Make Marketing Suck Less

How The Sunk-Cost Fallacy Changed This Podcast



There comes a time in your business when you know something is not working.

It might be your message. It might be how you're choosing to market.

There's something nagging at you that you know you need to change, but are putting it off.

You put it off because you might love what you've created. You might keep trying to optimize it, trying to make it work. If you tweak this one thing, then it will take off, but it hasn't.

So how do you know when to give up?

How do you know when to give up on a message or a marketing strategy?

For me, this is a struggle I've been facing for the past 2 years.

I wanted to share with you how I knew it was time to let something go, plus a pretty big announcement about the future of this podcast.

(Click play or read the transcript below.)

In this episode:

  • The story of my personal sunk cost fallacy
  • Two realizations that changed the future of this podcast
  • Why this new messaging is even more rebellious  
  • The new, innovative topics we’ll cover in the podcast

Learn more about Michelle Mazur:


Listen on your favorite podcast player or read the Transcript below:

Michelle Mazur [00:00:00]

There comes a time in your business when you know something is not working. It might be your message. It might be how you're choosing to market, but there's something nagging at you that you know you need to change, but are putting it off.

And you put it off because you might love what you've created. You might keep trying to optimize it, trying to make it work. If you tweak this one thing, then it will take off, but it hasn't.

So how do you know when to give up? How do you know when to give up on a message or a marketing strategy? For me, this is a struggle I've been facing for the past 2 years. And I wanted to share with you how I knew it was time to let something go, plus a pretty big announcement about the future of this podcast. So let's do it.

Michelle Mazur [00:01:06]: Get ready for the Rebel Uprising podcast, the only podcast dedicated to business owners who feel overlooked for their expertise, skills, and experience. Let's claim your expertise and turn your complex ideas into unmistakable messaging that grows your business. I am your host, Dr. Michelle Mazur, the author of The Three Word Rebellion and your Rebel Truth Telling guide to building a business that gets noticed.

Michelle Mazur [00:01:46]: I left the cold opening of the podcast on a pretty big cliffhanger. What is the future of the Rebel Uprising podcast? I want to say first to put your mind at ease that this podcast isn't going anywhere. You'll still be getting the same strategic insights and marketing, but the packaging is about to change.

Before I tell you what that is and how I went about discovering this change that I wanted to make I wanted to talk to you about a little something called Sunk Cost Fallacy. According to the Decision Lab, the sunk cost fallacy describes our tendency to follow through on an endeavor if we have already invested time, effort, or money into it, whether or not the current costs outweigh the benefits.

And we see examples of sunk cost fallacy all over our businesses. So if you've ever purchased a course. And you keep thinking, “Oh, I just need to finish this. I have to get it done. I should do this before I make another move in my business or invest in something that's gonna move my business forward.” That is sunk cost fallacy. Another example, posting on social media, even though you know it's not working.

We just talked about this in the Expert Up Club. Like, when should you just let go and archive some of the stuff you've put out on Instagram, especially when you know what you put out a few years ago isn't actually what you want to be known for anymore.

So we are all susceptible to sunk cost fallacy. Even me.

So here's my story of sunk cost fallacy. About 2 years ago, Jeremy Enns, who was the founder of the Podcast Marketing Academy, which I am a part of, and he's also a friend of this podcast. He told me that the name of the show could be holding its growth back.

And I'll be honest. I didn't wanna hear it 2 years ago. I didn't want to admit it to myself. I'm a messaging person. Right? I should be nailing my own message. And I do love the spirit of Rebel Uprising. And I love thinking about all of you rebels causing a stir in your industry, but ever since he planted that seed, I have noticed that the growth of this podcast is absolutely flat.

I get about the same downloads month after month for the past 2 years. So Jeremy was right. He told me that the podcast was hard for people to search for and hard to find. And what the podcast is about when you do find it isn't clear, although I think the podcast description of the show makes it clear when you're searching for something to listen to, the title has to do that heavy lifting.

I'm realizing that podcasting is not the place to be abstract with your title. And hopefully that title will intrigue people enough so they want to read the podcast description. That's too many steps.

So Jeremy was right.

