Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Marketing

I have access to many of the dorms and if you give me fliers I will put them up everywhere I can. - an offer I recently received.

The thought is a nice one and well intentioned, but is slightly off the mark. When you're marketing something, anything, to the people, throwing poop against the wall only gets you so far. And by "far," I mean generally not far at all. You need to find the people who care, then get their attention, then get permission to talk to them, then get them to talk to others. When your idea or product is so new that you are creating your own market, this is especially crucial, because you, as the provider, only have so much sway with someone who's just met you. Again, by "sway," I mean "not much." But, if one of their trusted friends tells them about this sweet new idea or product, they might listen. Why? Because the source is trusted. The talker is willing to put some of their rep on the line to get this person to take action. That holds sway.

Thus, find the early adopters, give them the means to talk.
While they're talking, work on building your authenticity and trust. Don't be some ominous being behind a company wall or robotic voice behind an email. Get real and put a face and name behind your voice, behind your product. Humanize your product and show your customers why you think this is a great opportunity for them.
The goal is to take them from "them" status and bring them into your community. Then you become "we." And from there, you now have a basis with which to talk to them. Let them talk back. Let them participate in your processes and see results from that participation. If they have a stake in what you're doing, they'll be more willing to act, to purchase that which you, as a community, have developed. They'll be more than happy to tell their friends why you've got such a great product or idea.
And then you become a vessel, a vessel through which they can make a purchase that makes them feel good. They're happy. You're happy. You've realized success. For now.

Repeat.

I'm writing our marketing plan right now, and in a few days I hope to have an undergraduate marketing degree, albeit not on paper.

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