I wanted to give this blog an optimistic (& satirical) opening, so here’s my favorite quote from Murphy’s original law–
If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.
We know it in the more popular form as-
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Why am I quoting the old Murphy? Because it’s the start of the new year and you’re gearing up to throw boatloads of money in your marketing budget.
Prophecy: When 2018 will end, you’ll be filled with remorse, questioning your approach and without any retrospective, you will add more marketing budget in 2019. This is how a typical marketing strategy looks like-
Throw loads of cash at Google AdWords, throw some more at Facebook paid campaigns and then offer your product to people lurking on the internet who are not even prospective customers.
There are too many reasons that this is not going to work (by Murphy’s law) but the heart of the problem lies in the flawed marketing tactics. Throwing money won’t always help you achieve your targets because sometimes creativity is what you need to sell products. The best ideas are actually free, just that they need your time and emotional intelligence.
Too many startups suck when it comes to marketing the right way. Though every project will be unique and will have endless challenges, we believe that you can still avoid the catastrophe by keeping these things in mind-
Do what you say
Everything from your business card to your company tagline should speak volumes about you and your work. Even if you are doing what thousand other companies are doing, people want to hear (or read) about what you can do for them, not what you think you specialize at.
Like Subway. Its slogan, “eat fresh,” refers to the fresh ingredients they include every day in the preparation. The bread is made fresh every day, vegetables are cut every morning, and prepared in front of the customer as per their specifications. The tagline is not just a tagline. They deliver what they promise.
Another example is of Paul Masson’s Wine. The slogan says- “We will sell no wine before it’s time.” The quality of the wine is supreme and the company allows the product to age to the fullest of tastes before selling it.
So the point here is- sell what you can deliver. The goal of marketing is similar to that of a newspaper reporter. You need to be fast and real and let the whole world know that you’re here to help!
Hire marketing ninjas, not experts
If you know where you lack in your marketing strategies, hire the right person for it. By right person, I mean a person who can think out of the box and take you places with new strategies. Often, experienced marketing professionals will make you a victim of traditional approaches to advertising (radio, TV, newspaper). This is because all their life they have done this and somehow it has worked. But marketing has changed landscapes. Now, it’s a matter of being remembered at the right time.
Small businesses should spend their marketing budget on hiring a graphic designer and a writer first. These guys will make you look like what you are capable and worthy of.
Have a clear target in mind
Let’s face it, most startups crash because they run out of cash. They have this unbelievable faith in their idea that they dream about this imaginary demand of the product in the market. They build it with supreme confidence and fancy that customers will come and buy it. Now clearly, hope was your only constant companion here.
Runaway, take a step back and come back with a clear target in mind. Who do you want to sell? Why? Do they want this solution? Will they be able to pay for it? Is this profitable? Is this sustainable?
This entire process will be time-consuming but I can guarantee you that you won’t get bankrupt if you spend time in understanding the market fitment of your product. The same process needs to be repeated at every stage of product delivery.
Before assuming anything, ask
Assumption kills relationships. Communication builds it. According to Murphy’s law- “If anything can be misunderstood, it will be.” So make sure that every step of your marketing strategy has clear-cut reasons to do it.
Want to set up an email marketing campaign? Take a pen and paper and write down what you are going to do, why you want to do it and how it can help your organization. Don’t assume doing things just because it’s trending in the market. Back it up with research and data points. And then apply your wizard brain to cook a fabulous plan.
Here’s an interesting article on the questions to ask before determining your target market.
On a closing note, don’t feel intimidated by these theories. If you know things will screw up, and you know the possible ways out, then FIX it! (Don’t worry about what Murphy said!)
BTW, here’s a whole collection of Murphy’s Laws by Topic for a good laugh.