Want to be a great internet marketer? Be like CSI.

Ian Lurie

I’m sitting here watching CSI (ironic, since I’m going to Las Vegas tomorrow for Pubcon).
What makes this show so damned compelling? The sneak peek plus a dose of authenticity.

The sneak peek builds the connection

You have a job, a career, or a business. You love it, but you do the same stuff every day. It seems routine – why would anyone want to know about it?
Because they don’t do your same stuff every day. They do their same stuff every day.
The writers of CSI treat us like they want us to understand. We appreciate that. A connection forms.
You have to show your audience a bit of what you do. Even if they don’t fully understand it, they’ll feel you’re treating them to something (and you are). They feel like you’re giving them a personal tour of your factory, or taking them through your office.
You want them to understand what you do. They appreciate it, and a connection forms. Voila.

It doesn’t work without authenticity

But you have to really want them to understand. That’s authenticity. Folks can smell a fake a mile away.
Lots of shows try to imitate CSI. Very few succeed. Is it just because CSI is the original? Maybe a little. But the real key is that CSI feels authentic. The characters are flawed and quirky. They’re real. They don’t look like actors shoved into a script. I don’t know enough about screenwriting to know why – I just know it.
It’s not enough to just show your consumers how you make their product. They need to see the gleam in your eye, too: The look that says “Wow, Ian’s a little loopy, but he really wants to tell me about this. He really loves what he does”.
That’s authenticity.

Put it together, man!

Try an experiment: The next time you’re selling, blogging or Tweeting, talk about the part of your job you really love. Give them the authentic sneak peek.
See how the audience responds. I’ll bet you close the deal.
Case closed.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. My first thought when I read “I’m sitting here watching CSI” was….”I thought you booked a room at the Wynn?! And you’re sitting there watching CSI?”
    Then I read the second part of that sentence. Relief ensued. Faith in Ian restored.

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