Selling the Invisible Core Lessons – A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

In this article, AZLifematery summarizes the book Selling the Invisible A Field Guide to Modern Marketing, bringing out the core ideas in sales in general and marketing in particular.

This book by Harry Beckwith is a must-have in any media person’s closet.

A classic book on marketing services with hundreds of short, easy-to-read, and practical sections, suitable for you to read anywhere, anytime. In simple, easy-to-understand language, Beckwith will tell you why focus groups don’t work. What is real positioning? And outline 18 common mistakes when planning.


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The book is also a copy, guiding basic marketing tactics to help you think more effectively after reading poor-quality material. The book with the laws of going with time is proven by true stories.

Getting started, misconceptions, rules of thumb, and research/investigation

The first rule of marketing services or selling intangibles is this: The core of service marketing is the service itself. Before you write a copy, rent an email list, or copy and send out a press release, the first thing to do is determine the quality of your service.

• It is best to be aware that your service is very weak and you must improve it.

• Forget your excuses and remember McDonald’s. How does McDonald’s deliver a clean cleaning service and 50-second French fries for just 79 cents? McDonald’s has improved service standards to the highest level worldwide. If you think you can’t do it, remember McDonald’s.

• In advertising, creators often succeed by cleverly copying images seen with the naked eye. But do these successful ads really help the company increase its customer base? Who sets the standards? Your ego, your industry, or your customers? Forget the standards of your industry and do it the way Disney does.

Why should we follow Disney? Because they showed us what a clean, creative, and friendly service is

• Do not think that only big causes bring serious effects; sometimes, even a tiny cause can lead to unpredictable consequences. A butterfly flapping its wings in Singapore could affect the weather in Northern California. This is called the Butterfly Effect. In advertising, small things can make a big impact.

• Please correct the mistake immediately. Hire salespeople who can turn mistakes into profitable situations. If a customer walks in and you haven’t prepared the promised item in advance, apologize to them and ask them to wait another five minutes. Five minutes of customers walking around the store and looking at other items means five minutes of promoting your other products.

•Write an advertisement for your service. If, after a week, your best ads don’t work, stop focusing on advertising and focus on service instead.

• If you can’t convey your ideas clearly, it will cost you a lot. Service is the heart of service marketing, and marketing is the brain. If the brain doesn’t work, the heart stops beating.

• Don’t just think about the better. Think of something different. Citicorp was at the forefront of vending machines and massive credit card advertising. McDonald’s completely redefines the fast food process to create a new approach.

• Start from scratch. Ask yourself if the way you are serving your customers is the way they want to be. Does your team need further skill development? Should you limit your goals?

• The first step of any industry is to meet minimum standards. When new cars were born, everyone was satisfied with the same black cars. The second step was when the customer needed things like FM/AM radio, color, and the driver’s ashtray, all of which were met in the new car design. Those additional details and options are market-oriented. Step three is that companies like Disney, FedEx, and Lexus, give their customers something beyond what they can imagine.

• Create a viable service. Don’t stop at creating what the market needs or wants, but create what customers will like.

• When conducting surveys, phone surveys or oral responses are more effective because you can hear the customer’s feelings and complaints. Written investigations do not do this. People also tend to talk more because it’s much simpler than answering survey questions on paper.

• Ask a third person (other than you and the client) to conduct the survey for you. This is a good idea because people are often more open and frank when talking to third parties, especially when they are not satisfied with your service.


Why survey?

• It will give you a chance to sell something or offer something.

• It makes your product quality ads more believable.

• It helps you contact customers.

• It helps you learn from your mistakes.

• It helps you to capture the problem and attract customers.

• It helps you avoid succeeding too quickly.

• It saves you from wondering what you’re doing.

• It tells you how you do business and who is actually buying from you.

Never ask what people don’t like

A question that should never be asked is What do you dislike?

Surveying the target group (Focus Group) won’t work.

Surveying the target group is a mistake because you think you’re doing it right, but the results only speak to the group’s motivations, not the market’s. Outstanding people will impose their opinions on others and try to convince others. People who are shy often sit quietly and wait until the time is up. Everyone’s point of view is distorted by someone else’s point of view. Remember that you’re selling to individuals, so it’s best to speak to individuals.

