This entrepreneur (a real person, but we'll respectfully withhold his true identity since we didn't ask permission to use his name) expects his blossoming company to reach a billion dollars this year. He has offices that serve every area of the globe, and products that are highly regarded by customers and industry experts alike. Surely print, TV, and radio campaigns have played a huge role in the company’s success, right?
This company founder (we’ll call him “Kirk”) doesn’t utilize those channels much, and he will indeed tell you that he “hates marketing.” More specifically, he hates the notion that the only way to make a name for a product is through mass-media advertising. And he’s got a billion reasons to believe that there are better ways to grow a company.
From Kirk's perspective, personal connection is the key. The strategy that has put his company at the forefront of its industry relies on:
- Public relations
- Social media
- Product evangelist
- In-store displays
And as the marketing tides change, organizations in many (if not most) other industries who use the same playbook are seeing similar results. Consumers want to do business with companies that are genuine. Kirk's preferred marketing methods are:
- Customer and employee evangelism
- Direct customer feedback
“Here we are. Here’s what we do. Do you like it? How could we make it better?”
The same approach has proven very workable within his company, which has been voted a “Great Place to Work.”
“Here’s what we’re doing today? How can we do it better tomorrow? What would make you happier in your job?”
Kirk employs some of the most talented people in their respective fields. They could work anywhere, but they choose to work for him because of his company’s relaxed, creative, approachable work culture.
The takeaway from Kirk's success story? Mass media campaigns and a big budget aren’t necessary to put your company on the map. Finding and sharing your organization’s true voice through low- or no-cost platforms can create a groundswell of interest and excellent customer and employee loyalty. Respond with transparency and continued engagement and you’ll earn ongoing support from your audience and, in all likelihood, a pretty good paycheck.
With the cost of mass media advertising—especially if you aren’t able to measure the ROI—it’s okay to hate it. But by the broader/truer definition of marketing, even Kirk would concede that he’s not only a big fan of marketing... he'd humbly suggest that his company is incredibly effective at it.