Marketing Should Be Murder! | TepFu: Marketing Strategy & Coaching

Marketing Should Be Murder!

There’s been a murder! In my family we play board games a lot and we have a fantastic game called 221B Baker Street and it’s all about Sherlock Holmes (Check it out here). In it there’s cases and you have to explore the board to discover clues and build the profile of the murderer, motive and method and weapon, and then you reveal all and it’s fantastic. 

Marketing should be murder.

I mean that in a positive way, what I mean is it shouldn’t be difficult and painful but it should be methodical. There should be structure and in the world of Sherlock Holmes, murder obviously always has a structure and he unpicks it. 

For me Sherlock Holmes is a great way to think about the motive, the murderer and the weapon when it comes to awesome marketing. As Holmes might say at this stage, the game is indeed afoot! What am I on about? Well bear with me here, the motive is about following the meaning and the feeling of your marketplace. 

What is going to motivate them? 

Marketing is all about motive and motivation, so who do you need to motivate? 


And what will motivate them? 

What will float their boat? 

Why will they care? 

What would cause them to act? 

Now we’re not asking them to murder anyone of course, this isn’t an incitement to murder, but we are asking them to click on an email, follow us on social, start a conversation with us, maybe buy from us or visit something or read something. In that context we definitely want to encourage the action. 

So what’s the meaning and what’s the feeling that you need to tap into to motivate your person, your customer, your prospects through your marketing? 

Onto the murderer, well of course there’s no actual murder, please don’t go out and murder anyone, that would be really awful for everybody. But who needs to lead on the execution of the marketing for the business? 

And again execution is an intentional choice of words, by execution I mean the actual delivery of who’s going to do the work? 

Who’s going to make it happen? 

Now everyone in your business and in fact everyone outside your business, starts on the playing field in regards to being the murderer (the executioner) in the context of your marketing. People in your business, people in your marketing team can execute your marketing strategy and campaigns. People in the rest of the business could be integral to the delivery of that marketing campaign, and people outside your business (both customers and non customers) could have a role to play. 

For example; I once read a story of an organisation, I can’t remember which organisation it was quite a long time ago, 15/16 years ago now, of a company getting to know its staff better and discovering that there was a lady in the documentation department who had been at the company the longest. This lady had actually been keeping an unofficial history of the company. The organisation encouraged and supported her to launch a blog about the history of the company, and that got lots of traction and engagement because the company was an older company. That meant lots of people over the years had been there and a lot of people’s parents had worked there. And this whole community emerged of people whose individual history was tied to the history of that company. That was just someone in the documentation department, who up until that point wasn’t in marketing, but you can see why she’s in marketing now. She’s playing a role, she’s got a story to tell, so who needs to lead on the execution for your business? 

Who in your business could indeed lead on the execution? 

Who could contribute? 

Who has something to say?

And if you don’t know the answer to that, find out, speak to your team, what do they know? 

What do they care about in relation to the business? 

What floats their boat? 

What are they obsessed with? 

If you have a softball team or a soccer team, is there somebody who obsesses about the stats? Great, absolutely brilliant, tap into that. 

Does somebody’s nineteen-year-old fashion student child want to develop the uniforms for that team? 

You’ve got to start thinking laterally. Because people buy from people then the more you unearth the gems and the people in your business and give them a platform to do stuff that’s going to contribute to the conversation or the conversations that your business is involved in, the more depth your business is going to have with regard to the personal relationships it’s developing. People love depth, people love buying from people, none of this is a new concept. 

Since I discovered the Frank Zappa quote that I often reference in 1998, it’s held true. Frank Zappa said;

“An algorithm can tell you a story, but it can’t tell you the whole story, it just doesn’t have the eyebrows.” 

People buy from people, now more than ever. 

So the question isn’t how are you gonna do your marketing? As much as it is who is going to help you do your marketing? 

Who in the business in marketing? 

Who in the business that’s not in marketing? 

Who outside the business that’s a customer? 

And who outside the business that’s not a customer? 

Could be a partner, could be a network you’re part of, it could be a prospect, you could be running a non customer focus group with people finding out why they don’t use you, and being brave and open and putting that out there. 

This is why we’ve started a dialogue with people who don’t use our product, let’s find out why, how terribly risky, how terribly dangerous. But you’re only going to learn, which is going to give you a chance to grow and you’re only going to connect with people and connection and conversation is really where money is, ultimately, because people buy from people. 


So we’ve got the motive, we’ve got the murderer, let’s look at the weapon, the method. 

Ultimately you have to reverse engineer the breadcrumbs of your campaign strategy. What Sherlock Holmes does is often referred to deduction, it’s actually not its induction. Induction is that he takes the clues and forms a hypothesis based on what happened, that’s actually induction. Deduction would be to start at the end and work his way back, which he doesn’t do. He knows there’s been a murder, but he just observes and gathers the clues and no matter how… you know he says;

 “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

And it’s the same in marketing, no matter how absurd the marketing campaign might be, if it ticks all the boxes and has all the ingredients it will work to some degree or another. It may require tweaking along the way, but if it’s the right audience and the right the right message and the right call to action and the right market and the right channel using the right methods, how could it not work? And at the very least you owe it to yourself to test it. 

But of course that’s elementary my dear reader as Holmes might say, and so ultimately I think there’s a massive lesson from Sherlock Holmes about how to reveal the motive, the murderer, the executioner and the weapon when it comes to making your marketing awesome. There’s a great little structure there, it’s quite fun as well, you can even gameify it in your business, and you know flip it entirely and make it about you know the case to solve the new customer, whatever it is, you have a lot of fun with that.