In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Melanie Deziel. Melanie is a keynote speaker, award-winning branded content creator, and the author of both “The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas” and “Prove It: Exactly How Modern Marketers Earn Trust.” Melanie is also the Co-Founder of The Convoy and GroupUps, B2B marketplaces that help small businesses save money so they can invest more in themselves and their communities.
You say your company is amazing. But why should your customers believe you? In a crowded consumer courtroom full of shady advertisers all claiming to be the best, the fastest, the most caring, your brand is literally on trial―and that means you better deliver the proof. In this episode, Melanie Deziel shares how to leverage content marketing to earn the trust of your customers today.
Questions I ask Melanie Deziel:
- [2:25] How does trust fit into marketing?
- [3:37] Is there a price range where trust becomes the most important element?
- [5:51] Is there a direct correlation to the idea that if something is more trustworthy, people are willing to pay more?
- [6:51] What are the five words that trust boils down to?
- [7:55] What are the three kinds of content that work well as evidence?
- [14:44] What are some simple ways brands are able to fit into this “prove it” category?
- [15:59] What are a couple of examples of claims that fit into the category of unless you can show proof, it’s not going to benefit?
- [18:53] What about throwaway claims?
- [19:58] How do start-ups walk the line of being able to show proof without having a lot of existing proof to use?
- [21:32] And that business is called the Convoy. Where can people find that your group buying business
- [21:57] but you wanna tell anywhere else you wanna invite people to connect with you?
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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Outbound Squad, formerly Blissful Prospecting, hosted by Jason Bay. It's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Jason Bay is a leading sales expert and he talks with other leading sales experts to get you the information you need. I've recent episode, he talked about how much time you need to spend prospecting. Really, really eye opening. Check it out to listen to the outbound squad, wherever you get your podcasts. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Melanie Deziel. She's a keynote speaker, award-winning branded content creator and the author of two books of the Content Fuel Framework, how to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas, and a new book we're gonna talk about today. Prove it exactly how modern marketers Earn trust. So Melanie, welcome to the show.
Melanie Deziel (01:10): Hey, it's good to be here.
John Jantsch (01:11): Your camera's moving around. You're bouncing around there.
Melanie Deziel (01:14): I know, I was so excited I bumped into it.
John Jantsch (01:17): So I have to say this, not all listeners have ever done interviews or had podcasts guests, but you know, I've done thousands of them and I have to say your background info and topic sheet that you provided was one of the best ones I've ever seen, mainly because it gave me like all kinds of off topic stuff you stuff about you, stuff you didn't wanna talk about. So we're just gonna dive right into the stuff you don't wanna talk about. Okay.
Melanie Deziel (01:42): You know, I try, I always say I try to be the easiest guest to work with cuz I know it's a lot of work to produce a podcast. You got a lot of homework you gotta do on the guests. So I feel like giving you all the links in the background kind of helps make that easier.
John Jantsch (01:54): Yeah. So now I'm just gonna, you put me on my soapbox now. So I'm also a guest on a lot of shows and I, you know, always hate those ones where somebody asks me to be a guest and then wants me to write the show for them.
Melanie Deziel (02:43): Yeah, so the reason we went with trust as the underpinning of the book is that we're sort of looking at, you know, all the different KPIs that everybody is optimizing for. You know, whether you're looking for sales or downloads or purchases, whatever the case may be, this realization that trust comes before any of those things, right? Like we don't typically subscribe to accounts or you know, social profiles that we feel are maybe a little suspect. We don't enter our card information on a website that we feel might not be trustworthy. We don't hire and work with people that we don't think we can, you know, can trust with our data or our business. And so it's this realization that, you know, if trust comes first, then how can we optimize the other marketing activities that we're doing? And you know, namely content being my background, how do we optimize that with the goal of earning trust in mind in a way that's going to allow the rest of those KPIs to just kind of waterfall and come from that.
