The Art of Invisible Marketing

I’m about to make a statement that might shock you.

The most effective marketing on the planet is completely invisible.

It’s undetectable to the naked eye. The customer has no feeling of ever being sold to, even though a purchase has taken place. There is no sense of pressure or “conversion.” A transaction has taken place that simply feels like the most natural progression possible.

Allow me to give you a slightly strange example:

Whenever the UFC (a mixed martial arts organization) puts on one of their pay-per-view events, something is obviously being sold: the event.

But it doesn’t feel that way.

There are trailers released, containing impressive facts about each of the competitors and what they bring to the match. Stories of the fighter’s lives are told, relaying their history about how they got where they are today and what they’ve been through. There are promos shows with the athletes discussing the matchup, and their game plan. There are interviews, press conferences, and essentially a lot going on leading up to the event.

There’s so much going on, that the actual purchase of the event goes practically unnoticed.

When Apple releases a new iPhone, iPad, application or new OS, they are selling a piece of hardware or software.

But it rarely feels like any transaction has been made. They don’t deliver a product, they deliver an experience. You get to be part of something, a new wave, something bigger and greater than before.

Because they speak to your sense of identity — wanting to be part of something — buying the product feels like an exciting event, not a process of conversion.

As entrepreneurs, we know that people don’t like being sold to, but they love to buy. I know this is true about myself. Most of the purchases I’ve made I never felt like I was pressured or “convinced” into buying something. When I get a sense that’s what’s happening, I’m immediately turned off.

Our customers are the same way. They don’t want to buy something. They want to be a part of something; whether it’s part of a story, a transformation, or the fulfillment of a desire.

So, how do you create this type of experience in your business?

I’ll be honest with you, it’s not easy. Invisible marketing takes a lot of careful thought, trial and error, and planning.

There’s a word in Italian called “Sprezzatura,” which basically means accomplishing something incredibly difficult, and making it look easy.

You’ve probably seen this before in other people’s product launches or marketing. They’re incredibly successful, and they make it look incredibly easy. And maybe you’ve judged yourself for not being able to pull off the same thing.

What you don’t see behind the scenes is all of the time, energy and preparation that went into executing a flawless performance.

Okay, so I’ve established that this is hard, and I’m not saying that to discourage you. To me, it’s inspiring. I like striving for things that are worth cultivating. And I think this is one of those pursuits.

I’m no expert at this, by any means. I’m still trying to master the art of “selling without selling.” (Bruce Lee liked to call the pinnacle of martial arts the art of “fighting without fighting. In a lot of ways I see the mastery of business as a similar aim.)

I’m not sure I’ll ever master this, but here are a few things I’ve learn from my experience:

  1. It helps to get people involved in the creation of your product. The more people feel like they’ve been included in every step of the process, the more likely they are to feel a sense of attachment to what you’re creating. This is a big part of preselling, something that I’ve learned a lot about from my friend and teacher Clay Collins.
  2. When you tell a story, you bypass the persons logical decision making. If you get people emotionally invested in what you’re selling, they’re more likely to buy with less objections.
  3. It should be about something bigger. With Apple it’s about being part of something amazing; with the UFC it’s about finding out who the best in the world is; with Tom’s shoes it’s about helping people that are in need. If at all possible, make what you’re doing about something bigger than just the product you’re delivering.

These are a few of the keys I’ve found to be essential to the art of invisible selling. Hopefully by now you can think of some ways you might implement this in your business.

Once you start putting this into practice and make undetectable marketing your ultimate goal, you’ll start to see dramatic changes in your business. And once you master it, I don’t think you can imagine the power you’ll tap into.

What do you think? Have you ever thought about this? Or am I just some crazy person?

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jonathan meadJonathan Mead is a writer, barefoot runner and coach in his mid 20s that helps people quit their jobs and get paid to be who they are. He has a library of free guides to help you work on your own terms, which you can access here. Jonathan is launching his Trailblazer program TODAY. Last time is sold out...go check it now.


  1. Hi Jonathan,

    I love what you’ve written here and quite frankly I love the notion of selling without REALLY selling! We all know how we feel about those sleazy salesmen types and I’d hate to be put into that category. Your 3 key points are truly priceless. I intend to base any/all future creations of mine on them… matter of fact I’m writing them down and tacking them on my wall right now!


  2. Great article post.

  3. Thanks for this great article!! I really needed this right now. I will use your advice when I get ready to get my book out. Thanks!

  4. I truly believe that the experience is what matters. If you are just thinking of the product alone, it is not that exciting anymore. That is the reason why Coca cola creates advertisements that captures everybody.

    Webmaster of Unfair Money System Review

  5. A fantastic post, from one of my favourite bloggers. I’m so thrilled to read this, because this is one of the high-level, ‘magic’ success-strategies of some of the most legendary brands in the world.

    Share an experience (money *will* change hands), but don’t ‘sell’ a product/service.

    Rock on, Jon, LKR, and crew.

  6. Hey Jonathan,
    Been searching for ideals and arts of some other businessman or from an author that could help me to get through and become successful on my marketing strategies. This art of yours that you had mentioned had the senses for a success and I am so eager to utilize this. Thanks. :D