2015 Marketers Guide For Those Who Don’t Have Marketing Departments – Experiment and Evolve

cat, scotch, cute cat, cat pic

Will this pic of my cat lead to more hits?

2015 should be labelled as the year of experimentation for you. With so much info about how to do this, and that, you can paralyse yourself, and your business by thinking too much, and not acting. More importantly, you do all the thinking, and strategizing only to find out when you put your new marketing campaign, product, service, etc… to market…no one really cares about your new product / service / marketing campaign / video you think will go viral.

I’m with you, I analyse a lot, and in turn I end up making stupid decisions based off what’s swirling around in my head. Especially after reading books, articles, and everything else being fired at you, and I on a daily basis.

We think we know all the answers, and this is backwards thinking. We know what we know, but also we don’t know what we don’t know. Does that make sense? Or am I thinking too much? If it doesn’t make sense GOOD! One of my goals of 2015 is to confuse the hell out of you…HA!

Here’s what I, and you forget the majority of the time…it doesn’t matter what we think. It matters what THEY think. They being the customer / consumer. This happens in the startup world time, and time again. Some big headed teenager (okay, I’m generalizing here) thinks he / she can ‘change the world’ with a piece of technology. He / she goes out, and generates $$$ through investors, conducts research, builds a team, promotes their product, generates publicity, and then goes to market with their product / service and no one cares. This could have been thwarted by experimenting with REAL consumers with a shitty prototype of the product / service early on in the development stage of the product / service.

You could say the startup group learned something, and failure is the price of learning. I used to think that. Now, it doesn’t resonate with me. Using the model above, you only learn how to fail. If you EXPERIMENT from day one with REAL customers / consumers you’ll learn more in a week than you will in 6-months using the ‘business’ model from above.

Let’s put this experimentation into practice.

My wife, and I are planning on launching a restaurant / cafe with a twist (you have to have a twist with the current cluttered marketplace) either late this or next year. Ideas have been swirling in our heads from price points to location to food offerings, etc… However, we caught ourselves a couple days ago, and the light clicked – how do we know people are going to even want what we offer? Why go through the investment, planning, etc…if we don’t even know if there’s a market? More so, how will our potential customers even know if they want our product (think iPod or iPhone here, people didn’t know they wanted it until they had it, and then the iPod, and iPhone evolved to suit the customer)?

Here’s what we know:
A similar concept has worked in other markets
The overhead is not that high
We have a decent ‘test’ group of friends to experiment

We’re not talking focus groups here, we’re talking people, who will actually use our product / service in the future. This way, we can get honest feedback, and from our hypothesis of “This restaurant / cafe will work” we will be able to experiment to see if it actually will work. Of course, if we find a solid enough market, there will also be a TON of experimenting when / if this thing launches. The best part – we’re not going to wait until it’s perfect (which too many people do). What is perfect? Is it in your mind or the customers mind? All of your customers minds are different, so perfect to one person is anything but to another. DON’T WORRY ABOUT BEING PERFECT! It’s a word that shouldn’t exist as perfection does not exist.

Something to chew on

When Disney released Frozen they had no idea it was going to be as popular as it was. They made the regular amount of plush toys, and promotional items, etc… forecasting for a normal box office, and following. However, as you know, the movie exploded. It was a MASSIVE hit for Disney, and for months following its release you couldn’t get any toys, or more importantly stuffed Olaf dolls. At one point Olaf was selling for $80 on eBay. NUTS!

The point – if Disney doesn’t know whether or not a product is going be hit, how in the hell should you or I know? You, and I don’t have a clue just like Disney. We can forecast, and research, and rack our brains, but really it’s just wasted time, and money. Don’t over analyse. Instead get your product to market. Ask your customers questions, see how they use the product / service, and find out how you can make it better. Then keep testing, and experimenting because as your product / service evolves, so does society.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft

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3 Ways For Your Message to Spread Like Ebola

Ebola

Ebola virus magnified

Okay, the title and picture are total click-bait, but that’s the point. We’re talking about the message aka the MOST important part of any communication, whether it be on social media, in-person, in print, on the radio / TV, etc… It can also be seen as insensitive, but that’s up for you to decide. My goal is to create a reaction (good or bad) to my message.

Your message can, and should spread like a disease, and like a disease your message starts with one (patient 0) person / being. In this case, that person is you.

1) Generate early adopters
2) Get them to spread your message
3) Deliver on your promise(s)

Early adopters

These people are vital to the success of your message. These people will carry your message, and pass it along to as many people as possible. Think about the first person that gets sick in your office. Next thing you know, everyone is hacking.

How do you get these early adopters? Find something you can own (an area, demographic of people, city, whatever – more on that here) and OWN it. Start with 10 people. Say you’re a restaurant owner, and you just opened up shop. Go to an apartment building close to you, a few houses, or just grab people on the street. Just get 10 people.

