On the run up to Easter I’ve been thinking about why successful Startups win. As a technology focussed founder, I’ve also learned in recent times to focus less on the bits, bugs and bytes and more on the user, or customer. It’s also been a few weeks since my last tongue in cheek article, so let’s have at it!
It occurred to me, and I know this is obvious, but marketing is a very powerful thing. It’s the most powerful thing Startups can have, more so than technology. Here’s why I believe this…
Let’s Time Travel
Wind the clock back to the 19th century. Some young innovator wakes up and thinks, “mmmmm that chocolate stuff is interesting. People are eating a lot of vegetables. I wonder if I can rapidly pivot my peasant existence by applying Ye Olde Disruption, to get people to eat tonnes of chocolate!” (I’ve found a better way to capture a written evil laugh, so let’s go with “Mwuuhahahaha”)
It’s not a noble idea, eating chocolate, it doesn’t exactly do any good in the world. Nonetheless, our young chocolatier turns up on the 19th century version of Shark Tank – back then it was called Ye Olde Chamber of Alchemy. “Me Lords, observe! I’ve discovered a new way to mould chocolate into egg shapes, and people are going to eat tonnes of this stuff.”
Shark Tank is not an Original Idea!
Ye Olde Sharks gaze blankly at the chocopreneur who has gained a few kilos due to product testing and validation. He says, “The public will buy them because it’s Easter.”
The most learned of Ye Olde Sharks objects, “Forsooth, do tell how one associates Easter with egg-shaped chocolate. Prey tell, what is ones’ addressable market and whosoever shall be the most prolific to gormandize on such useless produce.”
“Well it’s quite simple, everybody will eat them, save for those who are medically prevented from doing so, or those who have passed to the great chocolate factory in the sky.” The youngster certainly has a way with words.
“Nae, I say again, nae! I see no reason for the proletariat to participate of this wasteful idea. Therefore, I do declare forthwith, I be out!”, and with that the most learned of Ye Olde Sharks withdraws from the best pitch the show has ever seen.
Undeterred, our egg headed founder continues, “Well the key to success is that people will lie to their children, telling them that there be a mystical furry rabbit that hops around in the small hours of the night, dispatching eggs to secret locations.”
Hitherto Unseen Hilarity!
Ye OIde Chamber of Alchemy has never seen the esteemed panel of investors rolling on the floor in hysterics, with tears of laughter on their cheeks. Until this point.
When the ability to breathe normally returns, the next Shark challenges, “The young fool appears to be confused, nae, delirious. Rabbits and eggs. Surely, we already have enough confusion with the sequence of arrival between said eggs and chickens. Eggs and chickens are undeniably inseparable. Crazy young fool, I will partake of this nonsense no more. Hereon in, I shall have no more of it sir!”
Only one final Shark remains, his brow wrinkled. “So, people will eat them, in fact, they will ensure their offspring eats them, by saying that a furry rabbit hops around in the night, deposits them in hiding places, and upon wakening, children will scurry to find them as if possessed by demons. Henceforth upon finding the eggs the young ones will sit quietly and eat them?”
“Yes sir, I believe you have captured the essence of what future participants will call my defensibility, unique value proposition and in years to come, the most learned of them all, a Soothsayer called Simon Sinek will call my ‘Why for’!”
“I shall offer you five bushels of corn for 80% of your venture young man, and bid you good day!” Says the Lord SupaMarket the most infamous investor of his time.
History Teaches Inescapable Facts
It seems clear to me based on this factual and historical account of how a Startup created an entire industry, that not much thought went into the facts, truth, human needs and betterment of society. Not dissimilar to this article actually.
Merely, a sacred time of year was hijacked, a product was inserted into the market and a huge marketing machine churned to ensure mankind consumed something of little value. Mmmmmm this is getting embarrassing – that’s exactly like this article!
So next time you explain your product or service, or pitch it, ensure you’ve consulted with a friend or expert who is knowledgeable about the prestidigitation that is marketing.
Consume all you can about where your market is, how you reach it, how much product or service will be consumed and what magical distractions you can conjure forth that consumers will attach their emotions too.
Try telling them that enormous benefits shall be bestowed upon them by a mystical Startup Unicorn who flies around in the night sprinkling beautiful value-propositions upon them.
Happy Easter, and yae, be sparing with engorgement of your soul with that dark sweet substance!