Founder/Creative Director At The Bureau Of Small Projects – Big Brand Experience Put To Work For Small Businesses, Startups and Non-Profits.
For branding, we advise our clients to think like a farmer. For marketing, we prefer what we call the “warhead of kindness” option.
Marketing is simple: You learn about your competitors and identify what they do well and what they do poorly. Then you articulate what you do differently and better than these competitors. This is called your value proposition. This is your business’s warhead of kindness (WOK), or in military parlance, “the package.” If you craft a great value proposition, then the rest is easy.
Our clients are small businesses, nonprofits and startups. The WOK option is simply faster and cheaper and embodies the “fail fast” mantra of Silicon Valley, which also happens to be where a great number of our clients are located.
Look at it this way: Do you do cold outreach?
I’ve never been a fan myself. Cold outreach takes a lot of resources. You need to identify leads, call 10 people to get one on the phone and then 10 more to close one deal. And it’s humiliating; only people with the thickest skin can do cold outreach for any length of time.
It’s way better to have customers come to you. Then you can assign the same people who are doing cold outreach to closing leads. Most people who have skin thick enough to do cold outreach are very good at closing leads.
You can either:
1. Learn about who you want to target with your “missiles.” Missiles can be any marketing component to get to your goal — from email campaigns, social media pages or landing pages to direct mail, radio or TV ads, YouTube videos or influencer marketing. Create marketing demographics, customer personas and brand stories, and carefully choose exactly the right “missile” from your arsenal to use to deploy “the package.” This is usually expensive, and results are mixed at best because people can lie, and focus groups are unreliable. In addition, statistics are hard to read and easy to manipulate.
2. Take the WOK option, and send out a bunch of missiles. See which ones hit, and double down on those. We are big fans of this option because no one can predict what is going to sell — I don’t care who you are. Customer personas, brand vision, KPIs, ROI — none of that actually matters without the sale. It’s all an illusion.
If your marketing team talks about instinct, run for the hills. Data is the most important thing, and the best data is people actually paying real money for what you’re selling.
As Tim Ferris writes in his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, “To get an accurate indicator of commercial viability, don’t ask people if they would buy, ask them to buy. The response to the second is the only one that matters.”
So this is why we like the WOK option. Launch a bunch of missiles with your package, look at the data to see which ones hit. Discard the missed, and then refine the package and launch again. It is this simple.
And like war, it’s important to not get emotional. Don’t let your desire for meaning interfere with your sense of purpose.
Time and time again we see people want to pick a marketing strategy that means something to them with deep symbolic messages. What you should be doing is picking a marketing strategy that means something to your customers. Here’s how:
We begin every project by asking our client what their “shameless goal” is. Most often it has to do with money. The purpose of most marketing campaigns is one of three things:
1. To bring in leads for a service business.
2. To sell products for a store.
3. To bring in donations for a nonprofit.
Clients (and marketers) will often say their goal is to educate the customer or create awareness of the product. And both are valid, but unless you are Wikipedia, that is not the real goal but a tool to get people to the real goal, which is to get money for what you do. If you define your goal as “educate the customer or create awareness,” then your marketing efforts will fall short because they’ll focus on the tool rather than the goal itself.
So when you aim your missiles, don’t lose sight of the real target.
This may be best explained by using the nonprofit as an example. The purpose of a nonprofit is to help people. The purpose of its website is not. The purpose of a nonprofit website is to get donations. Without money, the nonprofit can’t help people.
To sum it up, we are in the money-getting business. Our warhead is the value proposition — “the package” — and emails, ads and landing pages are just missiles for delivering “the package.”
To see this work in real time, if you want to generate new business inexpensively on LinkedIn, simply send a connection request saying something like, “Hi! I hope we can connect and add value to each other’s network!” Then make your profile reflect your value proposition — what you do differently and better than your competitors. No need for prospecting; people will look at your LinkedIn profile and inquire about your services — that is, if you have a great warhead.
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Author: David Gaz, Forbes Councils Member