Your Thing Isn't Ready to be Marketed


Smart PR for Artists & Entrepreneurs


Lesson Info

Your Thing Isn't Ready to be Marketed

I get a lot of requests from particularly authors, but I think this applies to businesses to or anyone that comes in and they go like, hey, I had this great idea um like we help me I need your help market again and I go so like what's your idea and they tell me it's very confusing and I don't quite get it and then I'm like and so it's ready and they're like, oh no, I haven't it's not done that I haven't actually made it so my probably the number one piece of marketing the advice I get I give to people is your your thing doesn't even exist why are you thinking about marketing right now your way you're putting the cart way before the horse um you need to go back to the drum you need to go back to the laboratory and actually make this thing and then we should talk um and so I thought we could sort of we could talk about your guys his ideas a little bit more this the specifics you was sort of giving the pitches and we'll refine them and, well, willa, we'll crown will craft this stuff toget...

her so who wants who wants to talk? I don't think we've heard that much from your idea, which is so as far as I understand it it's ah, a food delivery service but whose who are the restaurants? How does this work? Sure, sure so we have to sort of arms of it right now I'm working in sales and corporate catering and then we have a food deliveries home delivery service okay, so you know the corporate rating catering is pretty straightforward I pitched business is what we do we have really high quality food and you make it really easy to deliver to the office on dh then the home delivery service is for people who are really busy during the day both parents are working whatever and it's really hard to get high quality meals made from really fresh and good agents you know, for the kids or you know, for a family dinner every night. So that's the that's the problem we want to solve but what kind of food do you make so yeah right now it's sandwiches and salads ok? I mean, the home delivery is ah full family meal so we've delivered three times the last one was ah, it was the simplified version it was um ah chicken grilled vegetables soup uh and mashed potatoes I think I think that was that was everything and who hooks this food? We have chefs in our own kitchen who who we source all the ingredients from we have a lot of local farms we work with, we make the bread and the sauces justin's in house way make everything that day and you know you have your own sort of kitchens and stuff and are these like famous chefs like how do we know that they serve good food? S o like what I was saying before is that we bring the meals for people to try first so they get an idea of what it's like right and like the food is really, really good so I mean the food speaks for itself after you try it so I go on your website and I say bring me free food and then you bring me food and I say whether I like it or not and then I sure so and we're not even we're not there quite yet so corporate the businesses can order online and that's all set up and the home deliveries are we send out the menu to like our beta group on then we just deliver the meals tow see how she is see how it goes see and then what do they caught like what was a coffee would be its sixty dollars for a meal that feeds mom dad a teenager and uh maybe two teenagers and what about for the lunch like for clearing over that's ah so we do box lunches and then like platters, large salads and sandwich platter so oh ah box lunch is a sandwich with a protein aside sound like aquino salad and then a desert and that's like and who were the founders why they decide to make this company so uh it started we started selling food in january and we understand the problem was formed around in san diego during lunch you have essentially two options one is to go get something like fast food that is really easy it's quick maybe it tastes good maybe it doesn't but overall is pretty lousy for you. The best case scenario is that you go to whole foods make something at home out of really high quality ingredients you bring into the office but the lettuce goes bad after two days you have to do the same thing over and over, you know right you have to go back and do it again so we are we have high quality ingredients and amazing service so we have that claudia and convenience that no one else is bringing to the table and why san diego that's where so we have a pretty small team right now is an investor co founder one other person in sales and then me and I'm in sales and our investor teaches at the ucsd business school so that's that's where his family lives and that's where we just ended up starting it and like how many customers do you have any customers who have I mean we're selling hundreds of meals a week? Okay? Um no it's this let's just say fifty of varying sizes um it's better to measure through units on customers and then how many other competitors in your space sure yeah uh our competitors are let's say a panera or a panera bread or specialties that underwriter them on then it's like a whole foods so why why would I order from you rather than order from a restaurant who I like their food I know what I'm gonna get uh let's see let so a few different things one we're going to make it really easy for you to get the food we're going to be delivered right to you and our just about everything we uses organic or locally sourced so the ingredients are of the highest quality okay? So not just grilling you put what I notice when I every time I ask you a question you give me an answer and I have to ask you another question to every question creates more questions right? You're you don't it doesn't jump out at me what you do, why you do it and what's notable about it and you you haven't thought about it to a great degree where you can express this clearly and concisely in one sentence two sentences, three sentences and so it should be that every time I ask you a question that's an opportunity for you to add another layer to it which is increasing it not like you