Get them to spread your message

Encourage them to come to your restaurant by giving them a free meal every month as long as they dine with someone else who is paying or something like that. If these people like your offering, and your food, you better believe they will pass on their message to their friends & family. And we all know word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of marketing.

Some quick math: 10 people with a sphere of influence of 150 (it’s been noted that every human has a solid, influential connection with 150 or so people). Say, they influence 5% of their sphere of influence, so 5 people. Bang! There’s 5 new customers, and now you’ve tapped into these new 5 customers sphere of influence. Bang! You get more customers. This is how your message spreads, and it’s also how disease spreads.

Deliver on your promise(s)

You can’t sell a shitty product. If you’re a business owner, you probably think you’re running the best business around, with the best customer service, and the best product. Reality check – YOU’RE NOT. Everyone claims the aforementioned.

Okay, now that we’re past your ego, you need to deliver on the message you’re about to or already are spreading. Back to the restaurant, if you say you’re the only place in town with authentic deep dish pizza, YOU BETTER BE THE ONLY PLACE WITH AUTHENTIC DEEP DISH PIZZA (and it better be authentic).

If you claim, you have the best customer service (you don’t), PROVE IT. If it’s raining, do you walk your customers to their car with an umbrella over their head (now, that’s customer service)?

Is your picture on the wall of your restaurant, so as soon as your customers walk in they know your name, your face, and your number in case they have any issues? A restaurant owner in the US does this, and you’d be surprised at how many calls he gets giving him, and his establishment POSITIVE reviews. They love him! Whatever your message is…deliver on the promise in your message.

Ebola can / will kill you. It delivers on its promise. Your message needs to do the same if you want to have it spread like a virus. In turn, not delivering on your promise could kill you and your business.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft

I’m already busy, so I don’t need to advertise

I’m hearing this statement quite a bit as the economy starts to heat up. Here’s the thing, YOU’RE WRONG!

Never stop marketing your product to as many people as possible for the least amount possible

Apple, McDonald’s, Samsung, Tim Hortons, Subway, Ford, GM, Toyota and the list goes on and on and on. They all advertise consitently, whether it’s a slow month or an extremely busy month. They understand the value of awareness. Although a consumer may not be in the position to purchase their product right now, when the consumer is ready to purchase the aforementioned companies want their brand to come to mind.

Also, if you are THAT busy, maybe you should consider expanding your business, whether it be opening another store in a different neighbourhood or expanding to another city. Maybe you can advertise the fact you need more sales people to sell your product / service. Or find better quality service people to handle the increased workload. Whatever it is, never stop. You always want to be top-of-mind.

There are thousands of messages clogging the consumer’s brain every day. What makes your message stand out? If you’re not in the consumer’s face or mind, you don’t exist. You’re merely burning money on rent, staff and other operational expenses.

The best

The best and most profitable businesses understand this very simple recipe for success. Advertising your message 52-weeks a year to the most amount of people for the least amount of money works. And it works really well. Even if your message is shit, it will work (for a short period of time, but it’s very difficult to sell a shitty product / service over a long period of time).

You may be saying, “I don’t have enough money to advertise 52-weeks a year!” QUIET! You do, you just haven’t allocated your resources properly. If your annual sales budget is $100,000 your marketing budget should be $2,000 – $10,000 (2 – 10% of your sales budget). However, I’m sure your sales budget is much higher than that. Then again, your marketing budget is probably significantly lower than 2 – 10% of your sales budget.

Psychology

When it comes down to it, it’s all about psychology. There’s no way you’re going to have the marketing budgets like McDonald’s, Apple, etc… That’s fine you don’t NEED to. All you need is some money and a different mental framework.

Like the example above, you can stretch $2,000 – $10,000 very far on almost any marketing medium whether it be digital or a more traditional medium like radio or print. You won’t be able to reach the amount of people McDonald’s will, but you’ll still be able to reach someone…anyone. 100 people is better than 0.

For example, a restaurant launched and they only advertised to a 40-unit apartment complex next to their restaurant. They printed off some letters they made in Word and put them in the apartment complexes mailboxes. And they did this repeatedly. Needless to say, they owned that apartment complex. I can dive deeper into this story if you’d like. Shoot me an email at effUmarketing@gmail.com and I’ll elaborate. Again, someone is better than no one. Figure out who you can afford to own and own the shit out of them.

No excuses, be relentless

You need to market you product. Whether you’re busy or not. Whether your marketing budget is in the millions of dollars or hundreds. There’s always a way to reach people. You’ll have to spend some money, but you’ll reap the rewards in the long run. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

As always, if you need some guidance, reach out to me on Twitter or effUmarketing@gmail.com.