There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Successful companies do not suddenly appear, we just notice them suddenly.
Even with the rise of the Internet, it still takes years until a company becomes established. First, they need to create a product, then they have to market it. Usually we only notice them long after they have successfully gone through both stages.
This is that story. And the story of shortcuts.
Step 1: Creating a Product
Grind it out with R & D
There’s one question that every company answers before starting out: “What problem are you trying to solve?”
Then you go to the drafting board, you research deep into the issue, you think through tons of ways how to tackle the problem and in the end you conceptualize and create solutions - often by remixing current solutions and technology into something better.
This process is called Research & Development. Nothing novel out there ‘just happened’, instead, an idea was cultivated and progressed through plenty of trials and errors until it matured into a workable solution.
The Shortcut: Just Copy Work
But what if you do not have the time for all that? It’s rather easy actually, you just copy a current solution. Or you only slightly add functionality to an existing product. The devil’s advocate would call this stealing, the marketer would simply describe it as rebranding.
I in no way condemn companies taking this approach, there is still another mountain to climb to become successful. I simply ask them not to claim their copied solution is something novel.
With a novel or rebranded product, you’re ready to move ahead. But nothing is gained yet. You are still far away from actually being a success.
Step 2: Marketing and Growth
Listen and Put in Honest Work
If you have the perfect solution to a problem but nobody knows about it, was the problem really solved? Was your solution really any good? Honestly, no. This is the reason why marketing is necessary.
And yes, nobody likes salespeople using marketing gimmicks or straight up lies to trick people into buying their products, but that does not mean all marketing is evil.
But talking to your market has become difficult. In today’s information overflow it is way harder to get people’s attention than before. Nevertheless, you need their attention and trust for them to become customers.
For generic growth, there is no way around listening to your audience, being honest and open, and ultimately building a relationship with your customers. Only time, genuine effort and persistence will get you there.
The Shortcut: Just Buy Attention
Oh yeah, there is a way around this too. Instead of putting in the work, just buy yourself into the game: With todays ad industry, you can simply spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy people’s attention and hopefully convert enough of them into customers.
The catch with this however is that you normally have to turn to venture capital, which focuses more on the investor’s profit than your customers. There’s this vicious cycle going on that, ultimately, forces so many companies to sell out on their customers. Avoid this at all cost.
Marketing is the act of talking and promoting your product to the market. As a result, growth is only possible through good marketing. The ethics behind it all is another story, but I assume you can guess my stance on that topic ;)
Failing One Step Results in Overall Failure
Think about different companies and their approach in both these steps. What about those who chose to copy old technology but market it in an honest way? What about those that took the shortcut in both cases? What about the geniuses who researched a break-through solution but failed to present and market it to the world?
The truth is, any company failing in either one of the steps will fail as a whole.
Remarkable companies excel in mastering both. They invent new products and are experts at story-telling, captivating their followers and customers alike.
As a final question, how do you think Safing performs these steps? Share your thoughts on our reddit.
February 4, 2020 • Written by David