have to take ten cracks at it to explain to me what your idea is who's behind it and what's special about it some accents so it's like let's say you have a book, right? You want the title too? If if I go, oh, you wrote a book and then you're like, yeah, it's called, and then you tell that to me, you shouldn't have to give me a bunch of other subsequent sentences to tell me what the book is about. I think I see what you're saying. I think one thing is that we have I feel like I was explaining to sides of it, right? Because if I was if you are ah law firm and I want to sell food to give you one version and then if you were dad, you know it would be a different why? Why would you have different pitches? Because one you sign up for the home delivery services you sign up for a whole month on then we deliver would say monday wednesday friday, we don't know exactly what it's like corporate creator and would be the best case scenario is a word we're going to deliver eighty meals from one menu. Oh, you know that changes every week and we'll deliver to every monday the worst case scenario is they know that we're an option and one time they want to use us sober and based on what you guys have heard from his, how would you express that business in one sentence? This would want to take a crack at it, so I'd say if I were part of your company, were san diego's premier ah company providing home delivery and company delivery for chef created food, and we deliver multiple times a week with variety and freshness and convenience that you can't get anywhere else that's really that's actually very good and you see, so my question would be like, tell me more about that not I'm confused answer all these questions I have can you talk that? No, actually, I don't think I'm not sure I'm not sure if I could either, but sometimes other people could express your idea better than you can and you wanted you wantto ever every time you explain what you do, it's a chance to refine that message gets closer and closer to the one thing I like to do is that can you express this in one sentence, one paragraph and one page? And if you can do that, then you're sort of prime for every situation, and that might be something for you, too, right? And think about and showed showed everyone else in your business, so everyone is aware and they're on the same page in the messaging is all uh synchronized and it's it's pared down to his essence and you know all the points to bring up like if I got you a meeting tomorrow with an anchor for some news station in in san diego and you had twenty seconds to picture thing, I'm not sure that you could do it in a way that would make them say I have to have this person on air um and what that what that says to me is you're not ready for it and thinking about all these other things that we're talking about our premature until you can get that done let's say you can't sort of learn those lessons, but if you don't have your message in your narrative down, it doesn't really matter what relationships you have because you're not going to be able to capitalize on those relation. Yeah, yeah, I get that too, and we just launched in january so it's and we've even before that there have been a few pivot, so write one thing is we haven't found anyone who's doing exactly what we're doing so it's tough to say it is still hard, teo, but it is scary that you exist and you can't explain it super clearly too two customers or toe reporters or to strangers because that's think about it this way I'm a customer of over food and I'm really happy with the service how can I tell my friends about it if you haven't armed me with what a lot of what you're looking at the end of the day the best form of marketing this word of mouth right um and what you're doing with your messaging is you're providing a great product and then you're providing sort of the words, phrases, ideas and images that your customers can use when they want to talk about your idea on dh if you haven't done that, you're hoping that your product is so amazing that someone is going to take the time to do this sort of go back to that book thing it's like you write an amazing book, it changes these people's lives, but then it's like super hard to explain to people now it's like you're running against this headwind that you don't need to be and, um you don't know contact, right? Yeah possible I love to hear him after hearing some feedback you just get try it out again with that statement is maybe each of you could do the same thing. I'm curious though in that one sentence or that that one out breath are their key components that you should just let you suggest people have in there is it combination say of what you do, how you do it and who you do it for our other like key component fishing sentence yeah, I mean, I don't think it's a formal because it sort of depends on on you and your sort of unique personality and style but what I liked about ellen's was it says it's sort of defined to your context in your market it defines uh it defines the sort of the differentiators between you and your competitors and it intrigues me and it's sort of it's it's there's somewhat of an aspirational element to it which I like about it great about okay, we cv if he tries it again well, here's, what I'm thinking we're having one of the guest we have later we're gonna have a rip porter on and I would like to hear you try to pitch that reporter your idea on and then he'll tell you because I have my ideas uh but he'll tell you like look as a journalist here's what I don't like about what you're saying does someone else wanna take a crack at pitching the idea to go for um I'm inspiring or yeah inspiring women to never wear pants again through a monthly curated sure, um, of pantyhose of ho shary monthly curated showroom yeah eso I have a monthly sherm of hosiery that changes each month and women can go online and select which pantyhose they want each month so it's not literally a showroom it's an online date online cheryl I mean but isn't it? Is it it's aa subscription based hosiery business? Yes much clear but then earlier when you said it you said it was also underwear yeah, his