How to resonate more deeply with your audience – Jay Acunzo

Jay Acunzo, Host, Unthinkable Podcast
In this interview with global keynote speaker, host of Unthinkable podcast and multiple times author, Jay Acunzo - we'll explore what it really means to resonate with your audience, and more importantly - how to do it.

Key takeaways on how to resonate more deeply with your audience

  • Don’t be the best. Be their favorite.
  • You’re a great marketer if you focus on people who are already aware of you. Your job, then, is to make them really care for you.
  • Create value. Don’t just describe value.
  • It’s not that you don’t have enough You actually haven’t figured out how to build a business for a small but passionate group of people.

[08:26] What is the “best” Disney film of all time?

  • Everyone has a different answer.
  • When we use words like “best”, we interpret that as “my favorite”.
  • We, as marketers, always try to be the biggest and the best, when in reality, the goal is not to be the best, but their favorite.
    • We have the capability to resonate deeper at an emotional level with others.
  • The job of a marketer is to create irrational bias toward us.
  • When we say “resonance” in front of a group of marketers, they tend to think “reach”.
    • It’s not about one’s follower count or getting in front of people.
    • Rather, let’s regard “resonance” as “awareness” in order to create “affinity”.
    • Reach=How many see it.
    • Resonance=How much they care.

[18:16] If you build it, they will not come.

  • Shipping your work is sharing your work.
    • Solve a problem.
    • Inspire someone.
    • Change something that you feel is broken.
  • However, marketers are not meant to reach out to total strangers.
    • Think of marketing not as a funnel, but as concentric circles.
      • The outer ring is total strangers.
      • You have gradations of relationship until you get to the bullseye in the middle, which is passionate fans.
    • If your fans are not passionate enough to talk about you and share what you’re doing with other people, that’s your problem.
      • You don’t have a distribution problem, but a product problem; i.e. you have a resonance

[22:26] “But… my boss…”

  • Have you tried to have the conversation?
    • You probably have a boogeyman boss lingering in your mind… who isn’t your real
  • You’re a problem-solver, not an agenda-pusher. You’re also not your ideas.
    • “I understand and share your goals; but, I think I found a better/new way to get there faster.”

Q and A on how to resonate more deeply with your audience with Jay Acunzo

[26:52] Q: Which brands truly have their customers’ feelings and emotions at the heart of their brand and communications?

A: I hesitate citing brands who look just like us. I look outside marketing. I look at anyone with passionate fans (ex. comedians, musicians, etc.). We should look outside our echo chamber. In the marketing world, I admire 360Learning, which created a docu-series called Onboarding Joei. It looks like a Netflix series, but the glossy production isn’t the point. The reason it works was because of the stuff it was willing to put on display: The stuff everybody was going through but nobody wanted to acknowledge about onboarding to a new job, which is that… it’s a mess, it’s hard, it’s emotional. The result of the series wasn’t viral sensation but “I feel seen.”


[32:26] Q: How do you know what to share? How do you find the point of resonance?

A: Goodhart’s law says: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” When the numbers become our goals, they cease being good numbers to track. Every goal should sound like a plain-language explanation of the change you want to make (ex. “teach our audiences how to become better podcasters in the next 30 days”, “create the most helpful blog in the world for marketers who podcast”, etc.) Those are goals. How do you measure your progress toward the goals? You have numbers at your disposal. Don’t ask, “What can we do next quarter to hit those numbers?” but “What can we do next quarter to make a difference?” What we should see is that the numbers go up.


[41:39] Q: What are the essential aspects to making online advertising (ex. social media) not feel like advertising, but a connection with the audience?

A: “Story” has become a buzzword in marketing. A story is just a communication vehicle for solving a problem. Typically, what we don’t do is, we don’t agitate the pain enough; we don’t increase the stakes; we don’t add tension to the way we speak. Story structure, very simply, is: status quo + tension + resolution. Create value. Don’t just describe value. That’s marketing.


[44:27] Q: Can you walk us through how you stay in touch with your market?

A: I’m solving a problem, but I have more questions than answers. I’m trying to answer a question that Google can’t answer, so I launch a quest. Create something independently yours and ship something. Your ideas will get better just because you’re forcing yourself to articulate it. As a bonus, if a couple of people start to give you feedback, that feedback loop becomes a virtuous cycle.


[47:30] Q: Can you think of any brands that did resonate well, but never got enough eyeballs for some reason?

A: A lot of times, this is a business-model-to-audience-model problem. Your 1000 true fans aren’t your 1000 subscribers. We’re talking about the lifetime value of the audience. I don’t think you would have a marketing problem. I actually think it’s a vision problem; it’s a leadership problem; it’s an entrepreneurial problem. It’s not that you don’t have enough people. You actually haven’t figured out how to build a business for a small but passionate group of people. And if you don’t have passion alone, I can’t help you.


[51:53] Q: How do you resonate with contacts when you’re selling a necessary product rather than something they want to have?

A: You have to meet them where they’re at. Start with what you already know they want. If there’s a divide between what your customers want and what you’re offering, you’re in the change business. You can’t tell them to change. You need a better story.


[55:35] Q: How do you create consistent resonance when you have an offline and an online presence/a big organization/lots of staff/etc.?

A: You become inescapably relevant, irresistible, and obvious. You do that not by changing your whole company, but by creating case studies showing that this is how everybody should operate.