You have one of the greatest assets your company can leverage right now! You are a living, thinking breathing person with individual tastes and a unique perspective. There will never be another you and that has value. Lend yourself to your business - it will pay dividends.
Be a Real Person
REWORK said it best, “Marketing is not a department.” What that means is your business is not a fancy website. Your business is not expensive advertising. Your business isn’t even your product. Your business is you!
As Starters, we have a competitive advantage against bigger players. Unlike the big boys, our customers actually get to know us and that creates shared bonds the big boys could only dream of building.
You have to come from out of the covers and leave the safety of anonymity to truly build a lasting relationship with your people. The kinship between you and your customer has a 1:1 correlation with the value your product provides.
I’m not saying you can be the life of the party and sell crappy products. No. What I am saying is you can’t sell great products and be a crappy business owner - that my friend simply won’t do.
Start Small and Stay Small
Start small and stay small. Email a customer right now - just to say Hi and thank him for his business. Sometimes I just pick a customer and send them a salutation letting them know how much I value their business and to inquire about their interest (non-business or business related).
It doesn’t have to be a big deal. But, it can be a big deal to the bottom line. Advertisement and promotions are transient at best. So be a real person and invite people to you. When in doubt place a premium on relationships.
Even the Big Boys Are Starting to Get the Picture
Make no mistake, one of your biggest assets is being a real person. Even the big boys are starting to get the picture. Case in point - The MINI vs Porsche Challenge:
THE MIGHTY MINI COOPER VS FANCY PANTS PORSCHE 911
Here, MINI attempts to do with millions in advertising what you can do naturally and effortlessly. The idea is a small (very small) car could challenge the legendary sports prowess of the Porsche.
Logically, it isn’t very realistic for MINI to challenge Porsche, but you’ve gotta love the angles here. The underdog versus the powerhouse. David versus Goliath.
They even got the President of MINI USA in on the act:
Using its President, MINI really tries to get you to identify and bond with a real human being. They know what we know intrinsically - people buy from people they like. Not fancy advertisements and not fancy marketing. I think he does a great job - I like him!
Marketing Still Matters
Marketing still matters. You can’t forget that. You can’t ever forget that. No one can buy a product that they don’t know exists - it’s humanly impossible.
So bring value to the market and do your lovely print and web advertisements. Just know that those advertisements are supplements and can never be the main course.
Still, do make your marketing materials both beautiful and memorable. Just like the MINI Team did here:
WE WENT. WE RACED. WE ALMOST BEAT FRICKIN’ PORSCHE!
How awesome is that? What mega corporation do you know that uses the word “frickin”. Exactly! The lesson here is about being personable and endearing.
The only way I know how to do that is simply to be me. And that’s what you need to do too. You need to dig deep and simply be you.
Here’s another beautiful and memorable piece by the MINI Team:
THE RUMBLE ON THE RACETRACK
Checkout the Facebook page where the MINI Team talks shop about the entire campaign.
Get in The Ring
If you’re starting out, embrace that fact. It is the fabric - indeed it is the DNA - of your company. It doesn’t have to be a big pageant about who’s the most interesting. But it has to be about you and it has to be real. This is the source of your strength as a Starter.
Be the DNA you want your company to have. Embrace being real. Embrace your customers. You can do this better than the big boys. Nurture this fact. Live this fact!
Start with being a real person.