Why “Useful” Beats “Amazing” Any Day of the Week in Marketing

by Marcus Sheridan


A serious question to start this post and please take a moment to really give it some thought:

Would you rather be “amazing” or “useful” with your marketing?

I think if you’d asked me this question 4 years ago, before I’d ever even head the word “blog,” I would have said “amazing” every single time. In fact, “amazing” is sexy. It’s fun to talk about. It gets the imagination moving.

And it’s also grossly unrealistic.

Really, I’m not kidding. How does a marketing department set a bar of “amazing” and know when they’ve gotten there? Is it even possible? Furthermore, is it sustainable?

But “useful”—well that’s a different story.

There is Nothing “Amazing” About the River Pools Story

For the past few years, I’ve shared the River Pools marketing story to literally thousands upon thousands of people around the world. The story has also been the subject of multiple blog articles, magazines, books, and even the New York Times.

But in every conversation I’ve had about River Pools, there is one word almost NEVER used to describe what we did: Amazing

Nope, no one says, “Marcus, what you did with River Pools was amazing!”

Instead, these are the types of comments I literally hear every day:

“My goodness, why haven’t we taken this same approach with our company??”

“This makes so much sense. Of course this is how we should be doing it!”

“We’ve been feeling this is the way to go for a long time.”

“This is so SIMPLE!”

Yep, the process of becoming a great listener, teacher, and communicator in business needn’t be complex. Customers ask you questions. They express their needs. And then you, as a business, address them.

Nope, nothing amazing about it.

But useful? Yep, absolutely.

A Different Type of Marketing: Youtility

Youtilty Book CoverThis incredibly important question of useful vs. amazing is not one that I made up. Rather, it’s one of the core premises to Jay Baer’s New York Times Best-selling book that was just released, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype

Although I may appear biased because of the fact that I wrote the foreword for this book, I sincerely believe Youtility—the concept of truly becoming “useful” as a business—will be one of the most influential business books of this decade.


Because we’ve all changed. As consumers, we see through the bull. We sniff a rat from a mile away.

This is exactly why companies can shift their marketing methodology to one of usefulness and transparency, or they can continue to live in the past and base their marketing models on interruption,  false numbers, and silly sales techniques that died with the fax machine the moment this thing called “the internet” changed all of our lives forever.

So my simple question for you is this:

Just how truly useful is your company’s marketing?

If the answer isn’t “very,” then I’d suggest you start making changes. I’d also strongly urge you to read Youtility, because it just may change your life and business forever.

And if you don’t want to spend the money for it, just take part in my little contest below and you just may win a free copy of the book, here’s how:

How To Win a FREE Copy of Youtility, Mailed from My Office to Your Doorstep

OK, so here’s the deal. In the comment section below, give me the BEST example you can of a company that is using “Youtility” in their marketing efforts. Whether it’s your local pharmacy or a national brand, describe it below. For the 5 best answers shown, I’ll personally mail you a copy of the book. And just so you know I personally sent it, you’ll see a note from me on the foreword page.

Pretty easy, huh? And if I think more than 5 deserve a book, I’ll make that happen too. So just add your comments below and if you are selected as one of the top 5, I’ll email you petitioning your mailing address.

So go on, let’s talk useful…

Mad Marketing Podcast

If you like the articles, you'll love Marcus' podcast and insightful tips on business and life.

Click to listen

Subscribe to Future Articles

Read Marcus' future articles and stay on the cutting edge of business, marketing, and life success tips!

Click to subscribe

Previous post:

Next post: