$4 billion dollars in direct response revenue. You read that right. $4 Billion, with a "B". That is how much Ron Lynch has achieved during his career and has truly earned the title of "The Marketing Mercenary". Starting out as a humble grocery clerk, Ron found his way onto a movie set one day while in college. After obtaining his SAG card, he acted a little in the films but focused mainly on learning how the production process goes.
Working with the stars of the time, one of which was Jeff Bridges, Ron couldn't help but ask him how he could get in Bridges' shoes. The advice he received: "Write. If you can write, you can make movies." In other words, even though Ron hated writing, the lesson was to do the work first. So, he wrote. In quick time, he wrote two movies as he returned to work as a grocery clerk. In an interesting coincidence, one of the customers who came through his checkout line was the key to getting those two movies in front of people who could help him advance in the movie industry.
But, it wasn't solely the act of writing screenplays in his free time that gained Ron his notoriety. His time spent working his way up the ladder in the grocery store taught him valuable lessons in running a business and marketing. By combining the two professions, it taught him valuable key lessons that he has applied in groundbreaking ways to marketing which he shares with us today.
300+ products and more than 70 brands later, including GoPro, Ron doesn't place his success completely on luck. As he says "There is a destiny there for you to fulfill, but you must be prepared to fill it." This means if you want to achieve that moonshot goal, you must be willing to put in the work first. Be prepared to do the work for free before you establish your track record, but be sure you select the right things to work for free on. They need to have a high chance of success.
How did Justin Bieber get his start? YouTube. He recorded videos of himself singing and proved he could sing. Talk is cheap, everybody talks. Nobody is interested in hearing about what you think you can do. You have to show them you can do it. Execution is what brings about virality.
However, in your execution, it can't just be about you taking from the world. Excellent marketing comes from what you give and is actually done by the audience. That is how you lower your cost of acquisition. Show the audience you have something worthwhile to give, they will take it and spread the word for you.
Ron uses the analogy of baseball to point out how much of any given situation you can control. You're in control of the bat. But, you are not in control of the ball, or the pitcher, or the mound. Things are going to be thrown at you, but your purpose is to focus on what you can execute. Get good at what you execute. That is all you can control.
Ron's been a millionaire four times. At first consideration, you may be surprised at this accomplishment. Just realize, though, that it also means he's fucked it up three times. And, the lessons that came from fucking it up three times means he learned how to. Once you learn how to do something, like riding a bike, you don't forget.
Do you think money equals happiness? Success? Freedom? Choice? Ron says none of the above. Your brain automatically plugs in the answer to what money equals, but it shouldn't. Think of "money equals" as an equation. Does zero money equal zero freedom? Zero happiness? Money is a byproduct of the value you create in the world. The more specific the value you create, the more sought after you will be.
That's not to say that money is optional. It is not. You need the basics covered. But, don't fall into the trap of thinking that your basics need to continuously extend beyond the real basics. What this means is each time we get to a comfortable level, we usually try to attain more, driven by the pursuit of getting something new to show our success. A new expensive car or a new phone or the latest gadget. Just don't do it. Get rid of the idea that you can show your success by your belongings, keep it at the basics and keep your money working for you. Not giving a shit about what the Jones' have is the key to creating wealth.
If your business is based upon duplication, you're going to fail. What achieves success now is building upon the old to bring forth the new. Do something different. Define your unique sales proposition and define it well. After innovation, you must have a margin. If you're not selling at 5x the cost of production due to market saturation, you will not grow the capital you need to thrive. Next, you have to have an audience. Go too niche, you risk losing out to a huge segment of the market. Go too broad, you risk your brand being swallowed up in the sea of competitors. Finally, your story is just as important as your product. Why do they need your product?