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Breaking Cassandra's Curse

By: Robert Middleton

Robert Middleton, of Action Plan Marketing in Palo Alto, Calif., has helped hundreds of professional service businesses attract new clients and get paid what they're worth.

His website is a resource for marketing professional services. Visit it at Action Plan Marketing.

Thousands of years ago, according to Greek Mythology, there was a woman named Cassandrda who was in a relationship with the god Apollo. He, being the God of Truth and Light, bestowed the gift of prophecy upon Cassandra. But apparently the relationship went sour and they split.

Apollo wasn't able to take back his gift so he bestowed another - a curse actually - that when Cassandra foretold the future, no one would believe her.

As you can imagine, this was very upsetting to Cassandra and made her someone you'd avoid inviting to parties. But there's a part to this story that you don't hear about very often. . . .

Cassandra had several children and her curse was passed on to them. By the time the Industrial Revolution rolled by, most of her descendants had become small business owners and the curse had changed a bit. Now whenever they tried to communicate about their businesses and how great they were, no one would believe them!

(sound familiar?)

Luckily, if they did good work, news about their products and services was passed by word-of-mouth and their businesses grew. But no matter how hard they tried, they had a terrible time telling people directly about their services. 
In fact the best people could do was assert: "I Hate Marketing!" which made them feel a little better but really didn't do much good.

Many maintained that they just didn't have time for marketing and that their kind of business really couldn't be marketed anyway.

Still others tried a little marketing here and there but it didn't get good results, proving that word-of-mouth was the only way.
Many years later, early in the 20th Century, a business wizard named Claude Hopkins discovered Cassandra's Curse and put all his time and effort into finding an antidote to this scourge that had held small business people back for so long.

And you know what? he succeeded and he wrote a book called "Scientific Advertising" in which he shared the antidote. And several business people used his formula to great effect. Their prospective clients finally started listening to them and their businesses grew by leaps and bounds.

Since then, marketing consultants like myself (spiritual descendants of Claude Hopkins, not Cassandra) have been working to spread the word far and wide, to break the curse and to set small business people free. (yeah, yeah, I know this is a little melodramatic!). 

The antidote, If you didn't already know, is to focus your marketing message on "what the client gets" instead of on "what you do." It almost seems too simple, but it makes all the difference. And it's amazing to me how so few small business owners actually "get it."

Take a minute to look at anything you have in print and listen to what comes out of your mouth and ask if you are using the antidote or are still under the sway of Cassandra's Curse.

© Copyright 2000, Robert Middleton

Other Articles by Robert Middleton

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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