SFR 272: 10 Common Product-Marketing Mistakes – Stephen Larsen

SFR 272: 10 Common Product-Marketing Mistakes

Aug 27th, 2019 anchorwave

Understanding some simple ‘laws’ around marketing greatly increases the chance of a successful product.

It’s not a linear scale. It’s exponential.

A small principle massively determines a product’s outcome…

I was just chatting with my crew, Colton, and Austin, I asked:

Steve Larsen product marketing crew

“What are the most common issues you see when people are talking about their products?”

You have to understand the unique position that we’re in…

I’m coaching like crazy, and they’re here listening, hearing the questions, and my responses…

We also spend time going back and forth on principles of our own to figure out how to sell MORE stuff…

It’s a very unique room!

Every once in awhile, it’s cool to sit back to think through what we’re learning.

In fact, I picked up one of my favorite books and reading some of the pages I haven’t read yet…

(which is funny as I just called it one of my favorite books… which is true, it is,! But it was a part of the book I haven’t really read that much yet…)

… and all these things that I’ve been teaching and going through, the guy’s saying the exact same thing. I was like, “Man!”

I had this moment of stopping and reflecting on:

  • What am I learning?
  • What are we learning as a team right now?

… and that’s been really helpful.

So I encourage you to make some time to do that also…

Reflecting on product marketing

Take a moment to sit back and think about what you’ve learnt on your entrepreneurial journey here?


I recently did a podcast interview with somebody and they asked about my coaching style.

I did NOT go out to be a coach. I am a coach, but that’s NOT ‘what’ I am.

I have a motorcycle, that doesn’t mean that I’m a biker.

Motorcycle product marketing

… and equally, coaching is only just part of what I do.


If I have the goal of what I’m moving towards as an entrepreneur, ( and this is what I was talking about in the interview I was on)…

As a marketing coach, I’m gonna go in and teach cash models – that’s what I’m promising to teach, and that’s exactly what I do.

I teach models that cause cash, as a rule, NOT an exception to the rule.

i.e., “As a rule, when I do that, da-da-da-da, cash pops out the other side.”

Now what happens is when I’m teaching these models, there’s this really crazy thing that happens inside of each one of us

Teaching product marketing models

…it happened to me, and it still happens to me!

We see the goal and we see where we are currently, (and I’ve talked about this a little bit in the past), but what happens is I start to say:

“Oh, you know what? I actually… I’m not actually worthy to pull that off yet.”

And maybe ‘worthy’ isn’t the right word, but, “I’m not ready to pull something like that off yet???”

The ‘me’ of even a year and a half ago could NOT handle what I’m doing right now.

Handling product marketing

… it has nothing to do with systems and teams and all that stuff, ( I have those things now), but the ‘me’ of a year and a half ago would NOT be able to pull off what I’m doing right now….

There’s no way! I’ve grown way too much since then!

So what happens is we’re like, “Hey, I’m gonna go hit this goal,” and as we start progressing towards the goal, all of these little blocks, all these obstacles pop along the way.

Bam, bam, obstacle, obstacle, obstacle, obstacle…

Product marketing obstacle

… and tons of false beliefs about our capacities and our ability to move forward:

  • What should I be selling?
  • Who should I sell to?
  • “Oh, you know what? I’m glad that business didn’t work, otherwise, I’d be stuck selling in it.”

It’s like these scales that pop away from our characters and these character flaws just start melting away from us.

Product marketing false beliefs

…and this is a very not-fun thing to go through!

It’s one of the reasons why so many people don’t make it.

It has very little to do with the model that we’re teaching.

99% of the reason someone doesn’t make it in this game is that they can’t hack the growth. That’s it.

And that’s a false belief – EVERYONE can hack the growth.

I’m watching my little one-year-old:

  • She’s walking
  • She’s eating
  • She’s teething

Product marketing growth

…she’s going through a whole bunch of growth and it’s super similar to going through growth as an entrepreneur.

