Marketing arbitrage for thought leaders

According to Wikipedia arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets. I had to ask Wikipedia because my dad wasn’t sure. (It’s also a 2012 movie that gets a rating of 6.7 on IMDB … but I digress).

Marketing arbitrage is a term I’ve coined for when you can take advantage of a differential between the effort and the return of a particular marketing activity – when you can do something that is relatively cheap and easy, but for some reason the response from the market is out of proportion to that effort. 

Ten years ago Google ads were like that. Ads that now cost $5 used to cost 5c, and for a while it was pretty easy to get a response out of proportion to the spend. Now the market has caught up. I still use Google Ads, but much more judiciously.

I reckon there are two marketing arbitrage opportunities for Thought Leaders right now – write a book, and use LinkedIn properly.

Writing a book used to be really hard. You had to write it, send it to a bunch of publishers, get picked, go through a rigorous editing and production process, and then if you jumped through all those hoops, you were an author. Consequently there is a certain kudos that comes with writing a book. 


Now writing a book is much easier. You don’t have to be picked by anyone, and it’s up to you how rigorously you do anything. I just got a book in the mail called Convert by Frank Kern (the guy is a marketing genius, and I bought the book to check out the email sequence that would come after I bought it rather than for the book itself). It’s a 70-page word doc, double-spaced, with zero design, bound in a bright yellow cover that’s barely a step above comb binding, and I’m sure costs under $2 a copy. But it’s a book – and you could have one done in an afternoon if you wanted to.

However the market still hasn’t caught up … the perception is still that if you are an author you must know what you’re talking about. If you have a book you’ll get paid more as a speaker, booked more, and be positioned better across your practice. So if you do know what you’re talking about, get your book written (and even though you could produce something in an afternoon, don’t … it's still your book, so make it great).

Using LinkedIn at the moment feels a bit the same. When someone we don’t know emails us, it feels like (or is) spam. If they call us to sell something, it’s even worse. If a piece of direct mail arrives, it's lucky if it briefly makes it out of the envelope on the way to the bin. But for some reason communication through LinkedIn is treated differently. I’m not sure how long this arbitrage will last, but while it does I reckon it’s a great way to connect to your market and engage with your prospective customers.

Love to hear your thoughts – are there any other marketing arbitrage opportunities I should know about? You can leave them below.