The decision to change the name of the podcast has been niggling at my brain for a while now. So I wanted to take you behind the scenes about how I'm thinking about repositioning and renaming the podcast, so that I can let the Rebel Uprising Podcast go and usher in a new era.

So the way I went about this was to do a little bit of a positioning exercise. And if you don't know what positioning is, that is cool. Most solo business owners do not.

So positioning as Al Ries defines it in his book, “Positioning”, it's the place that your business, your offer, your newsletter, your podcast occupy in the mind of your client and your audience. The cool thing is, oh, we, as business owners, get to choose where we want to put our offerings inside the mind of our clients.

So a great way to look at positioning is to pick 2 different attributes or 2 different characteristics. And it doesn't matter what characteristics you choose. You can actually have multiple positioning maps when you're thinking about your offer or podcast or newsletter or whatever it is. I think the important thing is to choose characteristics that you want to compete on.

When I started looking at how I could reposition this podcast. I picked 2 different characteristics. The first was the emotional tone of the title, positive versus negative. And I'll tell you a little bit about negativity bias in just a second because it was an important part of my thinking about the new name for the podcast. So positive and negative were the first characteristics I wanted to compete on.

Then the second characteristic was strategic versus tactical. Now, as a reminder, I could choose anything for these axes. And if you want to see the map, click on the podcast and go to the show notes on my website, and you can see how I laid this out. So why did I choose strategic versus tactical and positive versus negative?

Well, what I've noticed in the marketing space is that there are a lot of actionable podcasts, tons of them. And you know them because it usually says actionable in the podcast description as if that's a differentiator in the space anymore. Then I chose positive and negative because of something called negativity bias.

This is a cognitive bias that refers to the tendency for people to pay more attention to and give more weight to negative information, then positive information. So if you want to get somebody's attention, especially somebody who doesn't know you yet, having a slight negative twist can help you stand out.

So a great example of this was there is a paper in Russia called The Daily Reporter, and they recently decided to have a good news day. Nothing but positive headlines to uplift and inspire people. So what happened when they had their Good News Day? Well, according to this BBC headline, Good News Day disseminates website readership.

Oh, now there's, like, a negative balance headline. Decimates. Yes. So within 20 hours of having Good News Day. The traffic to this website tanked. People were not clicking on things. They were not sharing. They were not visiting the site for news.

And I know people say that they want positive but our cognitive bias will always draw us to the negative. So when I started thinking about changing the podcast name, which I will tell you in a few minutes, I decided to look at the top 100 podcasts and see where some of them played on this map.

Picture this, or you can just go to my website and look at it. So the vertical axis of this quadrant grid is positive on top and negative on the bottom. And then the horizontal axis was strategic on the left and tactical on the right. And in the positive tactical quadrant, there's a crap ton of podcasts all competing against each other.

When I did this, I just chose a few of the podcasts. So there are more neutrally titled actionable podcasts, like “Duct Tape Marketing”, “Perpetual Traffic”, “Social Media Marketing”. So those have a more neutral emotional sentiment. And then there were more positive types, like “Your Go To Marketing Gal”, “Marketing Your Genius”. Like, those are more positive and uplifting still very tactical. and then “Online Marketing Made Easy” and “Marketing Made Simple”.

I felt like these 2 podcasts could be practically on top of each other because they are very similarly positioned, which considering it's Amy Porterfield and the guy who works with Donald Miller who hosts these podcasts, I'm not surprised that there's room for both of them to occupy a very similar space.

But if we go below the line of positivity into the negative sentiment corridor. Literally, there's one top podcast that lives there. This podcast is called “Everyone Hates Marketers” by Louis Grenier, and I love Louie's podcast. His audience for his podcast is marketers. It's not business owners. So that makes his positioning a bit different than mine, but it's definitely a stand out podcast title because it has that bit of negativity bias.

And it also makes you think, yeah, Everybody does hate marketers. He's been able to rack up over 1,000,000 downloads of his podcast over the past 4 years. And I'll tell you, it's a fantastic show. He is a phenomenal interviewer. He is so good at summarizing what his interviewee is saying and making it actionable for you.