You can handle it, EVERYONE can handle the growth, but what they don’t have is confidence in their ability to execute.

Now that you know that about yourself, (and all these character flaws and things start popping up), what you have to be cognizant of is:

“Oh my gosh, I have these character flaws I didn’t know I had.”

Here’s what to do:

  • Write them down! Write them down!
  • Become conscious of them.
  • Don’t tackle ’em all at once.
  • Don’t compare yourself to another person.

It’s you against you, and it’s you against yesterday.

Steve Larsen product marketing tips

… so start writing down all the things that you’re starting to see in yourself, like, man… not that we’re seeking perfection…

That’s not what it’s about either!


  • I can’t do a podcast if I’m afraid of speaking – which I was!
  • I can’t sell if I’m afraid of talking.
  • I can’t sell if I’m like, “Man, I don’t know how to use ClickFunnels.”
  • … I’ve gotta go through a little bit of a learning curve to learn how to use ClickFunnels!

And all those pieces that’s why people don’t make it.

Will product marketing work for me

People ask, “Stephen, is this gonna work for me?”

“Uh, yes! But are you gonna work for it?”

*Flip that question around* Are you willing to do that?


As I watch some of the patterns inside of my audience and the ClickFunnels’ audience, and other places, these are 10 reasons that I see (just right off the bat) that someone’s product isn’t working.

10 reasons product marketing isn't working

Just by the way they’re speaking about their product, I know, “Oh, that’s easily why it’s not working for you.”


This is NOT a definitive list. This is the list that we just riffed off real quick the most common things that I see when it comes to…

  • Why your product is NOT selling
  • Not really doing a great job at marketing
  • Issues when you talk face-to-face about your product.
  • Massive issues and false beliefs around your capabilities.

So these are 10 things, (again, not definitive). I wasn’t even going for the number 10, it just happened.

I don’t wanna rank these and say, “This one’s more important than this one.” That’s NOT what I’m saying at all, but if you are doing any of these in your product marketing, you won’t be selling as much as you could be!


10 massive product marketing mistakes


How to market a product tip 1

(…and this is definitely one of the BIGGER reasons why people don’t sell well…)

Don’t do that!

  • Not everyone is a dream customer of mine.
  • I’m not trying to sell everybody.

I used to try to and anything that had a heartbeat.

“Come on over here. You keeping your options open?” … and all this stuff!

I kept trying to sell anything that had a heartbeat, and I went through 17 tries and then I learned what funnels were, and then it was another 17.

The second 17, I actually was breaking even – I was actually making money.

It was more money than I’d ever seen. It wasn’t tons, but it was like, “Wow! It’s working.”

One of the major differences between my first 17 attempts (over three and a half, four years) versus the 17 afterward, (which again was another three and a half, four years)…

YES – it took me a long time to try and figure this out!

“Stephen, it took you *that* long?” Yeah!”

Product marketing timeline

I’m sharing all the lessons so that you don’t have to go through that – ’cause it sucked.

Hopefully, you’re coming to OfferMind, so I can share more lessons with you.

To counteract this tendency to sell EVERYONE …

I get extremely clear on ‘WHO’ I want to sell.

The more clarity you have around ‘The Who’ the easier this entire game gets! #WorldsEasier.

It’s so much easier to figure out what you’re gonna sell when you just know:

  1. ‘WHO’ you’re selling
  2. WHAT their issues are.

Anyway, that’s #1


How to market a product tip 2


In fact, I saw a post yesterday and I was like… (crap, what day is it? It’s Tuesday, it might have been two or three days ago)…

Anyway, somebody said, “Who wants to get on and help make a better ClickFunnels?” [laughter] “And maybe we could go get funding for it?”

People started talking about how much money they were gonna go get…

“Let’s go get some VC funding. And yeah, who knows a coder that knows how to code some stuff?”

And I was like, “Man, that is destined for some serious failure already on so many levels.”

Not just the fact that they are taking on VC funding, but the fact that, by very definition, they were trying to make a better ClickFunnels!

