They Ask You Answer – Marcus Sheridan: Book Review

Today, when digital ads and commercials are considered Jurassic, to put it mildly, businesses are constantly struggling to stand out. As customer behavior evolves, the need to bring up creative sales strategies is something to focus on.

But how do you simplify marketing? Listed among the Forbes “11 Marketing Books Every CMO Should Read”, Marcus Sheridan’s, “They Ask You Answer”, one of the best content marketing books of its kind, addresses this question adeptly by showcasing how and why the customers should take a central stage in your business.

Many describe the book as a simplified “sustainable growth plan” for businesses. This claim holds in multiple ways, and since its publication in 2017, it has proven to be a revolutionary strategy for marketers to drive growth. But how does it do it?

Simpler Content Marketing?

Simplifying content marketing goes together with effective contentment marketing. How do you achieve this?

“They Ask You Answer” offers simplified, structured and easy-to-carry-out lessons, acting as a guidebook for up-and-coming small and medium businesses and marketers around the world. These are some of the major lessons for becoming “the most trusted voice in your industry.” as Sheridan puts it.

  1. Engage customers by addressing their fears.
  2. Know the factors to consider when creating content.
  3. Listen to questions and educate customers.
  4. Keep the customers at the center.

Connecting by Remedying Customer Fears

What does your content contribute to the customer? Understanding the customer is paramount to every business out there, and should influence your content’s function. If it fails to address customer fears and does not offer answers that consumers might be looking for, your content does not stand to achieve much.

Even before customers make contact, the company should be ready to address any anxieties or fears that might impact the buying decision. This can be done by prioritizing content that informs customers. How-to guides, reviews, and videos act well enough. In the end, ensuring that the content recognizes necessities, reassures customers and offers solutions translates into better sales.

Four Aspects of Content Creation

Sheridan lists the four major aspects that need focus in any content creation process.

  • Price is a key decisive factor for any customer, so ensuring a cost that truly reflects value is crucial.
  • In your approach to inbound sales, display with honesty, the positives and the negatives, and present objective descriptions.
  • Comparison is a great tool to highlight how well your product holds up with competitors
  • Use reviews to help customers make decisions informed by the experiences of others like them.

Educate Customers

One of the primary objectives of marketers, before brand-building, should be to become better educators and listeners. Employing the right content for the sales process gives you customers who are ready to buy and are a better fit for your business. This ensures your content marketing resources are put to use more effectively.

Marketers need to earn customer trust through teaching. They should provide information that allows consumers to solve problems. Since educational content can draw customers more effectively, integrating informative content into your sales strategy helps increase traffic, sales, and brand awareness.

Sheridan advises marketers to be better listeners and answer every customer question while conveying the truth in its entirety. In short, listening, teaching, and solving problems with transparency are the keys to customer trust.

Also, creating educational content and driving traffic organically requires you to answer the Big 5 questions. These questions, when addressed, have been known to increase the stream of qualified leads and enhance your approach to inbound sales within a short period.

  1. What’s the price and cost of your solution?
  2. What are the problems with the solution?
  3. How does the solution compare with other competitors and alternatives?
  4. What are others saying about your solution?
  5. Who are your best competitors?

Why You Need to Obsess Over What the Customers Think

Sheridan proposes a marketing philosophy that isn’t alien to us but often forgotten. That is, the customers should be at the center of your strategies.

This means that everything the customer thinks about your business or product matters. Address their fears related to what might be wrong with products. But when doing so, assure customers that they are in control. Empathy in content marketing goes a long way.

Companies ought to encourage customers to consume content and get educated on products. In a way, your content will help you screen the leads, so that either a customer hates you or loves you and plans to buy from you.

They Ask You Answer is one of the earliest content marketing guides of its kind, and can easily be called one of the best content marketing books out there. It does a great job of covering all the essential aspects required for small or midsize business marketers to enhance their content marketing resources and strategies. It suggests a methodology that centers around nurturing customers for growth.

The book, at its core, tries to convey that obsessing over the question, “What is the customer thinking?” is where marketers should start. Many marketers take this mantra for granted, but Sheridan tries to radically reaffirm it as an ideal for better marketing.

Sheridan’s business philosophy recognizes that customer trust is an all-important aspect that needs to be won for more meaningful and visible improvements.


No. of pages: 240 pages

Reading time: 5 Hours

Rating: 4.5/5

Get the book here

they ask you answer - Marcus Sheridan: Book Review
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