The Marketing Student

Studying the skills, mindsets and habits of the best marketers in the world

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The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect

What is the Halo Effect ?

Our tendency to assume someone (or something) has generally positive traits, based solely on a good first impression.

Why is it a problem?

The Halo Effect prevents us from making accurate judgments. We paint a rosy picture based on a tiny amount of information.

We are susceptible to manipulation by people who know how to use it. Our brains are pretty much hard-wired to fall down logical slippery slopes.

For example, Con-men and scam artists make liberal use of the Halo Effect. They show you credibility in one very visible area, then your brain takes that credibility and extends it to other areas they don’t deserve.

Imagine someone knocking on your door on a quiet Saturday — you are curious, suspicious, and your guard is up. But when you open the door, it’s someone who is dressed in an worker’s uniform that has the logo of a local telco— your guard goes down, and your likelihood of compliance goes up.

Nixon vs Kennedy in the first televised US presidential debate. Radio listeners thought Nixon won. TV watchers thought Kennedy won. Kennedy’s good looks and confident posture created a halo effect that people on the radio did not feel.

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The Sunk Cost Fallacy


What is the Sunk Cost Fallacy?

Our tendency to follow through with an action — even when it no longer makes rational sense — because we are influenced by what we’ve already invested in it.

Why is it a problem?

We get irrationally fixated on sunk costs — investments we cannot recover. It’s hard for us to “give up” on sunk costs. This prevents us from making smart decisions about where to invest resources we haven’t committed yet. Read more

Survivorship Bias

survivorship bias

What is Survivorship bias?

  • A reasoning error that happens when you focus only on stories of success, leading to a flawed understanding of what caused that success
  • When you draw conclusions from a data set that is incomplete and biased — without being aware that it’s incomplete and biased
  • A cognitive bias that ignores the role of luck and randomness in producing outcomes

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SEO Experts To Follow in 2018

SEO is one of those skills that has an insane learning curve.

Once you get a feel for it, it’s actually pretty straightforward. But until you get over the hump, it’s black magic.

This post is a quick shout-out to those SEO experts who’ve helped me get over that hump.

If you’re in marketing and you want to better at directing the flow of Google traffic… follow these SEO experts and get skilled up.

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A List of Useful Mental Models for Marketing

Inspired by Gabriel Weinberg’s post, here are a few concepts I find useful in marketing. These are mental models and frameworks that I’ve learned from other marketers and businessfolk. I find myself always coming back to them, or needing to remind myself of them.

They’re useful mental shorthands for evaluating how to act; or at least, provide you with alternate viewpoints from which to analyze a situation.

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How To Turn Your Reading Into Useful Action

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re a little like me, always trying to improve yourself and learn new things all the time.

So, you read a lot.

You listen to podcasts. You watch webinars. You subscribe to email newsletters. You attend events.

And maybe like me, you’ve also fallen into the trap of consuming all these things … but not really doing anything about them, or feeling like you’re stuck in a rut because you’re not learning anything new.

I hate that feeling. So I came up with a framework to process all the information I come across. That way I can make my work reading / podcast listening / virtual summit attendance as useful and actionable as possible.

It’s made up of three parts — managing Exposure to new ideas, creating a system for Processing those ideas, then deciding how to put those ideas into Action.

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Behind The Cloud: Book Summary

Behind The Cloud is Marc Benioff’s account of how Salesforce grew to the behemoth it is today.

There were some interesting operational and growth lessons, but for me, the real gems are when you get to see how Marc Benioff thinks.

I didn’t know much about him before I read the book, but after a few chapters, it’s clear that he’s got a superpower:

The soft, squishy, qualitative parts of company building.

He is incredible at nailing market positioning, delighting customers, and creating a passionate, loyal team that will follow him into war.

So in this summary of Behind The Cloud, I go over 3 specific areas where Marc used this superpower to transform Salesforce from a tiny apartment startup into the company that invented SaaS as we know it today.

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The E-Myth Revisited: Book Summary and Top Takeaways

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber is one of those books that I’ve heard about for years. I’ve seen it constantly recommended by entrepreneurs I respect, so I was excited when it finally came next on my reading list.

Similar to Crossing The Chasm, the book gives you tools to get unstuck and break through plateaus in your business.

It’s aimed at entrepreneurs and business owners, but it’s also very useful for anyone leading a team.

Here’s my summary of The E-Myth Revisited.

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5 Free Competitor Analysis Tools For Finding What’s Working

The fastest way to get better is to study the best, then put what you’ve learned into action.

That means looking at what the leaders in your industry are doing. It could mean analyzing what your competition is doing.

Practically speaking, competitor analysis means keeping tabs on what’s out there in podcasts, blogs, and webinars. Going to events and sniffing around for info.

But sometimes you gotta poke around for yourself. You have to figure out what companies are actually doing — not just what people say they are doing.

It means going beyond what their VP marketing reveals in keynote conferences and webinars.

With these free competitive research tools, it’s much easier to dissect the customer acquisition strategies of top companies in your industry, then look at what how they’re doing it.

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How To Pick a Customer Acquisition Strategy That Will Get You To $100M

Right now, someone, somewhere, is writing a listicle about growth hacks.

Someone is writing a case study about how they increased some KPI by 3,000%.

Someone is recording a podcast interview about how they 10x’d their revenue by doing some brilliant thing.

As a marketer trying to keep up and stay relevant, it can get overwhelming.

There are only so many articles about growth hacks, 10 ways to increase sales, double MRR, tripling downloads that you can read until they all kinda just blur together.

But how do they all relate together? How do you make sense of them? How can somebody actually take action from all the content out there?

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