The AMA Madison continued its efforts at bringing quality programming to its members while maintaining proper social distancing!

Four dozen members and non-members emerged from bed early to virtually join our Signature Series program on May 12! AMA Chapter President Alyssa Spiel welcomed Mike DiFrisco, Chief Marketing Officer for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin and the founder of BrandXcellence.

Mike’s talk was on Inside Out Marketing and included real-world examples of how marketers can communicate what makes their business, service or products great.

Watch the replay above or continue for a recap of the event.

Does my brand story match my outfit?

Mike started his talk by asking “Does my brand story match my outfit?” He continued “That’s the problem with most marketing. We tell one story and then we dress inappropriately for it. Because most businesses have so many aspects to their personalities (benefits and stories)” Mike wants us to think about how our “inside reality” (your character and your conduct) needs to be aligned with your “outside perceptions” (your conversation; what you say in your marketing and communications). Mike often used humorous examples to drive this point home.

BIG IDEA: What you get is what you see

It is vital for your brand to have a distinct persona that reflects who your company and brand is in order to attract the right customers. When that inside reality does not align with the outside perceptions, then your brand will fall short of customer expectations. According to Mike, “Branding is the truth about you well told.” We must have things kept in alignment.

Other examples of misalignment that create dissonance include:

The three not-so-easy steps to ensure your marketing is inside-out

How do we ensure our marketing is inside-out. Mike proposed following these three not-so-easy steps:

  1. Discover your inside reality

Pick a focus that is relevant, authentic and differentiated from the competition. Ask yourself what makes your brand unique. Wrap all your marketing communication around the focus. Speak in one voice. Give people an easy reason to choose you over the competition. Mike suggested answering the following questions for your brand:

  1. Who?
  2. What business are we in?
  3. For whom?
  4. What’s needed by the market we serve?
  5. Against whom do we compete?
  6. What’s different about our organization?
  7. What unique benefit is derived?

The big take away according to Mike: “Say one thing because saying many things creates confusion. And after you say your one thing, repeat it.” Jimmy John’s one thing is “Freaky Fast.”

  1. Decide how best to communicate this reality in a dramatic way

You want to tell your story in the most dramatic way possible. Show the proof clearly and make it memorable. For instance, Festina is a waterproof watch brand. They prove it by packaging their watches in a water-filled container.

  1. Execute inside out marketing that gets results

Mike suggested two different aids to help Marketers to successfully execute inside out marketing:

  • DRIP: An acronym, encouraging us to DRIP on our prospects:
  • Differentiate your offerings by defining where you are positioned in the marketplace.
  • Reinforce your business’s key message, demonstrating why you’re different; superior.
  • Inform your ideal target market so they become aware of your brand.
  • Persuade your target audience to behave in a particular way and encourage positive behavior.

Subject your marketing to three tests

  1. The “Your mother must be very proud” test. Make sure your marketing talks about those things your customers are truly interested in knowing. It needs to be about them and not you. If only your mother would be proud of your brand then you are not portraying a meaningful reality.
  2. The “Well I would hope so” test. The brand/product/service delivers exactly what you say it does. It should be so obvious to your audience that they respond “Well I would hope so.”
  3. The “Cross out, write in” test. You want to make sure your message is specific to your brand, and different from your competition, in whatever channel or medium you are communicating. If its not, you’re just a commodity. So, if you can cross out the name of your brand or company in an ad or on a website, and write in the name of your competitor, and it still makes sense, then you have not created truly differentiated inside out marketing.


To learn from each other’s reality, we broke out into nine groups. In this way, we could explore the first two steps for creating inside out marketing, and apply it to our brands.

The first breakout question was “Do you feel like you have a good grasp of your inside reality today? If not, how will you arrive at a relevant, authentic, and differentiated position?” Brooke Barney of Thysse felt Thysse had a good grasp on their inside reality. At Thysse a clear corporate vision was communicated consistently and regularly to employees and their stakeholders

The second breakout explored the question “Do you think there are ways to more dramatically or memorably communicate your inside reality in your marketing and communications?” Sam Simon of Thomas Steele Site Furnishings mentioned they compete in the decorative outdoor furniture market. Thomas Steele’s point of differentiation is durability. They use imagery of a foot of snow in a Wisconsin winter to more dramatically position themselves against the competition.

Inside out marketing takeaways

You can more easily communicate when your brand is built around a meaningful uniqueness. The character, conduct and conversation around your brand is aligned so that the inside reality matches the outside perception. And the uniqueness of your brand is articulated in a dramatic or memorable way at every touchpoint.

To sum it up, Mike ended with a quote from Roy H. Williams. “Dig for the diamond. Find the story that is uniquely and wonderfully your own, then tell that story with every ounce of your being.”

See you online for June’s Craft Marketing event!

Join us for our second virtual Craft Marketing event at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30. Nick Myers of RedFox AI will present Learn How to Stay Competitive with Artificial Intelligence and Voice.

Register here for the online event.

Many thanks to our Craft Marketing sponsors, Winbound, Thysse, and Sarah Best Strategy.

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