I sat across the table from three top CEO’s. For confidentiality reasons, I’ll call them Larry, Joe and Moe 🙂 

Between the three of them, they were worth several billion dollars and controlled or had ownership in more than 37 different companies. In all, they employed over 5,091 people in different parts of the world. 

I said, 

“When it comes to marketing strategies, there are a lot of things to look at. Channels, technology, market trends, target audience, etc… 

I’m curious to know from the three of you: When you want to create more growth in your companies, what is the one marketing strategy or element you focus on first?” 

Larry, the biggest player of the bunch, looked at Joe and Moe and said, “That one is easy for me. You guys?” 

The others nodded their heads in agreement. 

Before I tell you the answer, you may be surprised to hear what it is. 

My guess is that if you’re a CEO or CMO, you might think, “That is what I hire people for. I have bigger things to focus on.” 

And, you may be right, but consider this quote from Elon Musk: 

“If you’re a co-founder or CEO, you have to do all kinds of tasks you might not want to do… If you don’t do your chores, the company won’t succeed… No task is too menial.” ~ Elon Musk 

Larry’s answer reminded me of a conversation I had with Mark Ford, one of our Board of Advisor members. 

He and Bill Bonner have been in business for a long time together. Bill is the CEO of the massive The Agora companies. 

Essentially Mark said to me (and I’m paraphrasing here), “We wanted to create massive growth, so we both dedicated ourselves to doing this one task each day.” 

Here’s what Larry said to me… 

Copy is Still King

“The first place I focus on when I want marketing create more sales is copy.” 

Copy… the words you use in ads, articles, and office memos… drive your entire business. Get the copy wrong and everything else falls apart. 

That is why so many of the top CEO’s and CMO’s I know spend time either personally reviewing copy OR personally hire top talent they can trust… and then keep a sharp eye on that talent. 

What elements are most important when it comes to your copy? 

Here are three that the top CEO’s and copywriters in the world look for: 

1 – RAS Triggers 

The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is the part of the brain that’s the gatekeeper of our attention. 

If your phone says you have a call from “SCAM LIKELY”, then you will ignore it. 

If it is from your spouse, it’s wise to answer it 🙂 

Our brains are constantly sorting through billions of bits of data and determining what is and what is not important enough to deserve our attention. 

Your copy must be filled with ideas that instantly light up your customer’s RAS. 

2 – Trust 

In our world, trust is everything. Have you noticed how jaded and high-strung society is right now? 

Trust is fundamentally based on similarity. 

When you are similar to your audience… or they want to be similar to you… then they will give you their trust. 

Once you capture attention, you need to keep it by establishing trust. 

Most importantly, they need to fully and totally believe that your solution is an exact fit to their need or desire. You can deliver the thing that they really want. 

3 – Leadership

In this sense, Leadership is your ability to get people to take action and follow your lead. 

This shows up in your offer, your call to action and in your follow up – all critical elements of good copy. 

The Baymard Institute did a study among over 2,584 online shoppers and asked why they abandoned their shopping cart. 

Four of the top five reasons related to a lack of clarity on what the buyer should do next. The process became too complex and too confusing so they hit the eject button. 

The same thing happens with in-person selling and major deal negotiations. 

The Human Persuasion Model

These three elements: RAS Triggers, Trust and Leadership are part of the Strahes Consulting “Human Persuasion Model”. 

We use this model to grade and refine content and messaging at ever level of a company because employees deserve just as much clear, persuasive communication as customers. 

The Human Persuasion Model (HPM) has seven major elements, which I’ll expand on in future articles. 

For now, remember this… copy is the engine that drives your sales. It is a vital leg upon which your business, your operations and your sales stands. 

And, for most savvy CEOs and CMOs it is the first place they look when looking to grow.