Entrepreneurs know that marketing is like exercising regularly: even with solid, measurable facts demonstrating its benefits, there is always a reason to put it off. Money, time and human resources are generally the biggest excuses for delaying marketing efforts, and hiring a traditional PR firm or ad agency is out of reach for most small businesses, startups or other new ventures.
But there are things you can do to get your marketing efforts up and running consistently to achieve bottom-line results.
Here are eight TED talks to inspire you and your team:
Businesses focus on telling their customers what they sell. However, a greater marketing opportunity may come from thinking about how your customer feels — especially when things go wrong. Gleeson (co-founder of a startup accelerator) illustrates this point with the example of the 404 “page not found” error message. As he says, “The 404 tells you, ‘You fell through the cracks.’” It’s a universally annoying experience that, when re-imagined as an opportunity to empathize with the customer, becomes brand-building gold.
Daniel Schnitzer founded EarthSpark International. He’s focused on creating smart and healthy energy solutions for countries like Haiti. In marketing his innovative solution to energy poverty, Daniel found that the “save money, better product” message didn’t sell — it was all about access. Dirtier, more expensive energy solutions were more accessible. The big takeaway: be a last miler, the one who takes a product directly to the end-user or customer.
What Melinda Gates immediately noticed from the day she started her work with the Gates Foundation was that no matter where she was in the world, or how extreme the poverty, she could buy a Coke. So she began to wonder: how is it that they have been so successful in getting everywhere? In her TED talk, Melinda notes three lessons from Coke’s global availability:
- Use real time data to adjust your business operations or product delivery.
- Tap into local talent as they know the market being served and can generate innovative solutions to improve sales based on local conditions.
- Make your marketing pitch aspirational. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because someone needs what you have to offer, they don’t have to want it as well.
Using the story of Greenpeace and Mister Splashy Pants, Alexis (co-founder of Reddit) convincingly educates how to leverage social networks in just three minutes. In a hyper social-networked world you must first ask yourself, “What does my community want?” It is all about them — not your marketing plan. Next, you have to be ok with losing control and being taken a little less seriously. And yes, the results will be worth it.
With sharp wit, advertising guru Rory Sutherland (Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group) drives home the point that when everything is subjective and intangible, added value is the only value that matters. The big marketing takeaway is to spend more time appreciating what you’re already doing well, and less time agonizing about what more you could be doing.
If you’re not already one of the over 27 million viewers of Simon’s TEDx Puget Sound video, then you’re likely still telling people to “buy my product.” In this compelling video, Simon explains why Apple is so successful and how, you can be too — if you start with “why.”
Are you looking to create a new experience or are you putting a skin on something unoriginal? Yves, creator of Leaf Lamp and Jawbone headset, challenges us to design from the inside out. What is the experience you are providing? Are you matching that need in everything you do, from packaging and customer experience to your website or place of business? The takeaway is that marketing is a continuous experience that is never done.
Delivered in 2003 back in the TV industrial era of marketing, this is classic, highly relevant and legendary Seth. So many emerging companies and new businesses (especially tech startups) focus their pitches on how disruptive or revolutionary the product or service is. This is irrelevant according to Seth. The real and only question is: Can you get your ideas to spread?
In a world that has too many choices and too little time, the ability to market your idea widely is all that matters. Seth suggests looking at what you do and asking the question, “Is (your business, product or service) remarkable?” Is it literally worth making a remark about? You could have the most remarkable product or service around, but if you’re not marketing, there’s no audience to remark on how great you are.