When it comes to marketing, there are many theories that simply don’t apply to the real world. It’s not entirely clear how the concept of marketing became so complex, because it’s a simple and natural process. Without marketing, none of us would be here. It’s a part of evolution, socialization, business, and every other aspect of life.
So how did nature perfect what is generally the most difficult aspect of business? Let’s explore the intrinsic way to launch your start-up so you can establish yourself, take over your community, and flourish.
Finches may be the best analogy for establishing your concept. Charles Darwin, who helped develop the theory of evolution, noticed on the Galapagos Islands that finches evolved into several subspecies to survive. They learned how to specialize not only where they lived, but what specific resources to utilize and how to thrive on them. The same theory applies to start-up businesses. You have a product or service you wish to develop into a business. Perhaps you have a passion or education in some particular field. Maybe you have an improvement on how others are doing the same thing, or simply have a dream of being an entrepreneur. All you need to know is what you’re trying to accomplish. Be specific. Finches don’t move to an area intending to eat everything and live wherever they want. Begin with your idea and go from there.
If you’re a new species (or business) trying to establish a niche, you’ll naturally begin by finding a suitable location. Are there resources? How much competition is after those resources? Is there room to grow? Are there predators? Is the area too large to manage, or too small to survive in?
Ensure that you establish your business in an appropriate area. Don’t be greedy, and don’t think too small. Do your research and know the lay of the land before you plant roots. Visit the Economic Development department of your town, city, region, province, or state. Get the facts about the area you want to do business in. “Because I live here,” isn’t the soundest reason to open a business anywhere.
Get at It
Baby sea turtles don’t make a game plan for how to cross the beach and reach the ocean, they just go. You must be prepared to adjust as you go, and if you’re sitting around thinking about it, you’re not going anywhere. Avoid weighing yourself down with intricate details and paperwork. Traditional thinking advises start-ups to waste precious time on business plans, bank loans (which almost never happen), mission statements, and think-tanks. Budding entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of re-editing ideas and policies instead of getting to work. Regardless of how diligent your planning is, there will inevitably be mistakes and a myriad of setbacks you never considered, so plan lightly and market hard. Bull elephants squaring off at a depleting water hole don’t consult a lawyer first, they just go at it. If they fail, they regroup and go at it again and again until they get a drink. Persistence and passion usually win over planning.
There’s a reason rainforests and coral reefs support such plentiful and diverse life – nature feeds on nature. It needs abundance to function. Every creature must know and understand as much about the surrounding environment as possible to survive, and the same applies to business. You need to know as many people as you can, and understand the industries that support the community. Seek out business directories, join the local Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade. Find business and networking groups and attend trade shows and events. The goal is to become recognizable and known in your field. A business can’t survive unless people know who you are and what you do. Investigate groups such as Rotary Club International and the Lions Club. If you’re not good at social and networking events, work on that instead of your business plan. The more people you know, the better. Be gregarious, persistent, and genuine.
Market, Don’t Sell
Nothing is more irritating than the relentless commissioned sales representative or the new entrepreneur with a one-track mind. We all know that person hungry for success who has read a marketing book or taken some course and constantly jams the ABC’s of selling down your throat. These techniques generally strike fear and dismay in the hearts of potential clients. This may come as a surprise, but your potential client may not be interested in your once-in-a-lifetime deal at this moment. Most of us feel uncomfortable being sold to, and people are just too savvy nowadays to fall for the big sales pitch. Meet people and listen to what they say. Make a mental note of their needs and give them solutions when you meet again. People want to associate and work with people they trust, who make them feel comfortable, and who get the job done. Trust is earned, not sold.
Marketing and selling are not the same. Marketing is the art of planting seeds and the pursuit of establishing yourself as the expert in your field. Selling is the act of persuading someone to buy something. Learn the difference between the two. Stop smacking people over the head with one-time offers and special pricing. Nobody wants to be inundated with ads day after day on Twitter or Facebook. They want to be educated, entertained, and enlightened. They want solutions, not deals. Solve the need first, then offer a deal, never the other way around. Marketing is the consistent application of memorable things that trigger people to think of you or your business, like a great logo, a clever tag line, or a catchy jingle. Get noticed for who you are, then back it up with performance. Consider a peacock – the colourful bird doesn’t discuss its 50% off sale or how cheaply or efficiently it can provide for its mate. It just gets out there and shows its feathers. When a mate notices is when it’s time to do business.
Marketing long pre-dates human beings. Nature created it. It’s all around us and we can learn about it in its purest form if we pay attention. From the song of the humpback whale to the colour of a lilac to invisible pheromones in the air, the essence of marketing boils down to getting noticed and surviving. Get back to nature and watch your business prosper.
RG Dundas | Contributing Writer