Marketing and advertising are two terms used synonymously in our world. In today’s world advertising is increasingly becoming a side road to success. Mass advertising made sense in the peak of mass media advertising age like 1960s. If a company had a product and there were no sales, marketing used advertising as a method to reach a mass audience for the product. Buying ads were used as a primary marketing method to reach the mass audience for the product which included television and paper ads.
Today, the internet changes everything. Though the internet has a mass reach, it doesn’t provide a mass audience to anyone, as everything from Facebook, Twitter & Youtube gets tailored towards the preference of the audience. The mass media has split into multiple smaller media as there are thousands of television channels, newspapers and digital channels. Hence the mass culture has gotten fractured. Therefore a new approach is needed.
The Internet has appealing features, but it also has its limits. At first glance, the internet would seem like a perfect method. It helps to target your audience at any point in time, unlike television shows that take place at a specific time slot. Internet ads allow measuring of ad results with a high-level precision; for instance, how many people see the ad, click on it and as a result, buy your product. Internet ads allow optimization of content and budget based on what works and does not work. The problem here is that every company can do this and so the audience is ultimately bombarded with myriad ads on the internet. Hence this method doesn’t yield a good ROI.
Another approach to solving this problem is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Here, hope lies in the fact that by using the right keywords, one has the probability of ending up on top search results on Google or Bing. Most searches present multiple pages, and one has to get their SEO strategy in place to get on the first page. Most players end up on the dreaded second and third pages.
Luckily, a few other strategies produce higher results. It stems from the fundamental concept of “Build something that is worth buying.” It is easier said than done. The truth is, everybody wants to buy a product because it addresses their perceived essential needs. Effective marketers need to look for deep seeded emotional aspirations like adventure, connection, belonging, strength, security, and tranquility by understanding the underlying needs and desires.
While implementing a particular strategy, it is essential that you Identify your target audience who shares your definition of the desire that your product solves, and be ready to change based on their evolving needs. Keep everyone else outside the scope of your marketing reach. Narrow targeting audience to adopters (accepting change) and adapters (not accepting change). Make adopters your initial target market audience. It is true that personal values motivate people’s purchasing decision. Marketers can identify the opposite value pair for each anticipated decision and seek to play within the spectrum, like how speed and method are opposite value pairs. For marketing in startups, marketers should target the extremes of the value spectrum to identify a core group of fans who can become a tribe for your product.
A tribe is a team of people who affiliate with each other and share a similar world view. This world view informs them about how to pursue their desires and values. Effective marketing involves identifying and connecting the tribe via contents and stories that harbors well with their worldviews; this, in turn, leads them towards your product with a promise that can fulfill their underlying desires. Marketers can then spring their product tribe into action by challenging their status concerning other members of the tribe group, with strategies like affiliation and domination that can force them to adopt your product. The approach includes engaging a product tribe influencer who communicates about the product with the tribe.
Today’s crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made the process of identifying the product tribe easier. However, many companies who have successfully gotten their product tribe on these platforms fail when they can’t fulfill the promise made to their tribe. Hence, execution to meet the expectations of the tribe is equally important to the process of engaging the tribe.
With the rise of the internet and the fall of mass media, marketers can no longer rely on advertising alone. Instead, marketers should look at marketing techniques that identify people’s underlying wants and desires, then incorporate those inputs into product development and then use product value-propositioning and storytelling methods to cultivate ardent fans and followers who can try new products and provide the product with a minimum viable market. To make this fan engagement process more effective, marketers should engage fans in spreading the message about the product. Marketers should then leverage the network effect of this process to scale the product to a broader public audience.
This article is written by Mouli Srini, Serial Entrepreneur, Board member| Advisor | Mentor for startups in Internet Of Things (IoT), Drone & Blockchain technologies. He also co-founded 2 Multi-National Corporations Mobodexter and Hurify.
This article is presented by Intellectus, an invite-only thought-leadership community for experts.