Product marketing failure

….they’re already destined for failure.

ClickFunnels is already the category king of the funnel world. Be prepared to fight over the scraps, my friend.

Clickfunnels has 80% of the market share, so here’s your tiny share!

Product marketing share

ClickFunnels has something like 350 plus employees. I don’t even remember how many devs they have any more, but it’s A LOT.

The overhead they have just to keep the company up and moving… are you prepared to compete with that?

That’s exactly the fallacy that people have though!

This is in any industry…

For example; let’s say protein.

Someone’s like, “Oh, I’m gonna go make a better protein powder.”

That sucks!

Man, pull a Bulletproof Coffee.

Dave Asbury did a completely different thing than, “Let’s just make a better coffee.” He’s like, “Let’s put butter in it?” #What!

Product marketing coffee

The key here is that you don’t want to be better, you wanna be different or new.

Stop trying to be better.

I’m NOT trying to be better – that’s why I’m NOT the funnel guy even though I was a funnel guy at ClickFunnels.

It would be actual suicide for me to position myself as the funnel guy. I didn’t do that on purpose. I’m the offer guy ’cause it’s complimentary.

Offer creation was different, no one was doing it.

  • Be different rather than better.
  • Be new versus better.


Go read the books Play Bigger and Niche Downthose two books are awesome and very much talk about this piece.

So, go in and…

Study and learn how to create things that are different.

Different product marketing methods

I’m just gonna leave it there. This is NOT meant to be a dissertation.


How to market a product tip 3

I did an episode about this very subject recently – ’cause this is a HUGE deal, and it’s the reason WHY I wear The Capitalist Pig T-shirt so much.

The moment people understood what I’m personally, (not just product-wise), fighting for and fighting against – it calls the people who share my beliefs out.

They’re like, “Oh my gosh, me too.”

And guess what that did?

Product marketing divide

It definitely caused a divide.

I’m NOT trying to divide people; those thoughts and opinions about what I fight for and fight against, they were already there. I didn’t create them.

I’m trying to see what my market is fighting for and fighting against and which ones I agree and completely disagree with, and then just be REALLY LOUD about it.

Really loud product marketing

Just be more opinionated about the opinions I already have. I’m not creating it, I’m just being louder about it.

The mistake is when your customer has no idea what you fight for or fight against.

People wanna buy what you fight for and against as much as they wanna buy the product.

In fact, I think it was Seth Godin who said that there’s never been a time in the history of humanity where there’s been so much de-tribing happening.

There’s never been a time in history where there’s been so much separation amongst people.

People are wanting a tribe.

Product marketing tribe

People want to know where they should be and feel included, but equally, they don’t wanna be in places where they’re not supposed to be.

There are two equal levels…

  1. They wanna be included
  2. They don’t wanna be where they’re not supposed to be.

I’m giving people a place to belong by using the statement:

My name is ——— ——– and I am fighting FOR ——- #Blank ?! and fighting AGAINST ——- #Blank?!

By using this statement, I’m actually being a voice for a core human need.

When people don’t know what it is that you’re doing, (all you’re doing in their eyes), is trying to sell ’em another product.

When I know what you’re fighting against, I’m joining with a purpose.

I’m saying things like:

“The product is the way to fight for—– #Blank. The product is the way to fight against—— #Blank.”

People don’t know what you’re fighting for or against unless you can declare it.

Steve Larsen how to market a product

Know what that is that you’re fighting for and fight against.

I’m fighting for—– #blank! I’m fighting against—– # blank!

I fight for …

  • Entrepreneurs, especially new ones
  • Entrepreneurs that have done a million to 10, and they’re trying to get even bigger


I fight against Socialism.

That’s it in a nutshell.

I’m not saying don’t help people, that’s not it at all. I just believe I can help more people when I’m rich than when I’m poor.

And BOOM! …if loud about that offends you, I completely understand!

How to market a product like Steve Larsen

…. but just take the lesson. *That’s* exactly what I’m talking about.