Advertising is not simply a department in the company

In Japan, a lot of companies help out with the advertising department. Advertising is a job that everyone, every department in the company, must pay attention to.

Every employee is responsible for promoting the company. Every failure brings loss, so make advertising everyone’s business.

Get outside help to realize the real business opportunity. Most businesses are “nearsighted” or have limited vision – not being able to see the head is the real problem.

Make every employee a marketer. The fastest, cheapest way to advertise your services is through your employees. Every gesture, smile, or phone call is the key to the success of the company.

What field do you specialize in?

Federal Express is very good at logistics management. Anderson is a highly regarded information management consultant. When planning your advertising, don’t think about your business; think about the skills you have.
What are you selling?

Find customers who will be loyal to you. People don’t buy McDonald’s hamburgers; they only buy them once to save themselves.

If you are selling a service, then you are actually selling a relationship.

Before satisfying your customers, you must understand and satisfy a person first. That means you need to know his hobbies, pets, family life, dreams, and goals.

Your real competition is at the table next to you. Plan accordingly

Go where others don’t go

Look at the Wal-Mart corporation. Sam Walton places large discount stores in cities with populations of no more than 10,000. After 30 years, Sam Walton died. He became the richest man in America, and his company became the largest retail company in America.

Make technology a crucial part of your advertising plan. Every service company needs chief technology officers who will help you run the application of new technology to create a competitive advantage.
Review the details related to the company’s communication and improve effectively

From the design of the company’s business card to the location of the front desk, the layout of the store or office, and the way to make a presentation – think about making a good first impression.

Life is like school. Service advertising is a contest of public nature

A talented and well-liked mentor will be far more successful than a talented professional who lacks closeness to people. Be professional but more importantly, be sociable.

Make a plan: 18 Mistakes

Can you predict the future?

This is absolutely not true. It is thought that the population explosion will increase the unemployment rate. They think books will become obsolete compared to TV. They think people won’t go to the movies after having a VCR. No one knows what the future holds, so just plan for a few different possibilities or scenarios in the future.

You may know what you want.

Accept the limitations of planning. Gathering talented people in one room doesn’t guarantee perfect plans.

The greatest value of planning is the process itself.

Don’t plan your future; plan your employees.

Strategy is everything

Tactics will lead to strategy. Let’s do everything. Act. Observe the results. Gather information by testing on the battlefield

Build a good trap

Do everything with passion. Small strategies executed well always yield more results than big ones executed poorly. If you go ahead with your idea without passion, people will lose faith in the idea.

Waiting for the perfect moment

Act now. Those who wait are waiting for death

Patience is gold

Always move like a shark. When a shark stops moving, it’s dead. So keep moving.

Smart thinking

Think differently. Good ideas often sound funny at first.

Scientific and research data

Let go of the research data. Using figures like “5 out of 6 people prefer New Coke over Old Coke” sounds realistic, but the truth is that no one likes the taste of New Coke.

Focus group

A focus group that does not cover macro perspectives such as ATMs, traveler’s checks, express delivery, frequent flyer programs, credit cards, umbrella eateries, cars, moving house…

Focus groups like to offer ideas like KFC’s skinless fried chicken, McLean’s low-calorie hamburger, and low-fat Pizza Hut. Information from them is not of much value. Be careful with focus groups. They focus on today but plan for tomorrow.

If you want to focus on ideas, think. Don’t use a focus group

Tendency to be overconfident or to think, “I am always right.” Self-questioning of one’s own abilities and authority. Maybe someone else is right

Searching for perfection

ARE NOT. You will never be perfect, just “very good”. Try to create the best service for your customers. People can’t spend more, put in more effort or wait longer to get the “best” when “very good” things are always possible.

Failure is failure

Failure means you are on your way to success. Failure only shows you are risking testing an idea.

Robert Townsend had success with Avis in the 1960s, but he says two out of three decisions he made were wrong. The world baseball champion only needs to win 57% of the games in his league. So failure is a good thing. This means you are trying to succeed.

Expert opinion

Don’t rely on experts for answers. There are no answers, just informed opinions.


Leaders have the power to command the group. If you are a leader, learn to be quiet and listen to people’s opinions.