John Jantsch (03:37): Is there a sort of like a different height hurdle
Melanie Deziel (03:54): So yeah, I think there's, there's a couple factors that go into it to create these different tiers. So the first one would be the price point, which you mentioned. Yeah, obviously, you know, I always say we all do a little bit more shopping around for expertise if we're getting, you know, a medical procedure than we do for a loaf of bread, there's, you know, there's the price as well as the stakes, right? Some things are just the cost of making the wrong decision is so much higher. That's true in like the B2B space. Any heavily regulated industry, you know, if you're working in finance and insurance and technology, you know, there's a big risk factor there. So we tend to see that trust becomes more important in, again, those high ticket purchases like a vehicle or you know, a house or something as well as a that that is really like the big important decisions in life that have potential major fallout.
(04:39): We definitely see that trust is gonna be even more important in those scenarios. But I mean I think honestly I do think it trickles down, at least on some level. I think we've probably all had the experience of you're at like a discount store of some kind, a dollar store or something like that and you see a product on the shelf and you're like, I know it's clearly this is a knockoff of something that I usually buy, but I'm just not sure that's gonna cut it, right? Like even though it's maybe, you know, zip up plastic snack bags, you're like, those just probably aren't gonna stay shut, you know, or that tape is probably not gonna stick as well. So I think even in those small purchases, there's that sort of unspoken quality of like, does this look trustworthy? Is this something I can believe?
John Jantsch (05:24): Yeah. You know what's interesting I've found at least is, I mean every purchase involves some risk. Every decision to move forward involves some risk, right? And what I have found is trust us, two things, it lowers the risk for a lot of people, or at least in their mind, right? And when you lower the risk, you can actually raise the price because somebody's like, oh, I know this one's gonna work, I'll pay more. I know this is gonna be a good experience, I'll pay more. Or I trust that this will be a better experience, I'll pay more. So do, do you find that there's that direct correlation if something is more trustworthy, people are willing to pay more?
Melanie Deziel (05:57): A hundred percent. I think it depends too on what it is that they're trusting you for. So one of the things we talk about in the book is like commitment claims where brands will claim to be sustainable or you know, they have a commitment to equal pay or the environment or you know, whatever they're committed to on a values basis. And consumers are often like very often willing to pay more if they feel like they're supporting a cause that's important to them. It's why you often see that the green or you know, lower carbon footprint or more sustainable recyclable, whatever it is, version of products tends to be a little more expensive. But because people feel like this is a value that's important to me and I'm supporting that, I'm willing to make that extra payout. And I think we see that for a lot of different things, but particularly for commitment values where it's like aligning my identity with something that this brand is committed to. Definitely willing to open the wallets there.
John Jantsch (06:51): You know, essentially the, if I wanna boil the book down to about, what's it, five words, don't tell it, show it. I mean it, you know, when people talk about trust, I mean it's like, no, trust me Melanie, really, you can trust me, right? I mean that doesn't go very far. So talk a little bit about that aspect of what you're suggesting.
Melanie Deziel (07:09): Yeah, a hundred percent. Well that, that comes from the journalism background, which I'm sure that you were indoctrinated with that as well, right? We're always told it's not our job to tell the audience what to think or you know, what to do or how to feel about something. It's our job to show them what's going on and let them make a decision. So I feel like adopting that mindset from a marketing standpoint of saying, well, I could tell my audience that I deliver results. I could tell my audience that it's a sustainable product. I could tell my audience all of these things, but how could I go one step further? How could I show them instead how can I demonstrate it? How can I, you know, corroborate that claim? How can I find additional ways to back it up so that it's not just, you know, take my word for it because consumers don't, they just don't trust us. You know,
John Jantsch (07:55): You started to allude to this, but I'll kind of bring out the numbers and let you walk through them. You in the book talk about three kinds of content that work well as evidence. So we've been talking about trust, but I guess before we get too much farther here, talk about the use of the word evidence as part of what you're suggesting.
Melanie Deziel (08:16): Yeah, so we use, I use sort of like a light legal theme throughout. People have kind of sprinkled throughout because I think we're all familiar with, you know, some of the catchphrases of like TV courtroom dramas and things like that. And you know, there's always this like you've gotta bring the evidence, like where's the evidence, right? Right. When you're trying to convince a judge or jury, whoever that is, your consumers, you know, a buyer of something to make the decision you want them to make. So it is very similar to being sort of a lawyer in that, in that sense, right? And so the idea with evidence is we are making these claims and it's our job to produce the evidence that helps our audience come to the right conclusion. You know, make the right verdict that they can trust us. And I think that mindset shift of thinking of yourself as that being your mission, like I have to win over a skeptical audience to, to pick the verdict that I think is right.
