The other day I sat through a bunch of presentations from companies selling their products.  

Every one of them, without exception, talked about themselves and what they do. 

And despite the intent to interest me in their products, I had to work to figure out how I could use them, what it would mean for my business.  Afterward, I left tired, uninterested and now can barely remember any of the presenters. 

These presentations were supposed to be marketing presentations, but they were more like an insomnia remedy.

What the presenters missed was that marketing is a journey between two worlds.

If you don't recognize that these two worlds are separate and that you must create the journey, nobody will be interested in what you are selling.  

Here is the key: your prospects, in this case, me, exist in their world.  They live in a place where certain things are possible.  That world is not complete, and they are missing something.  They may or may not know it, but they don’t know how to make it complete. 

You exist in your world where different things are possible – you have solutions or plans or products that solve a problem for your them.  

The challenge is that the two worlds don’t intersect.  They know nothing about your world. There is no common ground.  

So, your marketing must show them what is possible in your world.  You must make your audience aware of your solution and entice them to want more.  

You want to do this following the three rules: you can’t just explain to them that you have a great solution, they will tune out in a heartbeat.  

Talking about your credentials is even worse.  

Just remember the first rule of marketing: 

They don’t care about you; it is never about you.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, he explained to us that our world was incomplete because we couldn’t fit all of our music in our back pocket.  

Up until that moment not many of us had ever wanted our music in our back pocket – but suddenly we saw a shiny object in his world that we wanted to have in our world. 

That is what you need to do for your prospects.  

The journey starts with awareness, awareness of the problem and awareness that there might be a solution.  Remember, your prospect has no idea that you exist and no notion of the problem you are solving, so you have to reach out to your market and show you understand them first.  

Your prospect then moves on to engagement: this is when they talk to you and learn about your content.  Apple customers visit the Apple store to check out the iPod: is this real?  Is it as cool as it looked on stage?  Here it is essential to build trust and show relevance.  

Finally, your prospect converts to a customer: This is when they connect to your world, they get what is possible and decide to fork over their limited resource, money, to participate.  

And then the journey continues to advocacy: If you make your customers happy they will advocate on your behalf.  Just think of Apple customers – they are the fiercest advocates of Apple products, flaws and all.  

So stop putting people to sleep with facts and figures.  

Take them on a journey.  Show them that you understand what is missing in their world and entice them with the opportunity in their world.  

Show them what is possible.  And always keep in mind that they won’t do the work to understand.  

This will make your marketing many times more effective.  

People ask me how to differentiate themselves.  They often make this very complicated.  But, if just one of the presenters I saw the other day had told a good marketing story, they would have stood out like a diamond in a sea of coal. 

So, the first way to differentiate is to tell a better story.