As a small and or medium-sized business, you may look to companies like Apple Inc., or Microsoft Corporation for a good model to emulate when it comes to marketing and advertising. You see droves of people waiting for the release of the new MacBook Air and think, “If I could get people or businesses to want my product like that!”
Of course, the problem is your business doesn’t have an unlimited marketing budget. When you pay for advertising, you need customers to walk in the door immediately. In most cases, you need customers to walk in the door before the check clears on the money you just spent.
While we don’t recommend you spend millions of dollars on branding, there are some lessons you can learn about getting customers and advertising from the giants like Microsoft.
Here are 3 things you can learn from Microsoft’s advertising of the Microsoft Surface product line:
1) Talk to Someone But Not Everyone
When the Surface Pro first came out, it was very clear that Microsoft had a couple of markets in mind, students and young creative professionals – like me. Check out this early commercial of the Microsoft Surface Pro, aimed at business professionals (if you were wondering I can do all the dance moves).
Even if you think your product is great for everyone, when you bring a product to market, you need to talk to a specific group that immediately will want your product. This group will likely become your evangelist (aka fanboys). You need Fanboys and girls to spread the word – it’s free advertising and the best kind.
Just look at YouTube comments for Apple or Microsoft product videos and see how the evangelist attack and defend their favorite products.
2) Don’t Just Talk A Good Game – Show It
One of the most powerful things you can do in marketing is to demonstrate the value of your product or service. This is better than talking about features and even benefits.
You may not have a multimillion dollar marketing budget like Microsoft to brainwash us with commercials over and over again (hey, it worked on me – as I write this article on a Surface Pro 3), but any sort of demonstration is better than talking.
What is the one thing, you want to demonstrate about your product?
Below Microsoft demonstrates the mobility (for business professionals) of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
3) Build, Measure, Learn
This phrase Build Measure Learn is a term created and popularized by Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startup. It refers to a product development methodology used often by software startups or SaaS companies, but can be used for any product or even service.
The problem most businesses have – even if they have customers – is they don’t have an intimate relationship and understanding of why their customer buy from them or a potential customer would buy from them. This is essential for any marketing or advertising.
Why? Desire. Remember the droves of people in line for the IPad. That’s passion and desire. That is understanding what your customer wants and serving it up on a platter.
You have to create something (a service or product), measure your results and get feedback from the market. And then, you need to change things in your offering based on that feedback.
This is a lot of work. But the end result is a product that is desirable.
Does your market desire your product or service?
Sometimes, your initial big idea is not desirable at all. Or it is not executed well enough. What do you do?
Well Microsoft has put out several iterations: Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface 2 (which was a miserable failure), Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 and now the market is waiting on the Surface Pro 4 with bated breathe. With each iteration, Microsoft Built, Measured, and Learned. You should do the same.
So let’s wrap this thing up. You can drastically improve your marketing and advertising results by following Microsoft’s lead. Not by trying to compete in a branding sense, but by being smart and strategic (sometimes even scientific) with your marketing.
Remember these 3 things:
1. Talk to Someone Not Everyone
2. Don’t Just Talk a Good Game – Show It
3. Build Measure Learn