There are people that are gonna want to learn from me because they’re like, “Yes! I’m for and against those same things Stephen.”

And then there are people who were like, “No, I don’t wanna do that.”

Fight for, fight against.

The way to help solve that mistake is just to listen.

How to market a product

Once you know who your dream customers are, listen to what they’re fighting for and fighting against and start sifting through…

  • Oh, you know what? No, I don’t fight for that!
  • I do fight that one
  • I fight against that one.
  • I fight for that one
  • I fight against that one.

“Thank you, dream customer base. I’m already really passionate about that. Why don’t I have that be my *FOR*”

I keep listening, listening, listening – that’s how I chose what I’m *FOR* and *AGAINST*


How to market a product tip 4

Now, this is a pretty common mistake.

I don’t remember what the stats are on this, but literally, we’re seeing thousands of ads and brands every day…

Digital marketing strategy stats

…even if we don’t know it, they’re just always around us, ads and brands all over the place, thousands of them.

Most people are leading with is their solution. Products are essentially a solution.

And what they’re going around and doing is saying like, “Hey, come follow me over here… solution, solution, solution, solution.”

That’s actually an issue.

Unless they’re actively seeking a solution, (which sometimes people are), but a lot of times people are not…

Make sure you lead with the problem, NOT the solution, and the way to do that is to actually know what problem you solve.

I feel like most of the time when I’m watching somebody’s funnel, they don’t know what problem they’re actually solving.

Solving digital marketing strategy

You should be able to say, “This is the problem that I solve.”

if you can’t say that …

If you don’t have clarity about what you do or the problem you solve, your customers don’t either.

In order to lead with the problem, you actually have to know what problem you solve – know the problem.


How to market a product tip 5

This is super common, I see this one a lot.

I just got this Apple Watch and they’re freaking cool. I’ve really enjoyed this thing. I’ve only had it 24 hours, and I’m amazed!

But I’ll tell you, all the features are NOT what sold it to me. What sold it for me, were certain stories about people using it and it actually improved their lives.

Apple digital marketing strategy

It had very little to do with features.

There are a few features I was excited for, but that’s not ultimately what did the sale.

What made the sale was my own narrative:

  • Oh man, I wanna get healthier.
  • I realized that I actually do spend a lot of time at the desk.
  • I know what I track always improves, (even if I don’t do anything else with it), if I just simply track it, things will improve.
  • Why don’t I track my health and I can become the identity that I know that I am, which is an athlete.
  • It’s just that I’ve been an entrepreneur in the past a little bit and getting the stuff off the ground…

I have’ an identity’ that the Apple watch gets me closer to.

So stop selling with features, no one usually cares.

Digital marketing strategy features

… they’re cool little ‘attaboys,’ but they’re NOT usually the reason why somebody buys.

Buying for features is very, very, very seldom, and don’t seek to be the exception there either because…

Story is greater than features.

Digital marketing strategy

Oh, what’s up son?!

*Story is greater than features*just keep that in your mind.

If you’re like “Oh my product needs one more feature to really make it awesome in order to sell.”

#TruthNuke! Features are NOT what they’re buying in the first place.

Do you have a story? This is a BIG one.

People start with talking about what’s in the offer – and you gotta tell people what’s in the offer but that’s so secondary, it’s like number 99 down the line.

Features are NOT what causes the buying emotion.

….if you don’t believe me, go find the podcast episode in Sales Funnel Radio called My Favorite Book, aka The Fake Book Story…

Product marketing book

… it’s the epitome of this principle!

Anyway, I’m just gonna keep going on these….


How to market a product tip 6

I’ve kinda talked about this one a little before, but you’ve gotta lead with the problem during your actual conversation with people…

Leading with the problem is how I create:

  • The Offer
  • The Marketing Message
  • The Story

But I’m saying ‘in the actual conversation’ you’re having over the phone or face-to-face, do NOT just start talking about features.

Product marketing features

The conversation needs to be guided around their problems.

