So economists say that 50 bucks in a first world country and 50 bucks in a third world country are not the same. The marketer in me finds it really hard to grasp. What we're in fact saying is that one piece of paper that has gone through an identical printing process and perhaps has a different colour scheme and picture of a different dead guy on it has a higher value than another. The fact that some guy in New York or London is paying 5 bucks for a Big Mac meal and I have to pay 70 bucks is mind-boggling. When I'm standing in front of a cashier at the airport and I give the lady 50 bucks and she gives back less of a "more valuable" currency feels weird. It reminds me of the same feeling I got when I'd buy R12 airtime from a spaza-shop for R13.
How often do you use your cellphone? Your Tablet? Okay.. and your laptop/Computer? Let me use these three examples to show you the difference between a feature and a product and the risk of mistaking the two. This can be the difference between success and failure in launching a new business. Your cellphone and laptop are great products. Your tablet, on the other hand, is a great feature. Why? When you want to do anything mobile, you'll grab your cellphone intuitively. When you want to write up a proposal, you naturally use your laptop. But most of us got tablets because it was just something cool to have. A great feature. Features are a short-term play. Like fidget spinners, hoverboards, selfy sticks... all features that will make you a quick buck, however, you can't build a long-lasting business based on a feature. Long-lasting businesses are built on great products.
Have you noticed how this pandemic has rebranded a simple cough? Last winter nobody really paid much attention to anybody coughing or sneezing at this
Ever walked into a supermarket and bought something because of your race? Never, right? There's no narrative that gets under my skin more than the one to "Support black businesses". I know this may not be a popular view, but hear me out. Some say, well, the problem is access to market. But there's no market as accessible as the black market. Not the illegal black market but as in that of black people. Ko Kasi, you can just find a corner and start a business. No Permit. No certification. Some of the greatest tasting food spots are the ones with that touch of questionable hygiene. The conversation should be about how we can brand ourselves better. Create better systems. Bathu didn't sit and complain about how SportScene isn't stocking their black-owned sneakers, they branded themselves well and created their own distribution system. Business is not SASSA! Nobody owes you a damn thing. Your race is not a unique selling proposition. Customers buy value, not race!
First of all, can we just lay down one fact? Newspapers were a communication innovation. But magazines are just glossy newspapers. This is exactly why it seems print magazines are dying quicker than newspapers. However, newspapers also face the same fate. Mainstream media survives off inefficiency in communication. The unique selling point of the most popular magazines and newspapers is giving exclusive news. But what happens when we get the news faster than they can print it?
Ever watched a dating show where they ask the single person what kind of individual they are looking to date. Generally, ladies would say things like; "I'm looking for a tall guy with short hair, dark and maybe has a beard too". A very general description. Almost the equivalent of companies saying they target males, aged 25 - 30 who use smartphones. You see the flaw with demographics is that they are not as specific as we've been accustomed to believe. Do you know how many different combinations of interests, behaviours and personalities there are in any given age range and location spec? Just like how the single lady might end up with a tall dark and handsome guy with a shitty personality and bad temper, companies advertising online based on demographics may be targeting the wrong people. Psychographics! You may not have heard of them but they are what you should focus on.
It's 2020 and you still have an "About Us" page? Talking about "We offer this" or "We are the leading that". Frankly, unless you are French, you have no business saying "We" all the time. Oh, and it's actually spelt "Oui" but you know... just for effect! Anyways the modern customer is very vain. They don't care about you and how great your business is. They only care about the solutions you have that could potentially solve their problems. Throw that industrial age thinking out the window. Truth is, it's not about you! It's about the customer.
Nevermind thinking outside the box, it's even more dangerous to think next to the box. Most people think to have some sort of online presence, even if it's mediocre, is enough. It may be true that you come from a traditional media background so being online is outside the box for you. However, if you are still applying the same principles of traditional media with your digital strategy then you are thinking outside the box but you're still standing next to it. Many brands assume that their content strategy has to match the product. For example, if you're a Gym you may feel inclined to post content showing workout tips. Guess what your competitor is doing, the exact same thing. People watch the weirdest things online. They would much rather see you post videos of yourself reacting to guys who've missed leg day.
Contrary to popular belief using hashtags on Instagram, as a business, can affect you negatively. Think about it. Say for instance you are running a graphic design agency and use #GraphicDesigner, guess who else is using that hashtag? Other graphic designers. The role of hashtags is for the Instagram platforms algorithm to be able to link like-minded profiles. Your potential customers may not be using the same hashtags so you might end up having your posts being served to other businesses offering the same services instead. Almost like trying to sell potatoes to other potato farmers. Hashtags are for the consumer, as a business there are other tactics to use. Here are a few.
Just like the G-Spot, a brand takes time to understand. You need real experience to grasp what its purpose is and how to work your way around it. Think of your customers as your lovers. As much as you may spend all the time and effort to please them, only they can truly tell you whether your efforts are satisfying or not. A brand exists in the mind of the consumer, it's external to your business. You'd be surprised how many times customers fake their satisfaction. They care about your feelings. An example would be how you could go to a restaurant, not really enjoy the meal or service but not tell anybody at the actual restaurant. Well, until you get home and leave a crappy review on social media.