People are smart. Just put together three or four people in a room and tell them to come up with a business idea, in an hour or two at least a dozen of them would be brewing in the air. And probably at least half of them would be good or serviceable, with, at the very least, some concepts with potential that need a little bit refinement over here or there. The world is brimming with potentially good ideas. Though for some reason, less than one percent of those would turn into something that could generate some stable income. Is it that they lack brilliance and ingenuity? Is it about luck? Or can we point out to something that is more closely correlating with the success rate within the nature of those business models in the abstract? Is there a scarcer ingredient, that’s worth more regarding catapulting you towards success?
Businesses cannot be summed by a picture of the product they are providing. They are living things, series of decisions that carried out over the course of a timeline. And along the way, you’ll notice that most of the hard decisions and good ideas you need to keep flying are about convincing your customers to buy the damn thing that you’ll be providing. And while the overwhelming amount of the solid business ideas go to waste without ever fulfilling their potential, that is the case for so few of the original and innovative marketing ideas. This article is about exploring the worth of those ideas compared to the vision for a product itself. Of course, other important factors can also waste a good business model like lack of dedication, perseverance, luck, feasible financial forecast, right human connections and a budget to implement your vision, but we’ll leave those aside for this one.
To start emphasising the importance of breaking new ground on the selling side of things, one of the best things that we could is closely examining a company who’s on the top. And we have a good one that could be an example for every point in this article throughout its lifetime: The Coca-Cola Company.
Coca-Cola has been one of the biggest brands in the world, if not the biggest for much of its existence. It is just a beverage company though. Looking from a distance, nothing seems unusual about it. Would it find success in today’s oh so modern and entrepreneur-friendly seed platforms with its elevator pitch? What would its elevator pitch or business model on paper look like anyway?
It may not be apparent just looking at their products, but yes, there was innovation in the company’s fabric. A fundamental concept that we take it for granted today, coupons, are an invention of the coca-cola company.An influential and unique idea that is still in use came from the brain of Asa Griggs Candler, its founder. And while that might be the company’s most significant legacy regarding innovation, it’s not the only good idea they had either. They also had the foresight to invest in having the first unique and instantly recognisable bottle, so that even the waste left behind would increase the value of their brand.
The critical question to ask ourselves at this point is this; which had the more significant impact on their unprecedented success? Coming up with a tasty drink as a product? Or having world-changing marketing ideas that are still in use today. Yes, initially containing cocaine might also part of the success, but isn’t causing addiction is another aggressive form of customer retention strategy anyway? Which is again innovation in marketing? Joking aside, what I’m trying to say is not that you should have an idea about how you’re going to market things, although that helps. I’m saying, in the best case scenario, your business idea should be the marketing plan itself. At this point, I’d like to focus on the one example that I think can sum-up everything I’m trying to say in one fell swoop:
The Case of Coke Zero
What is coke zero anyway? It looks like a Coca-Cola light with a taste twist, branded in black. Does it do anything different in particular? Why does it even exist?
In the golden age of gyms, where counting calories also became a masculine concern, all those ads with fit, happy, dancing women invested in identifying coca-cola light as a feminine brand became an obstacle instead of an asset. Half of their target market, namely guys, were hesitant to be seen with light coke in their hands. As a solution to this problem, coca-cola has created a new product that does the same thing but made it masculinity friendly this time. Yes, there is taste twist, but is it twisty in the way that Pepsi Twist was? Driving force behind Twist’s creation was its taste, unlike zero, which has been created with the whole reason of penetrating a target market. It is one of the cleanest examples of the product itself being developed with marketing in mind.
Isn’t CMO Position Dead Anyway?
But if developing things with marketing in mind is the way to go, then what to make of this talk that became prevalent in this last decade about the CMO position is dying? Does it mean focusing on marketing at C level is a bad idea now? Contrarily, that too mainly points to a similar trend. While being somewhat sensationalistic as a tagline (not much different than my title of choice. sorry about that.), ideas behind the claim are undoubtedly correct. Chief Marketing Officers or equivalent roles, as they traditionally existed, are becoming outdated. But what’s becoming obsolete is not having a high-level focus on marketing, it is the top down sprinkling of the marketing powder by a separate head.
If the people that are coming up with the product and people that are trying to sell it are different, things going to feel disjointed. Marketing should not be an afterthought that joins the party after everything about the product itself is decided. So that’s why having specific product teams, that acts as a startup within a company is a popular solution right now in big enterprises.
Having this kind of holistic approach, that receives input from all interested parties when creating and developing new products is one of the things Appleis known for. Although, in spite of being famous for rocking a product teamstructure, they still have a marketing head in Philip Schiller as the vice president of the worldwide marketing anyway. How does that work? Probably it works because even though he is titled as the marketing guy, he takes part in the creation of the product as well. He is famously credited for coming up with the idea for the original iPod’s click wheel interface for example.
Is There Another Way?
Obviously, not every successful venture is created with selling things in mind as a whole as I suggested earlier or within these kinds of teams. But good ones almost always make these kinds of decisions as a part of the product definition, and they rarely approach marketing as just icing on their cake. If you look for it, although at varying degrees, you’ll see that success of these big player’s products is tightly integrated with their marketing, penetration or branding strategy. And from there, you can decide yourself on what kind of overall effect their marketing strategy has on their success.
Facebook started as an upper-class Harvard only exclusive club at a time when social internet platforms were frowned upon. Initially, nothing seemed so unusual about being limited to 140 characters. But Twitterfocused on promoting celebrities and bridging the gap between with ordinary people by creating a direct channel of communication for them and presented an opportunity to regular people to feel close Marketing itself became a value proposition of their platform. Google eliminated every distraction to get its message to people’s heads that they are “the” search engine.
It’s so hard to find a big successful business that doesn’t act in this manner. Although weirdly enough, seeing the opposite case is quite common. Products that by themselves that do nothing but manage to be a success with pure messaging. You might remember a particular bracelet that didn’t do anything specific but marketed under a brand name like Power Balance. It loudly promised more balance for the people they use it, but even though it did not do anything to fulfil that promise, it managed to become a global phenomenon. I’d guess compared to its marketing efforts, not much money is spent on R&D for that one. So, to sum it all up, while chasing success and coming up with your unique formula for success, just be sure that you’re flexing your innovation muscles for the selling side of things. Because more often than not, that will be the secret ingredient that you need.
Once again, thanks for reading. If you think I got something wrong, please don’t hesitate to respond. If you liked it, I suggest checking out our previous articles. And if you got anything on your mind you want to talk about, you could always ping us at email@example.com. Cheers!