Of course, you’re not gonna call them problems and come right out and ask, “What are your problems?” They’re not gonna call them that, right?

That’s NOT what I’m saying at all.

But you’re gonna focus on their issues.

Too many times, people walk up and talk with some other person, and they say, “Yes, and the product is this, so it’ll… And the product is this and does this and is this, is this….”

And most of the time, somebody who’s purchasing won’t always see how your product solves their problem.

That’s why you have to focus on the problem. You lead with the problem.

Product marketing problem

As far as conversation goes, it’s about their problems, NOT your solution. Eventually, you gotta get to the solution, but don’t start that way.

I guess that was kinda a remake of #4


How to market a product tip 7

Technobabble isn’t bad when you’re talking to someone else who understands it!

But if you don’t understand it, “Man you feel lost in the sauce.”

A few nights ago, we had some friends over to hang out and play a fun card game, and it was awesome, but they started talking about a show that neither my wife nor I had seen…

Steve Larsen digital marketing strategy

…. and I’m not gonna lie for a little while there it got a little bit awkward.

And I know they read this, ‘What’s up guys!”

Digital marketing strategy principle

…but this is to illustrate the principle.

(I’m laughing because I’m gonna be made fun of for this… but I’ve never seen Stranger Things … I’m planning OfferMind, baby!)

However, we’ve all been in a scenario where you’re just like, “I don’t understand what they’re talking about,” and it’s fine…


In a sales scenario, a confused mind always says, “No.”

I love Experts Secrets where it talks about how if there’s anything that you perceive as being technobabble, you add what’s called a kinda like bridge

Russell Brunson digital marketing strategy

…that’s what Russell calls it and I love that title for it.

So instead of using technobabble, you add a ‘Kinda Like’ bridge

Instead of saying like, “Beta-hydroxybutyrate,” you say, “…it’s kinda the coals on fire at a campfire. You know how they burn a long time – that’s kinda like what that is.”

Then your customer’s brain is like, “Oh, I get it!”

The human brain learns by building off where it already is.

We don’t learn these random pieces of information and then be like, “How does that connect?” There are very few people on this planet do that.

New digital marketing strategy

Instead, we learn by starting at a place of understanding and then seeing how it relates to the NEW thing.

That’s how we all learn, and that’s how your sales message has to be.

Does that make sense?


How to market a product tip 8

In general, some of these mistakes are slightly overlapped, but when there’s no origin story that’s a massive mistake.

The Origin Story is the easiest of the stories (usually) to create, but it’s also the one that can take more time.

Just ’cause it takes more time doesn’t mean it’s hard, but it can take more time.

You have to go through and test it and see which parts of the story are actually resonating with your people. People are buying the story.

One of my favorite examples was at an event I was speaking at a little while ago; I told everybody to close their eyes and I said:

“Guys, I wanna tell you about this really amazing time and I’m gonna lie my face off.”

Fake book product marketing

I’d already done The Fake Book Story, so I was like, “Hey, I’m gonna lie my face off, but it’s to illustrate another principle, check this out….”

I came home from my college classes one day and I walk up to my apartment. I open up the door and the moment I opened the door, there’s an amazing aroma of food.

You can tell that there’s been preparation in there.

I open up the door and I just get hit with this big old blast of amazing food smell…

…and sure enough, on the kitchen table in our little apartment, there was this incredible spread of food.

I kick my shoes off and walk across the floor over that one place that always creaks. You know that spot – it ALWAYS creaks down.

I walk over and my wife is there making this amazing spread of food. She had on this apron and I totally dipped her back and gave her a kiss, and we just had a fun evening together.

Product marketing

Then, I stopped and said, “Okay, now let’s think about this, what food did you imagine?”

I had people saying…

  • Pizza
  • Thanksgiving
  • Lasagna

What’s funny is everyone had imagined a different spread of food.

Product marketing food

I said, “That’s really interesting. I was imagining a different kind of food than you all did – that’s weird, that’s my story though.”

I said, “Now, what was the color of the door that you opened up?”

