Extraordinary service is the best kind of marketing

Sales and marketing are necessary. But these 7 lessons from a world renown entrepreneur reveal that they aren't everything. Extraordinary service outperforms the best strategic marketing campaigns.

In a hurry?

Subscribe to my email newsletter and I'll send you a post like this everyday. I'll also send you my 3 sources of proven content ideas so that you never run out of ideas to publish.

The Greatest Showman is my favorite movie.

There is something fascinating and awe-inspiring about watching talented people perform at their peak level. This movie demonstrates the talents of many writers, actors, singers, and performers.

But it’s not just about the talent that went into it. It’s about the entrepreneurial story of PT Barnum.

Here’s 7 ways in which PT Barnum is not your average entrepreneur. If he was alive today, he would use these same strategies to clean up in today’s online business world:

  • He applies ideas from outside his industry. Even as an employee, crunching numbers at a desk, he runs up to the boss to tell him about all of his ideas, what he’s read, seen, and what could make the company better. Barnum understands that the best ideas come from other industries and applying them to his gives him an advantage.
  • Barnum has nothing to his name, having just been fired from his job. So when it comes time to give his daughter her birthday present, he tells a story about a far off land and a mystical device, whose power couldn’t be contained. He was able to memorize the blueprints and recreate it for his daughter — her very own wishing machine. What looks like a couple of tin cans and a candle transforms into a magical object thanks to the power of storytelling.
  • When Barnum opens his museum, nobody comes to see his wax figures. He quickly pivots to showcasing “live” treasures instead of dead ones, abandoning any preconceived notions of what his business is and providing the world with an experience that they crave.
  • In order to get his first “live” specimen, Barnum must sell this man on the vision of what he is building. As he stands in this man’s living room, he sees a toy soldier sitting on the floor and realizes his opportunity. He describes a vision of what this man’s future could be. The same vision this man has seen in his own mind’s eye while playing with his toys. Barnum simply sells him what he has always dreamed of. And it couldn’t be easier.
  • As more people show up to the circus, his staff begin to question him, wondering if these misfits and rejects will cause controversy. “I’m counting on it,” is Barnum’s reply. Barnum understands that controversy will lead to word of mouth, which will lead to more and more customers to his show. Controversy is his greatest ally.
  • His controversy is maxed out when a popular columnist at the NY Times gives him a bad review. Barnum’s response? Give everyone half price off the next show if they come with the newspaper in hand. He even changes the name of his show to a circus, based on the jeering review in the article. Barnum successfully embraces the insults, using the to create more sales for his business.  And it works like a charm.
  • In today’s world of drive-by entrepreneurship, service is an afterthought. What makes PT Barnum so successful isn’t the tricks, it’s the service he provides. He simply delivers on his promise. He shows people the fantastic. He makes them smile. He gives them joy.

Today’s online entrepreneurs have forgotten about service. It’s cool to make big promises in your headlines and bullets. It’s cool to talk about how big of a launch you did or how many JV partners you have working for you. But in very few circles is it cool to deliver a high-quality product.

The emphasis is on selling and marketing, not on delivery, service.

Of all the things that Barnum does, the magic of the show is what makes it work. He could use all of the sales tactics in the world (which he surely does) and yet nothing is as effective as the fulfillment of the promise he makes his audience.

Extraordinary service is the best kind of marketing.


Andrew Ryder

Create irresistible content
using basic principles of human nature
Subscribe to my email newsletter and I'll send you my 3 sources of proven content ideas that will make you the leader your audience admires, the envy of your competitors, and the clear choice to hire for your expertise.
Copyright 2023
All Rights Reserved