Judgment based on experience

Empirical judgment can only lead you to a limit. To get interesting results, you need inspiration.


Some people fail because they fear disappointment. Simply believe in yourself.

American Express: What do potential customers think?

• American Express has adopted the idea: that members enjoy privileges. Its users belong to an elite club that pays a higher annual fee and incurs a severe penalty for such payments. Contrary to the practicality or ease of use and payment of Visa cards, Amex users want to be privileged or special.

• Familiarity fuels your business. Despite the bad reputation, after the negative effects pass, people will remember your company’s name. Promote your company whenever possible.

• Use Close-up Effect. Being the last company to appear before customers will make you the one to be remembered. Take advantage of this by appearing after but being impressive and flawless.

• How do potential customers decide? They usually choose what is least troublesome. They will buy from the website because filling out the order is very simple. They will sign up if reply forms are available and there are no postage charges. Don’t let your company and service be a superior choice but focus on being a great choice. Eliminate everything that makes you a bad choice for the client.

• Define and polish the appearance. These are first impressions that will last forever. If you enter the company as a secretary, no one thinks you can become a member of the Board of Directors. Initial preconceptions are difficult to change.

• Every impression you make is very important, so make it impressive

•Reducing the risks of making customers uncomfortable must go hand in hand with improving the service quality.

• The best thing you can do for your customers is to eliminate their doubts. Give them a trial period or join a pilot project.

• Point out your sores and acknowledge your weaknesses. Tell the truth; even if it hurts, it will be good for the company in the future.

The more you talk, the fewer people listen to you: Positioning and focusing

Let’s review the classic advertising strategy “Position” by Jack Rises and Al Trout:

• You must position yourself in the mind of potential customers

• Your location must be unique or a simple score

• Your positioning must help you stand out from the competition

• You need to make sacrifices. You can’t do everything to make everyone happy. Just focus on one thing.
Representing something special can give you a competitive edge. To increase the appeal of your products and services, you need to limit your positioning.

Position yourself as an expert at the toughest tasks in the service you offer. This tells people that if you can solve that tough problem, there’s no reason why you can’t solve the simpler problem.

Say one positive thing, and you will say the same on many other issues.

If you can’t see a difference in your service, keep trying to find it.

No company can position itself to offer everything. Positioning means how you are perceived in the mind of the customer. A positioning statement should speak to how you want your customers to perceive you. Don’t start by positioning the service, but instead, enhance the position you are in.

Avis’s ads keep repeating, “We’re second to none. We will try harder.” Customers believed in this message, and sales surged.

Create a positioning statement by answering the following questions:

• Who are you?

• What products do you trade?

• Who do you serve?

• What are the special needs of the people you serve?

• Who are you competing with?

• What makes you different from your competitors?

• What special benefits can you bring to customers?

To bridge the gap between your positioning and positioning statement:

• Find your place in the customer’s mind

• Highlight company desires and realistic positioning statements

•Choose a positioning that causes competitors to reposition

• Don’t try to disguise yourself as a small company, but instead focus on small company strengths such as flexibility, speed and being ability to take care of each individual.

• If you think your company can’t focus, think of Sears

• No matter how good your skills are, you should always hone your skills

• Positioning and focus will make your promotions more effective.

• Positioning and focus will make your employees active advertisers

• Positioning and concentration will help gather forces. It gives everyone a clear direction to strive for.

Ugly cats, boat-shaped shoes, and expensive jewelry: Price

• Don’t think that fair pricing is a smart way to set prices.

• Racking is like turning a screw. A little chopping would be a good sign.

• Don’t be a low and medium-price service provider.

• Don’t change too quickly. It takes up to a year to gain experience.

• If the good value is the first thing you convey, you will not be effective. If the good value is your best position, then improve your service.

Naming and branding

• Give your service a name, not a monogram.

• Don’t try to make fun of your name.

• Generic names encourage generalization.

• Never choose a name that describes something people expect from your service, such as “fast” delivery.

• Be special. Pronounce it. If you need a name, start with yourself. Take your name, your wife’s, and initials and arrange them in a creative way to create a creative name that alludes to your service.

