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September 1, 2021

Breaking Down What A Cumulative Advantage Is And How To Discover Yours

By NOW Marketing Group

One thing that defines the world today is the speed at which everything changes. We live in a world filled with noise, chaos, and disruption. 

As business owners and individuals trying to grow a personal brand, it can feel overwhelming to keep up with. Sometimes you feel like we just can’t be seen amidst the noise or standout amongst the sea of samesies.

However, the truth is that we all have a superpower; it’s just a matter of figuring out how to create momentum in this world so that you can use it for good.

That’s why we invited Mark Schaefer onto Magnet Marketers to share his wisdom about how we can stand out, create momentum and find our cumulative advantage.


Mark Schaefer is a strategy consultant, keynote speaker, university educator, and bestselling author of nine books, including “Marketing Rebellion,” “KNOWN” and his latest book, “Cumulative Advantage.” 

Whether we’re looking to stand out online as a business or individual, we can glean so much insight from Mark’s book Cumulative Advantage because it’s all about how being great is no longer enough. 

What Is The Cumulative Advantage:

Mark’s entire career as an educator, husband, speaker, and author of nine books (to name a few!) has been all about discovering how we can rise above the noise. 

“How can we be heard? How can we be seen in this noisy world? It’s getting SO hard, and even if you’re great, you might feel like you’re buried.” @markwschaefer (click to tweet) 

Cumulative advantage bookSeeing that Mark is a life-long learner, he sought out on a quest to figure it out. He has written books about personal branding, content creation, and building authority and it all led him to this idea of momentum. 

“If you’re stuck and not getting to that next level, how do we rise above and get going again?” Mark asked us during the live show.

As marketers, this is a question that can truly change the way we show up on a daily basis. For leaders, this is a question that will shape your organizational culture

Heck, as human beings this is a question that truly inspires us to look inwards in order to figure out how to best take advantage of the opportunities in front of us. 

“Once you get some initial advantage in your life, if you play your cards right, it can create unstoppable momentum… The theory of #CumulativeAdvantage has been proven with academy award winners, athletes, and authors.” @markwschaefer (click to tweet) 

Take the example of Bill Gates: he became Bill Gates because he had early access to computer prototypes. He started coding before anyone else; aka he had an opportunity and he pursued it and applied it to a scene. A scene is a fracture or shift in the status quo and the world. 

The best part about Cumulative Advantage? >> Both the book and the theoretical concept can be applied by anyone. You don’t need a degree or a million dollars in the bank.

“It’s about giving momentum to your ideas, your business, and your life against all olds because let’s face it - it’s hard today!” @markwschaefer (click to tweet)

All you need to do is understand how the process works and you’ll be able to see the world differently because you’ll recognize how seizing opportunities can generate a huge wave of energy that you can ride towards success. 

Finding Your Scene:

As stated above, a scene is a shift in the status quo. It’s an opportunity, and we’re living in one of the greatest scenes that have ever existed in humankind today.  

mark schaefer-1Whether you’re an individual thinking about a personal brand or a business owner, it’s about truly thinking of the cross-section of your talents, passions, abilities, and connections.

When you discover how your passions, connections, and abilities connect to something happening right now in the world, aka a scene, that is the beginning of momentum. 

“An idea is not momentum. You have to pursue the idea and turn it into a quest.” @markwschaefer (click to tweet)

By giving yourself the space and time to brainstorm and come up with new ideas that truly showcase your skills and meet a need in the world today, you have the ability to create change and deliver value. The act of applying those ideas to the right scene is where the momentum gets generated.

“It’s by creating this momentum that we are able to start to really grow. We have to focus on how to keep that momentum going!” @jessikaphillips (click to tweet) 

Discovering Your Cumulative Advantage:

Discovering your cumulative advantage comes down to your ability to apply your competency to the scene. 

“We are in the biggest fracture in the status quo in the history of the human race; everything we’re doing is being reimagined…” @markwschaefer (click to tweet)

Right now, as you read this, are hundreds of thousands of underserved customers waiting for someone to come up with a solution to the problems they are facing today. 

mark noddingAs brands, our cumulative advantage is created when we become aware of how our passions and skills fit into this new scene. That is where we create our unstoppable momentum. 

By leaning into relatability and humanity, we serve to build relationships with our customers which not only helps us discover their needs but allows us to best show up for them and meet them where they’re at. 

“The best content makes your audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them! You want to focus on relating to them” @jessikaphillips (click to tweet)

And given that things are constantly changing, relating to your customers means living in a constant state of reinvention. It’s no longer about staying in your lane and just plowing ahead for 5 years. In fact, Mark argued that it’s virtually impossible to make a 5-year plan in today’s world. 

The best thing you can do today is to become aware of the fractures in the system.

“When you see something that doesn’t make sense, don’t ignore it! Get to the bottom of it because that can be a business opportunity.” @markwschaefer (click to tweet)

One great example of spotting something that doesn’t make sense? >> Hallmark announced that they are pulling out of the e-card business. Given that Gen Z is the second-largest consumer of greeting cards, and they opt for personalized and hand-crafted gifts, there is an opportunity.

Mark’s idea? >> If you make greeting cards, you should make a TikTok that showcases you making hand-crafted cards. 

Putting It All Together: 

When you’re able to apply your heart, passion, resources, and connections to meet a current need that exists in the world today, you dominate that thing.

THAT is how you create momentum, and it's all about being aware of what's going on right now. 

Man happy with hands in celebration

“Brands should be thinking about co-creating and thinking about what they can start to do differently.” @jessikaphillips (click to tweet) 

It truly comes down to being human and putting your heart into everything that you do, because that’s going to be how we have the opportunity to truly create community

“The most human company wins. The most human live-streaming show, podcast, insurance company, nonprofit… stop doing what people hate. Double-down on what people love and show your heart in everything you do.” @markwschaefer  (click to tweet)

If there’s one thing we can guarantee, it’s that Mark puts his heart into everything he writes. We promise you’ll get value and leave his books, blogs, or tweets feeling inspired.

Are you ready to create momentum in your business today?

Get the C.A.R.E. and Brand Manifesto Workbook NOW Marketing Group

Tags: cumulative advantage, momentum

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