(09:04): I think that kind of mindset shift is helpful because it kind of just points you toward understanding, like I need to look for evidence in all the different places where it may be, you know, if you think of a courtroom drama, there's always, you've got the human folks coming in, that's the corroboration. You bring the demonstration, you know, photos or videos or you know, those kinds of things. And then you bring in experts who can educate the audience cuz what, you know, the average jury doesn't know anything about blood spattered patterns or you know, whatever else, you know, evidence you're bringing in.
John Jantsch (09:32): And they hope you don't either, right?
Melanie Deziel (09:34): That's true. Right. Well and hopefully, you know, hopefully none of our marketing involves blood spatter patterns, but hopefully the correlation is making sense there. That's really what we're trying to do. We're trying to back up our claims with experts and witnesses. We're trying to demonstrate all of that through stories and documentation and then we're trying to educate the audience, you know, coach them and help them understand the information so that they can then come to that conclusion.
John Jantsch (09:57): Are you an agency owner, consultant or coach that works with business owners? Then I want to talk to you about adding a new revenue stream to your business that will completely change how you work with clients. For the first time ever, you can license and use the Duct Tape marketing system and methodology in your business through an upcoming three day virtual workshop. Give us three days and you'll walk away with a complete system that changes how you think about your agency's growth. The Duct Tape Marketing system is a turnkey set of processes for installing a marketing system that starts with strategy and moves to long-term retainer implementation engagements. We've developed this system by successfully working with thousands of businesses. Now you can bring it to your agency and benefit from all the tools, templates, systems and processes we've developed to find out when our next workshop is being held. Visit dtm.world/workshop. That's dtm.world/workshop. So I got you, of course there I went down the evidence rabbit hold. So let's circle back and say, what are the three types of con content then? That work is
Melanie Deziel (11:06): Evidence. Exactly. So that's the corroboration piece that I just alluded to. So content that corroborates includes experts or witnesses. So experts are authorities on whatever it is that you're claiming. So you know, if you're making a sustainability claim for example, well then, I don't know a researcher in that space or you know, if you're talking about rainforest, maybe you know, someone who oversees the rainforest in that particular area could be an expert for that type of claim. Uh, witnesses, anytime you're bringing in witnesses into your content, that's gonna be the folks who have seen the truth of that claim themselves. So that could be past customers, could be, uh, testimonials from clients. It could be, you know, if the claim has to do with your employees or your commitment to the community or whatever else. Who are the people who can speak to the fact that those claims are true?
(11:51): And that mu again, much like in a courtroom courtroom, it's your way of saying you don't have to take my word for it. Take these folks word for it, right? I've got people to corroborate these claims. So that's the first type. The second one is demonstration. So whereas a corroboration is sort of, you don't take my word for it, you have these folks word demonstration is, you don't have to take my word for it, see with your own eyes like you can see it yourself. The best sort of example to, to bring it to mind immediately is every infomercial or like, you know, direct QVC style product, right? Where they have like the side by side showing the two products doing what they do. And one is clearly better. You don't have to believe me that this product, you know, has more suction and cleans your carpet better. You can see from the dirt left on the other carpet that ours does a better job, right? So,
John Jantsch (12:36): And Bo Bounty, I'm thinking of bounty towels like
Melanie Deziel (12:39): Go, you know, there's none ready. Yeah. Or especially like cleaners of all kinds when it's like, you know, the half of a stain treated with one thing and half with the other. So you know, that may not, that's a little catchy. It might not be exactly what we want to do with our brand, but the sort of like a B2B equivalent is you often see a demo of a product, right? And that demo is saying, you know, we're telling you this is easy to use, that it has a simple interface here, let's walk through the product, let's show you how simple it is. Or those comparison check mark grids we are all familiar with that are often on a pricing page, right? Here's what you get with them and here's many more check marks of what you get with us. So it's really your way of saying, look, you don't have to take our word for it, like we're gonna show you, we're gonna bring it to you in the form of stories and of some sort of documentation that proves our point.
