Jun 6, 2018
I was hoping to record this episode when I was in Machu Picchu. That would be a major milestone, right? I carried the recording equipment all the way up 9000 feet above the sea level. I was taken away by the ruins, the mountains, the history and just the overall experience. I decided to be present and enjoy it as much as I could. And I did! I recorded this episode when I came back to the US.
A quick update on getting to Machu Picchu. First, I had to travel to Lima, then took a plane from Lima to Cusco. From Cusco, our group took the bus to Ollantaytambo. From there, we took the train to a town at the bottom of Machu Picchu. Then, we had to take a park bus to the entrance. It’s a long way to get there.
Machu Picchu is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so many rules are set up to proactively protect the site. The government limits the numbers of tourists that can access the site each day. To manage the visitor flow, we are put in groups of 15-20 with an assigned tour guide and a specific time-slot. When your assigned time slot arrives, you need to show your ticket and your passport, which are checked to make sure they are completely matched. In other words, the ticket is non-transferrable. With the rise of terrorist attacks, I guess it makes sense that the government wants to know who is in and out if they need to track down potential suspects. God forbids something happens to this site. If this site is gone, it’s gone forever. There is no way to replace it.
The rules are annoying, but I understand.
Once we passed the entrance, we had to go through a windy narrow path and then enter into a half-way house. Once you walk out of that area, Boom! You are suddenly presented with the majesty of Machu Picchu. I got a little emotional when I saw it for the first time… OMG, it’s stunning and exactly how I imaged it would be. I was still in disbelief that a tribe of people devoted so much time to build a civilization on top of a mountain in the middle of the rainforest. The tour guide showed us the temple and residential areas for the royal family and common people. The irrigation system and architecture were really states of art, at the time.
So, what are my marketing takeaways from visiting Machu Picchu? Well, there are two.
Machu Picchu made me think about messaging and value propositions. To market our products, we are taught that we need to find unique differentiators for our products. Well, since there is only one Machu Picchu in the world, it’s easy to identify and craft its unique messaging. The messaging can tap into the history of the Inca empire, the mysterious abandonment of this city, the human sacrifices, the battles with Spaniards, their sophisticated and advanced knowledge in architecture and irrigation and more. There is no lack of content and story to use in marketing Machu Picchu.
Obviously, our product and services are not as unique as Machu Picchu and we are likely not the only company serving the same customers. But we should strive to find our own unique differentiators. The best way to start is to ask why and what. Why do we build the products? What problems do we want to solve? We obviously build our products to serve a specific segment of people. If we demonstrate our products to them, what would we say? How do we tell our stories?
It doesn’t matter how commoditized your products are, you can always find your uniqueness. Just type “hammer” on Amazon.com, you can see a variety of hammers for different purposes. The price ranges from $5-$50. Each one of them has its unique positioning.
While I was at Machu Picchu, I started thinking about my own value propositions. With the new book, Effective Sales Enablement, I can’t just talk about global content marketing anymore. The overarching value proposition needs to be changed to somehow tie global content marketing and sales enablement together. Obviously, my expertise is global in nature. I know how a marketing organization works in a global company. I know how to create a scalable marketing process between corporate and local, how to create scalable personas, messaging framework, marketing planning and strategy. On top of it, I can shared ideas and recommendations on how marketing teams can better support sales teams. So, what should my value proposition be? I don’t know yet. Messaging and value propositions are difficult to crack and they change as new features and benefits are added.
Oh, here is another takeaway. After Machu Picchu, our group took the train back to Cusco. The train was very slow and it was a 3.5 hour ride. To increase revenue and entertain the guests, the train staff did a fashion show with carefully curated upbeat music. They used the aisle as a run-way to showcase 100% Alpaca coats, sweaters, shawls, jackets and more. It was a lot of fun to see the staff dressing up as models. It did get people excited and interested in checking out the clothes. By the way, these clothes were not cheap, but people were buying. Here is another marketing take away: the best way to market your product is show-and-tell. It never fails.
While recording this episode, I can still recall tingling excitement of being on the top of that mountain. Totally worth it.
My next trips are Vienna and Seattle. I am looking forward to sharing my marketing take-aways from these two cities. Stay tuned and more to come.
Again, send me your marketing questions or thoughts via Twitter @pamdidner
Be well. Until next time.