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A Better Mousetrap?

A Better Mousetrap?

A Better Mousetrap?

Dear Friend,

In my earlier post titled, The 3rd Secret to Living the Good Life, I introduced the concept of Virtual ATMs, which provide you with the money you need to live your chosen lifestyle.

Virtual ATMs are mechanisms that you create to generate money for you as you need it.  And these mechanisms are chosen because they fit nicely into your unique lifestyle.

Due to the complexity of the subject, it was impossible in that post to get into much practical detail.

In today’s post, I’d like to introduce you to some of the skills that you will need to internalize if you want to build a first class money creating ATM.  So I have summarized for you below some of the leading edge thinking from today’s marketing world.

First, creating your own Virtual ATM money making machine often involves developing a new business or product that you can conveniently offer to the world.

And, since you are likely to be acting the role of an entrepreneur of sorts, you must familiarize yourself with the basic rules of business.

Learning this stuff isn’t something that you can outsource.  Sure, others can go through the motions of running your enterprise(s) once you get them going.  However, before you reach that point you must understand the fundamentals of business.  Or, more to the point, of how to get strangers to send you money, over and over again.

Of course, in order to succeed with any product or service, you need customers.  Those are the folks who write the checks and pay your bills.  But how does one go about getting customers or developing a profitable following in today’s marketplace?

Let’s start with some background.  Call it Marketing 101, Hugh DeBurgh style.

Back in the early 1980s I was an undergrad majoring in Marketing.

In those days the professors drilled a very specific definition of the nature of marketing into our heads.  I’ll never forget it.

They said that the old expression that, “If you build a better mousetrap, the public will beat a path to your door,”  was patently false.

If the public has never heard of your mousetrap, has no idea that it is better, and doesn’t even know that you exist, much less where your door is, then your “better mousetrap” is going to languish and die.

Marketing, they said, educated, persuaded, and then directed the public to the products.  Without marketing, nothing happened.

Of course, the Internet has changed everything.  In fact, the key question today seems to be whether or not the definition of marketing that I was taught has any place in today’s world.

It may in fact be that, today, the best selling products are those that the customers themselves have discovered, promoted, and directed the world to.

The best customers, fans really, are driving the popularity of today’s products.

If this is true, then exactly how does somebody go about promoting their own products?  Is promoting in a traditional sense counter-productive today?  Does it make the seller look desperate?

Obviously, huge amounts of money continue to pour into marketing budgets.  Is this because these efforts actually work, or because the companies behind these budgets don’t know what else to do?

No one wants to leave the popularly of their products strictly to chance.  We want to do whatever we can to encourage more sales.  But what would that be?

Perhaps today, marketing should be re-defined the effort to encourage and promote the growth of self-developing “fan clubs.”  These groups of fans aren’t created by the firms.  Instead, firms simply create a comfortable environment that encourages the spawning and growth of these groups.

Think in organic terms rather than in engineering terms.

Customers aren’t created through marketing.  Instead, fertile ground is prepared so that, should a seed fall, such groups of fans may sprout.  And once they sprout, everything possible is done to encourage the health of that group, without smothering it.

Get it?

It’s an idea that requires a delicate approach to “promotion.”  Any whiff that you are in fact promoting just drives fans away.  For old-fashioned, used car salesmen, this is just a bit too esoteric.  But that’s the way it is.  And the “marketing” geniuses of the future are going to be those people who are best at encouraging and feeding the growth of fans.

Think Hollywood promoters, writ large.

Are you ready to be a star?

Some marketing folks call this brand development.  You are really selling the image of your product.  This all takes for granted that your product is fantastic and will appeal to a decent number of people.  If not, you’ll never get this far.

Nike shoes has been doing this forever.  Nike owns no factories. It doesn’t make a single shoe.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that.  And even if you did, it makes the point.  Nike is an image.  A brand.  A club.  When you carry that image, you are announcing to the world who you are.  It is a social statement.  It’s a club of fans.

Now, true, this kind of marketing may not seem to fit well with sales of toilet plungers.  But then, that’s a commodity product.  Something that is sold based on price and availability.  And probably not a good product choice for you.

But growing fans is something that, once you get it going, has a life of its own.  And sometimes, the more distant and reclusive you are as the key player in all of this, the better!

That just might make it the perfect marketing technique to use in developing your unique ATM.

So, marketing today is the process of nurturing fan clubs.

Sounds anticlimactic, doesn’t it?  Yet, if you get good at it, people with money will be beating a path to your door.

All the best,

Hugh

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