5 “No B.S.” Positioning Strategies from the Authority Marketing Summit

Authority Marketing PillarsThere is no shortage of B.S. in a world where marketing experts are popping up on every block. Dan Kennedy who was the main presenter for the Authority Marketing conference on the other hand, is a marketing super hero.

Retro mustache and all, he has done over 3,500 paid speeches in the last decade which generated a million dollars a year in fees and products sold.  Compare that to a bucketful of web experts, who are 100% all in on how the internet is the ONLY way to build authority and you will have some contemplating to do.

Dan frequently commands $19,000 a day for one on one work with him and if you want to go hourly, it’ll be $3,300 an hour.

Dan presented things that were outside the norm of most recent marketing conferences I have been to. He’s a brilliant marketer, who has not focused much on the internet but that is exactly what makes his deep dive into building authority so interesting.

He doesn’t check email and if you want to order his products or work with him, he asks that you fax his assistant…

In the workbook for the conference it says: “Mr. Kennedy does not personally use the internet or receive or respond to online communications.”

This will surely turn some people off. That is just the way he wants it, so the people he does connect with become raving fans.

In this 3 post series, you will learn the essential takeaways from Dan and his Authority Marketing system, to help you grow your business and thought leadership.

Opening statements about the benefits of Authority Marketing

Being an authority awards you with:

  • The power to prescribe solutions
  • Opportunity to lead the field
  • Ability to set and enforce laws – like how you want customers to work with you as opposed to being an order taker
  • Power to (Arbitrarily*) set and levy taxes – which means essentially, to generate cash on the spot when you need it because you have an eager client base
    *Make what competitors do irrelevant

Strategic Authority Marketing

The two main themes of the conference were:

  1. Public speaking – If Dan Kennedy can generate more per year just from speaking than many small internet marketing companies, this tactic needs stronger consideration in your authority arsenal.Dan averages $25,000 per speech and often earns over $100,000 to audiences of 15,000 to 30,000 people. He sells products and successfully “whale hunts” for large clients at his talks with no booking agent.
  1. Writing and Media – Dan is the author of 27 marketing books by 7 different US publishers including his No B.S book series. He says he “wrote himself into existence” and has been writing at least an hour a day year round since he can remember. According to Dan, as an authority, you must “publish or perish”.

The Dan Kennedy Authority Marketing System includes:

  • Selecting an audience
  • That belong to a particular industry or group
  • Gather in certain places
  • Read certain media
  • Talk to each other a lot
  • To which you can be of specific interest, value…
  • Make a lot of noise there
  • Put out a lot of ideas and information there (Write and Publish and Disseminate)
  • (Physically, personally) engage people, give them ideas, DEMONSTARETE your breadth and depth of knowledge and your “differentiation” (Speak)
  • Also pay to advertise
  • Cultivate Influencers
  1. Pick a niche

The first part of the system is to pick a target market or niche. Trying to be all things to all people gets you nowhere. When you target a certain industry and group of people, you have a much easier time marketing to them.

  1. Write to a very specific target audience / persona

When you write, you need to connect with your audience. That is only possible if you have a clear picture of who they are and their likes and dislikes.

  1. Your personal narrative is critical, if you want to be persuasive

Dan joked about how professional marketers or writers will want him to take out things like personal stories of failure and success of the people he is marketing. He feels it is all about personal narrative and your hero journey, so he vetoes these edits.

Last week, I wrote about Michael Port’s philosophy when getting booked solid. He says: “Your unique value proposition may be less important than how you express how you see the world and who you believe we can be.”

This is similar to what Dan is saying. It’s not just how many years you have been in business, your price or even the high profile people you serve but how you can empathize with your audience and what your philosophy is.

Just make sure the narrative you tell is custom made for a specific audience rather than one just your mother or team members like.

  1. Where you are seen and who you are seen with determines how you are perceived

Dan has appeared as a speaker with: Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Zig Zigler, Johnny Cash, Joe Montana, Donald Trump and countless others. He says that with this resume he doesn’t need a “demo tape” to get a speaking gig.

Dan has also been covered by 60 Minutes, Time, USA Today, People, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Success magazines as well as over 300 trade and industry journals.

Having a book and credentials like the above is light years ahead of the average sale’s person’s tactics of having some credentials and trophies on the wall.

  1. Be bold and be the big dog

Dan frequently used the current cast of political characters on both sides of the fence to illustrate his ideas.

He cited the presidential announcement speech of Donald Trump as a brilliant way to look big. Donald used his grand Trump Tower setting, coming down the escalator with his queen by his side, to make his opening remarks. While Scott Walker announced between bales of hay…

He then went on to say that size matters.  I often discuss how size matters in relation to the amount of pages on your site, links and social shares etc. but this is a great point of appearing larger than life, as being an important factor in commanding authority.


At the top of what Dan calls the hierarchy pyramid of income and power, is: Celebrity + Expert/Authority + Certified specialist and at the bottom of course are the generalists. Which would you rather be?

Dan Kennedy“The simple truth is, if you aren’t deliberately, systematically, methodically — or rapidly and dramatically — establishing yourself as a celebrity, at least to your clientele and target market, you’re asleep at the wheel, ignoring what is fueling the entire economy around you, neglecting development of a measurably valuable asset.”– Dan S. Kennedy

The most influential people don’t leave their power to persuade up to chance but rather they work on it systematically.

At the Authority Marketing Summit, Adam Witty in the keynote quoted Abe Lincoln who said “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”

So get ready to sharpen your mind before heading out on your systematic authority and influence journey.

In part 2 we will explore how you can proactively use paid public speaking engagements to get larger clients and sell products from the stage.

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