Youtility is the key says LeadsCon NY keynote speaker Jay Baer

By Shahnaz MahmudAugust 19, 2014

It’s all about you…youtility that is. “Youtility” is also the title of the 2013 book by digital marketing strategist Jay Baer – and the focus of his keynote speech at LeadsCon NY 2014.

Baer warned conference attendees that being marketers is more challenging than ever before. Why? One of the main reasons points to social media sites, namely Facebook, which essentially make not only your direct competition your competition – “it is in fact, everything,” said Baer. It’s the fight for attention he was pointing to.

While there is the popular belief that if you start to be better, soon you will be amazing, Baer called for attendees to turn away from that. “Stop trying to be amazing and start to be useful,” he said.

Baer literally means to be helpful.

One example he proffered is a new product (only being test-marketed in Brazil at the moment) by Huggies called “Tweet Pee,” in which sensors attached to a diaper will alert moms and dads that the baby has, well, just peed. The sensors go straight to an app. Talk about helpful.

There are three main requirements for “youtility,” he said. The first is to have courage, which can be daunting, because you have to give something away for free to gain value from it down the road. Basically, the payoff comes later.

The second requirement is to have patience. This, Baer pointed out, goes against what marketers live by today: to be “faster, faster, faster.” But, in our normal lives, said Baer, people want to take the time to think through decisions.” One success story is a marketer that claims 85 percent of its sales staff has never had a sales conversation. What the company has done is create a 105-page document as a guide for potential customers. “The better you teach, the more leads you will generate,” Baer pointed out. “That is especially true in B2B.”

The third requirement is transparency. “Trust is the prism with which all business success must pass,” Baer emphasized. The example he gave to illustrate this is Domino’s Pizza, which has been very self-deprecating to the public by stating “Our pizza used to suck, but now, not so much (or something to that effect),” according to Baer.

Through the use of youtility, you can “transcend the transaction,” Baer highlighted. Here, he discussed Columbia Sportswear and their smart tactic to create an app called “What Knot to Do,” though their specialty is strictly clothing. It’s the brand’s awareness that some of its sports-minded customers are in need of such instruction. Then, it becomes not just about its own products and services. “Give yourself permission to make the story bigger,” said Baer. In order to do that, marketers must understand who their potential customers are. They have to spend time communicating with customers in all forms possible, phone, social media, whatever it may be. Otherwise, cautioned Baer, you are missing out on valuable insights.

“Youtility is a process, not a project,” Baer also said. He called upon marketers to treat it as a “river that flows through your organization.” If it’s top and back of mind constantly, you will start to see examples of it naturally, organically and at a constant. “Ask yourself every day what you can do to be more useful,” he concluded.

This article is brought to you by LeadsCon New York.

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