Traditional marketing is dead — for small to medium businesses (SMBs) at least. And experimenting with anything else is scary and paralyzing.
The strategy and approach that you’re using as an SMB works for businesses that have a giant marketing and advertising budget. It doesn’t work so well with a tiny advertising budget.
Instead what you should do, being an agile business rather than a giant, is to collect a tribe. By tribe I mean a community. People who have a reason to follow you. People who have a reason to spread the word. And all you have to do is these 2 things. First, give them a reason to follow you, answer the question “why”. Second, give them a platform to interact with each other, with you, and most importantly, with the outside world.
Traditional marketing and advertising doesn’t work anymore for SMBs. You need to amass a crowd. Host events, gather professionals, inspire them, give them something, initiate conversations, and then give them an online space to continue the conversations they already started. Find influencers in your field, invite them to a gathering. Ask them to help spread the word. Give them a why, inspire them with a vision.
Gather key figures to speak. Some “Big Shot”. Maybe you can create a competition where the price is a dinner with “Big Shot”.
Create a newsletter, publish it steadily and timely. Give the community something to consume. Give them value. Create a stamp in their minds; A constant reminder of why they should remember you. Why they should follow you. Why they should listen. Why they should care. Why they should tell the world.
Find the why, and everything else falls into place.
Most startups almost always pivot away from the direction that they started out with. It’s not too late to pivot in another direction. The earlier the better. Find the why, and pivot towards it. Don’t be afraid.
Fear can be paralyzing. Trying out new things can be paralyzing. Experimenting can be paralyzing. It’s always easier and safer to stick to the old things that we’re used to. Except it’s NOT safer. It’s just what we convince ourselves. What works for Nestle, or P&G, or similar giants, works because they have a giant budget. I wouldn’t expect the same tactics to work with a tiny budget. Small budgets need smarter, lighter, leaner, and more innovative ways of spreading the word.
Get rid of fear. Find the thing that scares you the most. Find the thing that you find the most resistance in doing. That’s the thing that you most need to do. Get rid of the fear and do it. Initiate. Innovate. Surprise. Shine.
P.S.: I would love to hear some experiences and ideas from those who managed to create a big fuss with tiny budgets. That way the whole community could benefit.