John Jantsch (13:21): And then did we get the third one?
Melanie Deziel (13:23): The third one is education. Okay, so this one we again, we hinted at before, but the education pillar is this like acknowledgement that in many cases the audience that we are trying to convince doesn't have enough information to make that conclusion at all. So in addition to corroborating our claims and demonstrating our claims, we probably need to provide education around those claims as well. So places where you wanna look out for this is anytime that you know, your buyer may not be your end user, right? So it may be some executive that's signing off on use of a new software, but the engineers or the project managers, right, they're gonna be the ones using it. So this executive may not know how convenient it is that you integrate with such and such product or that it has this feature or that. So you need to provide that education to help them understand why those claims are important.
(14:10): This is also true if you have like a first time buyer situation, love to give the example of like first time home buyers or you're buying a wedding dress or you know, some sort of a hot tub maybe or a boat like someone probably hasn't bought that before, doesn't have much experience in purchasing that thing. And so they're gonna need some context for this claim you've made that it's, I don't know that the paint is reflective, like is that good or bad? Like should it be reflective? Like how does one measure reflectiveness, right? So kind of you need to provide that background and education to allow them to make sense of your claims in the first place.
John Jantsch (14:45): So what are some simple ways that you see, I mean, for example, I see people on websites as seen in these publications or these, you know, brands that you have heard of. Are all of our customers, I mean are those, you know, do those fit into, you know, this prove it category
Melanie Deziel (15:03): A hundred percent. So that's corroboration. And I do think that corroboration is often the easiest one for us to turn to. As long as you're an established business, then you probably have corroboration that's easily at your fingertips, you know, past clients or as you said, press mentions, you could do awards that you've won. You know, you can kind of bring in all of that outside proof to say, look, you know, we're telling you we're great and we're telling you that, you know, this is a famous product, but hey look, we've been featured on all of these TV shows or in all of these newspapers. Um, this is something we see a lot with restaurants, you know, if they say like, reviewed in the New York Times or books often say like Wall Street Journal bestseller, right? That's the corroboration. Like I'm telling you my book is good, but you don't have to believe me cuz like the Wall Street Journal set. So, so those kinds of things can be really helpful. And again, I think most businesses, as long as it's established and has some sort of history at all, has past clients or you know, employees or colleagues and partners that you could be calling on to provide some corroboration.
John Jantsch (15:59): And you also talk about certain types of claims that businesses make frequently make that just flat out need proof that nobody's, it's not gonna be a benefit claim. It's not gonna do you any good if, unless you can show proof. What are a couple examples of claims that fit into that category?
Melanie Deziel (16:16): Yeah, so there's a couple different categories of claims that like most businesses are making in some capacity. So a competence claim would be one of those, right? We're all talking about how we do well at whatever it is we do, right? We're pitching something, we're gonna deliver these results, we're gonna achieve this outcome, right? That's a competence claim. I know what I'm doing. And those can often be really well corroborated, you know, again, by past clients or something similar. We also have comparison claims, which we kind of hinted at before. So this is like, how do we stack up to the competition or to other solutions that are available or to not doing anything at all. Like what is, what is our offer in comparison to the others and how do we perform? We talked about commitment claims a little bit early on, and that could be, again, commitment to your customers, commitment to your employees, commitment to a value or a cause.
(17:01): Those often need quite a bit of evidence, even more so than some of the others. Again, because it's so tied to identity. If someone is, you know, they pride themselves on, you know, equal rights or you know, pay equality or sustainability, like this is something that feels core to their identity and the level of betrayal that comes when, you know, we've all seen the fallout, the PR scandals when supposedly in favor of a particular cause and it comes out that the truth is not so. So those claims definitely need a lot of proof. The others would be convenience, which I think convenience claims are actually some of the easiest to prove when we're talking about convenience claims. That's things like speed, ease of use, affordability, because most convenience claims can be quantified, which makes them really easy to measure, measure and really easy to prove, right?
