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5 Dr. Phil Marketing Tricks

I have been watching three DR. Phil shows lately. This week was the first time I watched the show, and I’m not going to say that I’m now a huge fan of daytime TV, or the opposite, because I’m neither.

But I’ve got some interesting ideas, I promise you.

The reason I have been watching, is that I’m writing a novel. And believe it or not, watching TV and writing a novel at the same time works. Well, I tried it, and it worked. But I’m not sure if that’s how I’m going to be working on the final draft of the novel. It’s different phases of writing. During the creative phase, voices and even noise is no problem.

So, after watching several episodes of Dr. Phil, I have realized that there are five things that he’s doing that we all should learn from. No matter what you think of this TV show, you have to agree that it’s very popular, that means that they’re obviously doing something right.

Let me tell you what they’re doing right, and what we can learn from them.

Focus on the audience

My first marketing mistake was to not target one person at a time. When I watched, every single time there was a shocking or controversial statement, or a statement that would cause some sort of reaction from the audience, they always turned the cameras to the audience and focused on one person, and the reaction of this person (usually a woman with her face buried in both her hands, or a woman with her mouth wide open).

Nonetheless, they know that the people in the audience are actually their viewers (and customers). If they react by showing emotions, viewers will most likely react the same way.

Focus on their values

They target their viewers really well (it’s daytime TV, and they’re targeting people who’re home and watching TV during the day), and the topics of the show are always things that matters to this group of people, and not only that, but they focus on the values of the viewers.

For instance, (this is a wild guess, but you probably get my point) most of the viewers are women and housewives who have kids and possibly a husband who’s at work. Now, that’s why many of the topics include weight loss, rebellious teenagers, divorce, financial planning. Topics that women and families deal with.

Give them what they want

I’m not saying anything bad about what Dr. Phil is doing, because what he’s doing works. He provides what his viewers want. And he treats them with respect. He’s loyal to his customers, and just look at the website and the Facebook Page; they have polls about the topics and they get lots of comments. What they do is interact with the people who’re watching (the customers).

Oh, I almost forgot. When the show is finished, you’ll see Dr. Phil walk to the audience and get his wife, and they’ll walk hand in hand out of the studio. Talk about giving the viewers what they want (family values, and a man and his wife still in love).

Be an authority

It seems that every word he says is based upon a script, because everything he says seems to be, well, the right thing to say. He’s not just some ordinary host, who’s interviewing some guys on a stage. He’s actually a doctor, a psychologist. He has a Ph.D in clinical psychology from University of North Texas. He knows what he’s talking about, and it shows.

Speak both sides

From the few shows I have watched, it seems that he always argues both sides. It’s never black and white, it’s always two sides of the story. I remember the great line he said (it’s new to me) the other day; no matter how flat a pancake is, it has two sides (I think it was something like that).

When we write a review, or promote anything, we should never focus only on how perfect the product is. We should always tell an authentic story, and speak the truth.

Image: Flickr

16 responses to “5 Dr. Phil Marketing Tricks”

  1. Dino Dogan says:

    I like this post…A LOT! I mean…I dont care for Dr. Phil and think he’s a douche, but I agree with everything you said and he certainly knows how to play his audience. Then again, Im pretty sure Im not supposed to like him since Im not his demographic.

    One small point regarding No5.

    I hardly consider Dr.Phil’s dime store psychology to warrant a label of an authority.

    But rather, if you dress like one, and act like one, and speak like one people think that you are one.

    We judge based on superficial factors and often confuse confidence for competence. Matchstick men and con artists have taken advantage of this mental gap in our brain throughout human evolution.

    Anyways…great post…loved it, keep on keepin on bro

    • Thanks a lot for this awesome comment.

      I’m not going to be an advocate for Dr. Phil’s authority, because I really don’t have a clue other than that he has a Ph.D in clinical psychology. But what I mean is that he’s an authority to his audience. They all consider him as an authority, and the rest of the people thinks he is a con artist or a douche, but it doesn’t matter, because his audience (probably millions of people) agrees that he’s the expert 🙂

      Again, thanks a lot for the comment Dino.

      • Dino Dogan says:

        For sure man…you are 100% correct. The authority is in the mind of beholder. Oooh…damn, that sounds profound, dont it? Dont you dare go stealing it lol

        • The problem is when we don’t think that the person is an authority at all (for instance Dr. Phil). I believe that it doesn’t matter how we argue, and if we’re certain that we’re right (that he’s a con artist), because his audience loves him no matter what he’ll end up doing, he’ll continue to be an authority for this group of people (it’s almost like a cult) 🙂

          I’m not sure if that’s the same thing we’re trying to do online, but it helps to be considered an authority 🙂

  2. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Hi Jens,

    I like your analogy.

    Luv him or hate him, Dr. Phil has gained some sort of popularity. When someone becomes popular it is never by accident.

    His show sticks to basic principles. You aptly note the connection he makes with individual members of the audience and tailoring is product to his market. He serves what they want. Marketing 101, but you’d be surprised how many people miss the boat on this one.

    The toughest point for many to grasp is speaking from both sides. Fair and balanced reviews are hard to come by because most let their agenda skew their point of view. If you can become less attached to any one outcome and speak from your heart when it comes to say, writing a review, you score big karma points and as we know, what goes around, comes around.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Jens.


    • Hi Ryan,

      Dr. Phil is awesome when it comes to connecting with his viewers. I haven’t watched more than three shows, but it took me just few minutes to see what he was doing and that he was good at it. No wonder why the the housewives in the US loves this guy 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your valuable comment.

  3. Akie. A says:

    Great post. Sorry for bringing politics into this but I couldn’t help but think about the 08′ elections while reading your post. Obama basically nailed all of those points. Folks were hungry for “change” and his campaign team focused on that.

  4. Peter J says:

    I’ve also found that writing with a movie on can really help. If it’s got a really amazing sound track to it and there’s both depressing and awesome scenes in it; my writing can do some pretty cool stuff 😀

    • I don’t like writing when I’m watching a movie, that’s because I usually I am too occupied with watching the movie and following the story. Well, I could write when watching a movie, but then it have to be either a movie I have watched earlier or it will have to be a really bad movie (that I don’t need to follow the story).

      I enjoy writing and listening to music, that’s awesome. I listen to all sorts of music, lately I’ve been listening Disturbed – their music is perfect for writing my novel 🙂

      Thanks a lot all your comments Peter. They all bring value to my posts.

      • Peter J says:

        Watching a movie I’ve seen works for me, because I’m semi-distracted. Pointless action movies that have no storyline occasionally work.

        Good choice for music too, Disturbed – And their latest Album Asylum is quite good. 😀

  5. Natalie Sisson says:

    I can imagine you do get a lot of inspiration from watching TV – well the type of TV your watching for your novel as it forces you to gain different perspectives from other people. I really like your points too – I think you’ve summed it up well and I hadn’t necessarily dissected a show like Dr Phil in this way before (I’m not an avid TV watcher!)

    • I actually never thought about dissecting Dr Phil, it just happened because I was watching it (I didn’t plan that I should be watching the show either). I always find it interesting to look at very successful people and see what they’re doing. There’s always something to learn 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment Natalie.

  6. Alicia says:

    Exactly. If you are reviewing a product, you need to inform your followers of the pros and cons of the product. You need to be honest with your review so that followers would trust you and in order not to ruin your reputation online.

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