So when I was thinking of this podcast, the Rebel Uprising Podcast has always been more of a strategic insightful type podcast. There's a little how-to, but my goal has always been to help you think about marketing and messaging in a more strategic way.

So what would be a name that can capitalize on my strategy, but also give me that hint of negativity.

And that's when I came up with “Make Marketing Suck Less”. Right?

There's the negativity bias. There's also that acknowledgment, but I want you to see that title and think, yes, marketing does suck. It is hard. How do I make it suck less? And the best part is there's no one really competing with me. There are hundreds of marketing podcasts, probably thousands of marketing podcasts.

But in that strategic, negatively balanced space, it's only gonna be me, my friends. Only me for now. But it's always better to be 1st in the space than second. And since there's no one competing with me, I can literally say that this will be the only podcast that admits Marketing is hard. And it sometimes just sucks.

No other podcast in the world can say that. And that is the power of positioning. It helps you see where there is an opening in a marketplace, even in a crowded field.

And if my hypothesis about negativity bias plays out along with having a clearer idea of what we're talking about in this podcast, I should see my downloads start to creep up. So we'll see. I'll keep you posted on that.

So if you're feeling like you're drowning in competition, you don't know what makes the work you do different, the show you produce different, then pick 2 characteristics that you want your podcast to compete on and map out where your competitors are and find the white space. That is where you want to position your business.

Now, some of you might have some questions like, “What about the 3 Word Rebellion, Michelle?” I feel like Andy in Pretty in Pink. “What about prom Blain?”

Well, don't worry. The 3 Word Rebellion is not going anywhere. To me, it's a huge part of how we make marketing suck less, but this message represents a new 3 Word Rebellion for me. It represents a new era for me. And, you know, I always say that 3 Word Rebellions will last you, like, at least 5 years. Sometimes you get more. And I feel like I've run my course with it. Now it doesn't mean I'm not doing 3 Word Rebellion work anymore. It doesn't mean that I'm not because they're gonna promote the book and it doesn't mean you're never gonna hear about it again on this show, but it becomes a part of a bigger solution of how we make marketing suck less.

The next question “Am I still for rebellious business owners?”

Hell, yes.

The edgy message that's in a sea of its own isn't any less rebellious because it doesn't have the word Rebel in it. In fact, I think this messaging is even more rebellious. It is really taking a stand and saying something that no one wants to admit in the industry.

So what will this podcast be covering in the future? We will be answering the question. “How do you make marketing suck less?”

So, yes, We are still gonna be talking about messaging because it is the foundational component of making marketing suck less. We'll talk about ideas for “Do less but Better” marketing strategies and how to figure out if your marketing is working or it's not. and what to do if it's not and what to do if it is.

We'll be talking about collaborations and creating them in your business to help you grow your audience. And we're gonna start being open about our flops and our failures and what we've learned. And if you've heard the episode with Amanda McKinney, you know she and I discussed one of her biggest marketing flops. So that will be the show going forward. It still will be the same awesome, hopeful insightful podcast that you are used to, but in a new, more innovative, in my opinion, package.

So I'm not sure when the new name and branding will go live, but the best news is if you're subscribed, you won't have to do a damn thing to get the “Make Marketing Suck Less” podcast. It will just show up in your feed one day magically.

And if you're not subscribed, then hit the follow or subscribe button in your podcast player right now. This is the way to make sure that you get the new podcast when it drops. So here's to letting things go that don't work for your business. And here's to trying something new and different and carving out a place of your own, even in the most competitive spaces.

[00:19:02] If the Rebel Uprising podcast is helping you claim and communicate your expertise so that your clients can find and hire you, please share the show with a friend.

The easiest way to do that is through PodLink. You can find the show at, and that page will allow anyone you share the show with to subscribe and start listening in their favorite podcast player. That's

The Rebel Uprising podcast is a production of Communication Rebel. Our production coordinator is Jessica Gulley-Ward of Juggling Logistics. Our sound engineer is Stephen Mills. Rebel Uprising podcast is recorded on the unseated traditional land of the coast Salish Peoples, specifically the first people of Seattle, the Duamish people, original stewards of the land past and present.

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