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Many businesses promote products or services without paying attention to a critical point — resulting in no results. Let’s take a page from pop-culture’s playbook and discover how to guarantee your marketing efforts capture your prospect’s imagination.

Sunday night I did something I never do– I watched an awards show on TV.

Normally I don’t take time out of my day to watch a bunch of celebrities high-five each other…

But this was the Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards show, and a guy I know was going to be performing.

Now don’t get the wrong idea and think that just because I live in Nashville I’m hanging out with a bunch of famous people…

I don’t.

I don’t even like hanging out with unfamous people.

But my kids are musicians, and I thought it would be cool for them to see someone we know jamming on TV.

Underwhelming Promises

The time came…

I called the kids around the TV as the act was being announced…

I told them who to look for…

The “curtain” came up, the lights went out and…

Yeah, nothin’.

The “solo singer” was front stage in the spotlight, and the rest of the band was in the dark, 20 feet back.

All the kids saw was a star in the spotlight, and silhouettes of musicians near the back of the stage.

Cool music.

Musician’s silhouette.

If you’re trying to avoid being lame, make sure your cool-connection is at least under the lights, not a world-class plucker in the shadows.

Embarrassing dad-moment?


But a great teaching moment for entrepreneurs trying to turn prospects into clients.

Stingy with the Spotlight

 I didn’t watch the whole ACM show, but all the acts I saw followed the same formula…

If the act was a “solo act” (i.e., Luke Bryant, Carrie Underwood, etc.), the band was pushed into the dark background.

If it was a “band” (i.e., Little Big Town), the main band members were in the spotlight, and the auxiliary musicians were shoved to the background.

I’ll get to why this matters to you in a second…

The effect of obscuring everybody but the headliner is simple but powerful…

The headliners look like they’re alone on stage.

Some of the “solo” acts performed with a dozen or so musicians, but you almost couldn’t tell those musicians were there.

The stars not only got all the camera’s attention, but they got all the light. Everyone else was literally in the dark.

From a visual standpoint, the only thing that mattered was the star. Everything else was secondary.

What would happen if the focus was on the musicians instead of the stars?

It might be fun for a minute, but a bunch of fans wouldn’t be interested.

What are the implications for your business?

Why Producers Shove World-Class Musicians to the Shadows

Could Luke Bryant and Carrie Underwood sing on the stage all by themselves?


Would it have been as good?

Probably not.

And to the show’s producers, an even worse thing could happen…

Viewers might turn the channel.

It’s kinda crazy when you think about it…

Each star was supported by world-class musicians playing their hearts out, but to the show’s producer, those musicians weren’t important.

The producer knows that nobody tunes in to see Joe Drummer working the high-hat (other than the random dad trying to impress his kids).

Fans want to see the star headliners.

True, the stars might fall flat on their face without the help of their musicians, but that doesn’t matter to the audience.

The star is what holds their interest.

The same is true for your business.

Be Choosy Where You Shine the Spotlight

The ACM’s producers (and most other live shows) know what they’re doing by obscuring the non-headliner musicians…

It’s science.

In 1978, UCLA psychology professor Dr. Shelley Taylor published a study that demonstrates that what humans perceive as focal is seen as causal.

In plain speak, it means whatever has our attention appears to be driving the situation.

For example, if you watch a conversation between two people and can only see the face of one of the participants, you’ll feel that the person facing you is controlling the conversation.

Switch your perspective so you see the other person’s face, and it’s the opposite…

You’ll change your mind and think the other person is now driving the conversation.

At some level, the ACM producer knows this…

And it’s why the star is out front.

How Does This Impact My Business?

Your business is on stage too, my friend.

And how you position your product determines what your prospects focus on…

… which tells them what’s most important about your company for them.

This is why being clear about your message, your offer, your positioning in the market, is so critical.

If your marketing focuses on problems your best prospects don’t care about, you’re outta luck…

Your prospects will assume you only solve problems that don’t matter to them, and they’ll move on.

That’s why smart marketers are deliberate with what they talk about.

Where to Discover Your Company’s Star Attraction

Of course, all of this is just infotainment without a way to put it into action, so let’s talk about how to apply this stuff in your business.

Prospect Feedback

The best way to find out what your prospects want is to ask them.

It’s easier if you have a team who can sift through the data sources I’m going to list, but even if you’re a solopreneur you can find the star of your business.

Social Media

If you have any kind of a social media presence (and you actually use it), you’ll have feedback in the form of comments, likes, shares, etc.

Use this data to learn what captures your audience’s imagination.

We did copywriting work with a company that had a good amount of social media engagement, and we had them go through the comments they got each month looking for themes. They ended up with a number of theme buckets and were able to create whole products based on the feedback of their audience.

Don’t overlook this option—it can be powerful.

Current Clients

If you have a good relationship with your clients, you could just ask them what drew them to you.

You might be surprised at the answer.

I had a client tell me that they came to me because of an article about sales funnels, which had nothing to do with the copywriting work we did for him later. He just found it interesting and things grew from there.

This was an example of a “musician” getting the client’s attention instead of the star.

How much sooner would he have turned from a lurker into a buyer if he’d run across an article specific to his project?


If you don’t have current clients you can ask, create a survey with open-ended questions:

  1. What’s your biggest problem related to _______________ ?
  2. What goals are you finding it difficult to achieve related to __________ ?
  3. What obstacles are keeping you from achieving them?
  4. If you had a magic wand and could create an ideal solution for your dilemma, what would that look like?

These are just a few examples, but you get the idea.

There are a few ways to get this survey in people’s hands:

  • Services to get your surveys in front of your prospects (for a fee)
  • Post the survey on social media and promote it
  • Run paid traffic to a landing page offering some kind of goodie in exchange for a completed survey

I’m sure there are other ways to get this in front of people, but those should get you started.

Webinars/Live Events

I’ve held webinars on various subjects just to gauge the level of interest in each topic.

The risk is that you’ll end up doing a 60-minute webinar to 1 person, but the reward is substantial…

For the duds, you don’t waste a huge amount of time and resources creating something nobody wants.

For the winners, well… it becomes time well spent.

Wrapping Up: Put What’s Important Center-Stage

At this point, you probably see the benefit of being stingy with your spotlight, and being deliberate about the products and services you talk about.

It’s exciting to think about…

Imagine what will happen when you draw your prospect’s attention to the thing that’s most attractive to them?

How much more interest will you get when instead of highlighting every aspect of your company, you shine the spotlight on your company’s star—the problem-solving service or product that captures your prospect’s imagination?

Would that give you a bigger opening to share how you can help your prospects reach their goals and bypass their pain?

You have that power.

Be intentional about what you focus on in your marketing, sales presentations, website, and anything else your clients encounter.

Just like the fanboys and fangirls going crazy during the ACM awards concerts, you can trot out your company’s star and put it center-stage.

You might not get the sale, but you’ll hold your prospect’s attention long enough to have a chance.

Who’s Your Star?

Getting clear on the product or service that is most attractive to your clients is a game-changer.

Once you have that clarity, you can frame every marketing communication through the lens of what your customers want.

If you’re not sure how to find the star in your business and you’re interested in getting help, I offer coaching on a limited basis. Email me at [email protected] to learn more.


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