• Put the names you are wondering about in an information check per centimeter.” NameLab is a name development company; their name indicates exactly what they do. They have a scientific way of creating products or company names.

• Use Federal Express as a standard. What does your name convey?

• Service companies lose business opportunities to big-name service companies. In service advertising, almost nothing comes before a nickname.

• A trademark is a guarantee. A service is a delivered promise. Building a brand is building your own promise. Inherit your integrity and do it. This is the heart of your brand.

• A story can be easily conveyed, and a brand will be easily remembered.

• Kraft sells for eight times its price in the newspaper. The Kraft brand is what you’re buying. The brand is first.

• If you think branding is not important, then please look at the names below to see if you still hold your opinion..

Harley Davidson, Procter, and Gamble, Rolls Royce, Xerox, Kleenex, Kodak, Lloyd’s of London, Harvard, Sony, Nike, Disney, Coca-Cola, Nikon, Microsoft, Honda, Levi Strauss, Mercedes-Benz, Marlboro

To speed up the process of building a brand, choose a name that no one can mistake for another similar name.

Branding doesn’t cost millions of dollars; it just takes a little imagination. A babysitting service built by a 10th grader with very simple advertising tools. She drew a swinging horse with her label “Kate loves children – world-class childcare 555-1111” and placed it outside the house wherever she stood. Before long, all the neighbors in the vicinity contacted Kate to ask for her babysitting services and got a list of 10 babysitters willing to pay her a percentage of their salary. Kate built a local brand with just $32 on paint and plywood,

How to save $500,000: transmission and sales

• Say something. Just a simple message can be effective. Give them a good reason why they should use your service.

• A good story beats dozens of descriptive adjectives. Stories are the simplest way to go viral. Stories are easily conveyed and make everything believable and convincing.

• Attack the pre-made model that potential customers have of you.

• Transmission will be effective in advertising. Be specific and animate. Use close examples to illustrate your point. Never use two words when one word is enough.

• Prove the quality of your service. Be honest. Hoaxes only hurt you.

• If you think your promotion idea is stupid and unprofessional, it is.

• Potential customers will buy the quality of your product when you are yourself.

• Communicate that your service is good. Don’t try to say you are the best.

• Too little is always better than too much.

• Make the invisible visible. Polish your shoes. Design the lighting in your office to make a difference, and dress modestly.

• Make your images the same. It will make you more professional and easier to remember.

• Make sure you unify your brochure as well.

• Organize face-to-face meetings. It will create more opportunities to convey information than sending letters or brochures to potential customers.

• If you sell something that sounds complicated, simplify it with a metaphor. The word “black hole” has been simplified to refer to an area of ​​the object that is completely destroyed by gravity.

• Use the power of generalizing words intelligently.

• What matters is how you say it, not what you say.

• People will not want to hear strong arguments. • Get straight to the point, or you’ll never approach it.

• Tell the customer in one short sentence why they should buy from you.

• Make your services easy to purchase.

• Talk about others, not yourself.

• Show that you care deeply about the client’s work.

•Write down a mission and keep it private.

• Draw a very clear map. After each mission statement, add a goal statement.

• If the mission statement isn’t enough to get people excited, change it up.

• Marketable hopes. People like happy endings and successful experiences. Let’s make everyone laugh.

Keeping customers

•Assume that your relationship with the customer is not good, and you have to work to improve it.

• Don’t give hope to others when you can’t meet them.

• Promise less and do more.

– Say thank you often.

• Make sure your clients know how hard you’ve worked, and how they can finish you two days ahead of time or lose 10% less than expected.

• Constantly reminding customers of the company’s successes, new customers, rewards, and human and revenue growth.

Quick fix

• Answer the phone after one ring

• Talk in the afternoon but promote in the morning

• Speed ​​is everything. Be fast and get faster and faster.

• Make customers happy every day.

• People can only sell when they believe in their products.

Last thing: Take a risk. Go out and grab the opportunities.

Surprises and big profits are often on the other side of the safe, so when you see business results slow down, find out the root cause, then take a little more risk.


Above, AZLifeMastery has just shared a summary of Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing to help you as an individual or head of a department in the field of communication have more ideas and good views about your work from that select the appropriate ones to apply.

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Other books by Harry Beckwith