And people were like…

  • I was imagining this house we used to live in
  • I was imagining this apartment we used to live in.

I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting. We were living in these college apartments with a blue door.”I remember that blue door.”

I said, “ Now what was the color of the carpet?”

Everyone had a different color.

I said, “Well, that’s weird.”

“And then I walk across the carpet, and remember there’s that one spot that squeaks, do you remember what the squeak sounded like?”

Sales Funnel Radio how to market a product

…people started making the squeak!

I’m like, “That’s funny, man. The squeak was different in my head than in your head. That’s really crazy. I wonder why that happens?”

You have to understand that telling a story allows others to become the protagonist in ‘your’ story.

They become the main character in your story and they use their backgrounds and facts and experiences to experience your emotions.

That’s why story is so powerful.

To not have a story is NOT a small deal, it’s a HUGE deal.

Story is what people buy; people don’t buy the offer, the offer is just the justification, The story is what creates the buying emotions.


How to market a product tip 9

Said another way…

People are selling the drill rather than the hole. You’re selling the sizzle, not the steak.

You know what I’m saying?

You gotta sell what your thing allows them to become and do and why it allows them to get closer to the who (#MyAppleWatch 😉) they know they are.

It’s very easy to buy and justify certain things when people are like, “Well, I am a—– # Blank.”

And you’re like, “I know. That’s why we created this so that you can have that!”

They’re like, “I get it!”

It’s very easy to sell stuff when you sell the sizzle, not the steak.


How to market a product tip 10

Probably the number one reason I notice people don’t make sales is that they don’t close – they just don’t ask for the sale.

People go in and say, “Well, I told the story, Stephen. I have an offer. I had a great hook.”

I’m like, “How come they didn’t buy? Tell me what your closes were? What were the logical reasons to act now?”

Logical product marketing

“Well, I don’t know if I had any closes?”

*COUGH* Well, that would be the reason no one bought!

People are waiting for permission to take action; most of the time you just have to give it to them.

Q: “Is this something you could see yourself actually using in the future? ‘Cause I feel like it could be a great fit for you.”

A: “Oh yeah, totally.”

Q: “Do you think that this would be something that you’d want sooner or later? Would you want these results now or maybe in a year from now?”

A: “Oh, you know, I’d like them now.”

Q: “Debit or credit?”

BAM! Just go straight in for it.

Sales Funnel Radio product marketing

… and usually, the sale begins if they say, “NO.”


These are some of the major mistakes people make when they’re talking about or selling their product.

Major product marketing mistakes

  1. They sell it to everybody, but not everyone’s gonna buy. In fact, there’s a dream slice that is pre-destined to purchase. I want them.
  2. Selling what’s different and new rather than what’s better. No one cares about the better.
  3. What are you fighting for and fighting against? That lets them join with you.
  4. Lead with the problem, not the solution. That’s very key, that’s a HUGE marketing lesson.
  5. Story outweighs features – ’cause they’re not buying features. They’re buying the story.
  6. Your conversation about the product needs to be focused on their problems, not what you do. They’re like, “Oh man, I thought this was about me and if it was a good fit for me? …and you just keep talking about yourself Sales guy!”
  7. Don’t technobabble
  8. Make sure you have an origin story
  9. Sell the problem not the solution
  10. Always close

I wanna thank you so much for being part of what I do, and hopefully, you’ll choose to come to OfferMind.


If you’re just starting out you’re probably studying a lot. That’s good. You’re probably geeking out on all the strategies, right? That’s also good.

But the hardest part is figuring out what the market wants to buy and how you should sell it to them, right?

That’s what I struggled with for a while until I learned the formula.

So I created a special Mastermind called an OfferMind to get you on track with the right offer, and more importantly the right sales script to get it off the ground and sell it.

OfferMind product marketing

Wanna come?

There are small groups on purpose, so I can answer your direct questions in person for two straight days.

You can hold your spot by going to

How to market a product OfferMind

Again, that’s

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