Enticing or Entitled — Kelford Labs Weekly

Which era are you in?

Enticing or Entitled — Kelford Labs Weekly

Over the years, I’ve noticed that expert service providers often go through distinct “eras” of their marketing.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ve named two of these eras “Entitled” and “Enticing.”

Essentially, early in a business’s life or an entrepreneur’s marketing maturity, they’ll often start from a position that borders on entitlement. Their marketing is often self-obsessed, scattered, and broad. It’s rewarded with frustration, inefficiency, and inconsistency.

Over time, as they learn more about their customers and their value, they shift into their enticing era. Instead of focusing on themselves, their marketing is focused on the customer, and how they experience value. It’s rewarded with increased ease, efficiency, and quality.

To show you what I mean, I’m going to tell you a few stories of two entrepreneurs. One in their Entitled era, the other in their Enticing era.

Story 1: Fame vs. Focus

 “Because if you’re really good, you don’t actually need that many people to know who you are for enough of them to buy—and keep buying—from you.”

Kelford Labs Daily: The Folly of Fame


This entrepreneur, soon after starting their consulting business, decided to run ads in a prominent industry publication. The copy was pithy and pointed, with a clear perspective. The landing page it directed to was an articulate manifesto on the consultant’s industry and what set them apart. The investment was significant and the hopes were high.

The ad netted few clicks and fewer prospects.


This entrepreneur, many years into their practice, sent out their recent newsletters to partners, clients, and prospects that they knew would especially benefit from the content, and they invited these contacts to provide their thoughts and ask specific questions. This required them to know who in particular would especially benefit from the content, and it kept them focused on creating real value for the client while making the content.

This outreach regularly turned into long-lasting conversations and purchases.


Early in our Entitled era, it’s easy to think that people just need to know about us to know they should buy from us.

We seek fame over focus.

But as we transition into our Enticing era, we capitalize on what we’ve learned about and from our ideal clients, and how they perceive our value.

That allows us to be targeted in our outreach, and to build a reputation for being consistently credible—rather than a flash-in-the-pan advertisement that’s about us instead of about our customers.

Story 2: Platform vs. Product

“Your job isn’t to tell people your industry exists, it’s to let your best customers know that you’re the best option for them, given the multitude of choices they could make.”

Kelford Labs: The Game of Wasting Money


This entrepreneur wanted to build a media platform, a base from which they could promote their products or services. They started a podcast and assumed that its popularity would turn into prospects for their main business. The name and domain were really good.

What happened, though, is they had to direct their energy into building a following for their platform and they had fewer resources to promote their services.

And they ended up with a handful of followers and prospects. 


This entrepreneur understood the business they’re in, and knew that it’s easier to promote a product than it is to build a platform.

So they promoted their ideas on other people’s podcasts, in other people’s webinars, and in other people’s workshops and conferences. They benefited from the time, energy, and resources that other people have invested in building their platforms.

So, instead of focusing on building a large following of fans, this entrepreneur focused on building credibility with potential customers.


It turns out, building a promotional platform is harder than simply promoting a business.

It’s tempting to want to be the main draw in our industry or speciality, and to want to be everything to everybody instead of narrowly targeted toward specific buyers. But that takes us away from our main work, our main job, our main business, and shifts our priorities toward fame and fan acquisition, and away from delivering meaningful value.

In our Enticing era, we can focus on what makes us special, different, and uniquely valuable to our very best customers—which probably isn’t our media savvy, entertainment value, or our ability to build a platform.

It’s our ability to do our main work.

Story 3: Peers vs. Partners

“Remember: It is all about credibility in the eyes of our buyers, our clients, our customers. Not about impressing our peers or taking down a particular competitor.”

Kelford Labs Daily: Tell a Good Story First


This entrepreneur set their sites on awards and recognition from their peers.

They wanted to be their industry’s Business of the Year and win some specialized awards that all their competitors were vying for. They invested time, energy, and money into award applications and campaigns. 

And none of their customers even noticed.


In their Enticing era, this entrepreneur knew that the recognition that matters and turns into revenue are testimonials and referrals from customers.

The best “award” a business can win is a long-term customer relationship, and most customers have no awareness of internal industry awards. All the time that used to go into awards and peer recognition could now go into acquiring articulate and enticing testimonials from happy clients and partners. 

Prospects notice when their own peers say good things about a business—they have no awareness of what the business’s peers are saying about them.


When we try to impress or flex on our peers or competitors, we end up talking past our customers.

And we focus too much on what everyone else is doing, instead of paying attention to what our best clients value most. In our Enticing era, we can have the confidence to ignore industry hype and hyperfocus on the thing our clients actually pay attention to.

Which is their industry, not ours.

Shifting Eras

So, as you probably guessed, both of these entrepreneurs were/are me. Well, us.

We did all those things entitled entrepreneurs so often do.

But, over time, we learned to focus on the value we provide to our very best customers, and we learned to demonstrate that value in more clear and credible ways.

Now, it would be beyond hubris to think we’re at some final state—that we’ve in any way perfected our approach.

But we’ve definitely moved through eras, and we’re far more focused on our clients and how they perceive our value than we were when we first started.

They say business never gets easier (many entrepreneurs insist it only gets harder over time), but I believe marketing does get easier.

Or, at least, it can. It can become less frustrating, less maddening, and less wasteful.

It just takes an increasing focus on what our best clients value most, and less and less focus on blending in, besting our competitors, or impressing our peers.

The goal is not fame, but the focused attention of a targeted buying group. One that values us more than all other alternatives, and which happily recommends us to their peers.

The goal is not to build an entire platform, but the power to promote ourselves across all available and efficient platforms, media, and contexts.

And the goal is not to win the affection of our peers or competition, it’s to win the business of our best customers, again and again, because we deliver value nobody else can.

So, which era are you in?

And what can you do to continue becoming more and more enticing for the clients who value you most?

Want to demonstrate your unique value to the customers that matter most? We’ll show you the way to always knowing what to say. Learn more at KelfordInc.com.