Might as well quit, right?

Those are all easy places to go mentally, but they're usually not true at all. Those are just emotional rationalizations we all make out of our frustrations.

The truth is, most of the experts who teach those tactics are pretty sincere, and I’m sure you’re more than smart enough to be successful.

So if your intelligence or the integrity of the expert isn’t to blame, what’s the problem? Why aren’t you living the high life?

The Abraham Lincoln School of Success

The real reason all that expert advice isn’t panning out for you is simple. And it’s hiding right in front of your nose.

When I get confused about things like this, I like to turn to wisdom from deceased people named Ralph.

Not really - but in this case it worked out.Here’s the root of all your trouble...

“As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

In layman’s terms: What got me there may not get you there.

For instance, if you could go back in time and ask Abraham Lincoln how to become President of the United States, he might tell you…

  1. Be an awkward, lanky young man.

  2. Fail at business.

  3. Get elected to the state legislature.

  4. Have a nervous breakdown.

  5. Run for speaker in the Illinois House. Lose.

  6. Enjoy a short, mediocre career as a lawyer.

  7. Run for Congress. Lose.

  8. Apply to be a land officer. Be told no.

  9. Lose a bid for the U.S. Senate.

  10. Lose a Vice Presidential nomination.

  11. Try to get elected to the U.S. Senate again. Fail again.

  12. Get elected President of the United States.

Now, if you just follow those steps, you’re in, right? I mean, it worked for Abe, didn’t it?

Imagine President Lincoln sitting in the presidential library with a young, enthusiastic presidential wanna-be giving advice to the eager up-and-comer.

He’d say, “Ok now son, you’re awkward enough alright, but have you failed at business yet? Or had a nervous breakdown? No? Have you at least lost a run for Congress? No? Well, then, you can’t reasonably expect to ever be President can you?”

Because, after all, that’s exactly how he got the job.

Of course, that’s a ridiculous train of thought.

Ridiculous might even be too tame of a word. It’s more idiotic than ridiculous, really.

Why the Teacher and the Student Are to Blame

Those 12 things Lincoln did on his road to the White House were just actions and tactics.

Actions and tactics are as unique to an individual as their fingerprints.

You might as well say, “How do you get to where I am today? Be me in the past.” And, of course, that’s impossible.

A teacher can’t teach that way - and a student sure as hell can’t learn that way. They should both be smart enough to recognize that you can’t help someone learn to be successful with that game plan.

And that’s why all those snazzy expert tactics aren’t working for you the same way they worked for the expert who’s sharing the information. Because in many cases they’re only teaching their tactics - or sharing the story of the actions they took in the past.

Does that mean you can’t learn from the experiences of others? Of course not! The stories and experiences of successful people are a gold mine of valuable information.

But the teacher and the student have to take a very different approach to the learning process.

The Real Value of Expertise

The problem is that both teachers and students tend to zoom in on the situation too far. They go micro. And when you go micro, you’re way down in the weeds where all you can see is fine detail - like each individual step of Lincoln’s Journey to the White House. The tactics and the actions.

The real value lies in a more zoomed-out (or macro) view of what worked for a particular expert. You need to look at fundamental principles and laws.

Gravity, for instance, is undefeated. It wins every time. Drop a coin seventy-bajillion times and it will fall seventy-bajillion times. At least on earth. That’s a law.

If you work hard, never quit, and remain positive in pursuit of your goals - you have an exponential advantage over someone who doesn’t do those things. That’s perseverance… and that’s a principle we can learn from Abraham Lincoln.

The (not so) secret then, is to pay attention to laws and principles instead of actions and tactics.

Why There’s Room For Both Principles and Tactics

The fact that your competitor built their business from relationships they made on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean Facebook is the only way to succeed. That’s a tactic. A viable one, but a tactic nonetheless.

But maybe that tactic doesn’t fit your brand or your market for one reason or another.

If you zoom out, though, you’d probably learn that your competitor made relationships on Facebook and added those people to their email list - and the email list is what really helped them turn the corner.

That’s a principle: Forge strong relationships and convert them to opt-ins on your email list.

After you recognize which principles will bring you success, then which tactics and actions you should employ becomes clearer.

For young Abraham Lincoln: “I will persevere no matter what” was the principle.

Then, when life happened, he knew which actions to take.

Lost a job? Get a new one.

Lost an election? Try again.

Nervous breakdown? Get well and persevere.

And the same goes for you.

The Value Is in the Perspective

So by all means, follow the experts. Emulate those who have succeeded before you. It’s an age-old and viable method of achieving excellence.

But do it the smart way.

When you learn from others, don’t merely mimic the steps of their rags to riches story. Instead, strive to go deeper and decipher which success principle those actions were carrying them toward.

The ball’s in your court.

You’re smart enough.

All the expert knowledge is there to be consumed, and the experts are more than happy to share the information.

The question is, will you get mired down in the drudgery of mimicking their tactics - or will you choose to apply their tried and true principles and blow the doors off your goals?

Time to share...

Have there been a times in your life when you’ve tried copying someone’s tactics and been disappointed with the results?

What do you think would happen differently if you zoomed out and looked at those tactics through the lens of proven principles instead?

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