(17:50): It either costs less or it costs more. Like there's a number there, right? It's very objective, you know, it's either faster than that or it has a slower timestamp. Like that's pretty objective. So convenience claims tend to be, tend to be pretty, pretty easy to prove. But on the other end of the spectrum, I think our connection claims and connection is really about the, it's the relationship side of things. That's, you know, the, you're not a number, you're a name the Olive Garda when you're here, you're family, right? That that idea that they have a deep connection either to their customers or to the, the local community is another common one. Like our connection with our community. So those are often a little bit harder to prove if only because there's no officially recognized connection scale that I'm aware of, right? So it's more of more subjective in many cases. And that means you have to rely more on corroboration and storytelling of that connection to try to
John Jantsch (18:41): Prove it out. My father-in-law's favorite restaurant was Olive Garden, and I can just tell you that I went to Olive Garden a lot more than I care to and I didn't feel like family there. Sorry.
Melanie Deziel (18:50): Oh no,
John Jantsch (18:53): All right. What about throwaway claims get pitched by the number one XYZ award-winning this and leading X globally all the time. To me, I don't know, maybe there is some proof behind them, but they just feel like throwaways to me.
Melanie Deziel (19:09): So that's exactly that, that is a claim without proof and that's what we are trying to avoid. And that's honestly, I feel like that's the trap, right? Because it's very easy, particularly if you're, you know, you're writing copy, it's easy to get carried away and just start throwing adjectives left and right, you know, best, greatest, whatever. But it creates exactly that feeling that you're talking about. It's that feeling of like says who according to who. Like how do I know that? And I think that's a natural skepticism that we've seen. It's increasing every year just getting higher and higher because of the amount of throwaway claims like that that have no proof whatsoever. People have to default to skepticism. Yeah. And I think it, it is really an opportunity for marketers that wanna stand out and kind of be a step above that to proactively be providing proof of those claims so that you're not giving people that sort of icky, you know, taste in your mouth leftover
John Jantsch (19:59): So what about, I work with a lot of startups and they don't have any case studies, they don't have any testimonials, they really don't have any verifiable evidence that what they do, you know, provides the result that they're promising. How do they kinda walk that line?
Melanie Deziel (20:16): Yeah, so one of the things I think is that even if you feel like you don't have personally like case studies that you can call on, there were almost always tangential or related case studies. So I'll give you an example, a start that my husband and I founded a late last year is helping small businesses. It was a group buying service marketplace for small businesses. Now that sort of thing didn't exist. So to your point, we couldn't say here's some successful examples. We were trying to build it. Um, however we could point to the fact that, you know, know associations have for a long time offered discounts to their members that a lot of membership, you know, perks are really just combining the buying power of their membership and negotiating discounts in response. We could point to GPOs group purchasing organizations as an example of this sort of model that worked and pull experts and studies and case studies from those spaces that sort of support the need for, you know, where the gap is. And I think a lot of startups can do something similar. You know, you're telling stories of people who have not had success because your solution didn't exist, or people who would've had success had your solution existed. Or people in similar industries who can say, I wish that this existed for XYZ industry as well. I think that kind of corroboration can actually be super powerful because it's showing the white space
John Jantsch (21:32): And that business is called the convoy. Where can people find that? Your grape buying
Melanie Deziel (21:36): Business? The convoy.com. So if you're a small business independent business freelancer, the convoy.com offers you free of charge discounts on products and services that you need to run your business, just trying to support those small businesses that keep our country running.
John Jantsch (21:50): So I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast again to talk about, prove it. You wanna tell people, I know they can find the book anywhere, but you wanna tell anywhere else you want, invite people to connect with you?
Melanie Deziel (22:01): Yeah, well, hey, I always say my home base is my website, story fuel.co. so.co story Fuel is where you'll find information about all the books where you could buy 'em, how to work with me. You could find my social links if you wanna connect with me online somewhere, and you'll find all [email protected]
John Jantsch (22:17): Do you get tripped up on the.co versus uh.com? I had had one website that I really wanted the url and so I bought the CO and every time I went there, I typed in.com. No matter
Melanie Deziel (22:28): What,
John Jantsch (22:39):
Melanie Deziel (22:46): Hope so. Thanks for letting me share my story.
John Jantsch (22:48): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find [email protected] marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketing assessment.co. I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.
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