underwear as well the reason that I don't say it's a monthly subscription company is that a subscription company tends tio commentate right now that you don't know what you're going to get okay so when I say curated share room that changes every month people like oh so I get to select what I want which changes the whole game because you know, birchbox model for example you don't know what type of beauty products you're gonna get which is kind of exciting with my subscription company you know what you're getting you're getting it delivered monthly okay um you don't like this you don't like the surprise element or you find you don't like it I love that's how I started my business was having it bi monthly subscription you don't know you're going to get you in try you're goingto try different things right? Yet the feedback was well, I like the products but I really want to get things that you know, I feel very comfortable getting okay, so then I changed it to be you get to choose whatever you want and I'm going to curate it each month to have products that you can't get anywhere else but not everyone gets the same product right okay, um trying to think so the problem with that is that it's it's harder for me to contextualize and place exactly sort ofwhat other companies? Is it like, um so are there any analog or, uh, similar companies that are doing what you're doing in different jonah's airspace? Yeah, shoe dazzle, the beach mint cos you know, human beauty meant that type yeah, they have a curator sharing each month you go in, you select and check out, so you pick. So how many? How many options were gonna pick from it changes each month so it's it's usually more than five, but what I liked earlier you were talking about was attractive to me was the sort of the exotic foreign element of what you were doing. How would you put that into that sentence? Because you're you you shop all over the world, right? Yeah, I know, and I try to find things that you can't find in the u s or if you if they are found us, they're not found in your local department stores. So so I would I would I would use the word exclusive in there somewhere. I know they're not technically exclusive, but like you're the only one who's creating that assortment certainly right? So I like the exclusive element in there for sure all right so you want to say it again what it will do it again original yeah okay ah inspiring women to never wear pants again through a monthly curated sure um okay I like that as uh I like that as uh a tagline on a website but I'm not sure if that's that's what what your company is um never wear pants again is an awesome is an awesome tagline but it doesn't know when let me buy ads with never wear pants again yeah they had like a little exclamation point where you know possibly pornographic none sure so I thought that was good actually yeah could actually probably be an article for somebody good and I like that you're just sort of you're playing with decorum a little bit and you're sensationalizing people but not in like a crude unpleasant way either um so if you if you were having too if a if a fashion reporter from vote called you and said we want to well I heard good things tell me what it is that you do how would you say um curate an exclusive exclusive selection of pantyhose jury every month yeah that's good but and how but I think your description should say how what you get and for a small fee or something like that so every month clients get to select uh one two two pairs of pantyhose for twenty five dollars where they get exclusive access to um and then so they pick what their first second and third choice or they pick just the ones they want just the ones that they want okay I have two pricing crisis what so just to tears just to tears and what of the tears it's one pair in two pairs one pair so because I'm sourcing things in europe the pricing tends to be more expensive so sixty dollars seventy dollars pantyhose so and then I also found that people wanted the lower price option twenty five dollars so I have the two different tears so you could get one pair for twenty five two pair for forty eight and what are the tears called deluxe and locks so deluxe is the forty eight and the lux is the twenty five okay no I like that so I be I mean obviously david's not a fashion reporter is coming on but I'd be curious to see what he responds to it might be another another sort of word or phrase that jumps out to me that that makes this interesting would be the idea that there's this community that you have on dh that that sort it's like what you run is this exclusive community um so so you're hinting that it's not just like that you're hinting that you have this massive sort of buying power and access to a set group of customers and that's why you get these great deals and why you can buy these things at other places you and I actually like to use the phrase of the membership because you feel like you're a member of an exclusive club, right? Yeah is it community and how does that community interact with each other right now I'm trying to figure out how I can communicate you have them communicate with each other better because I have the possibility of possibilities endless right fashion ho shary outfits you know, different seasons so I'm trying to get people to start posting on instagram and pinterest and all that jazz and how do you how would you say most your customers find out about you um so the bulk of the customers do come from pr s so yeah, you know refinery twenty nine wrote something dailycandy wrote something and all of a sudden you know it's spike's otherwise it's word of mouth friends tell friends friends where interesting pantyhose or I will where I were painting I was almost every sunday and people ask me all that's really interesting where can I get them and I go into my pitch okay, so how and how how scalable is is all this so if tomorrow you got ten thousand new customers would that be really bad or really good I could handle it I don't necessarily want ten thousand customers I want a thousand customers total ever know? Not ever, but the thing is, is I'm a designer, and I wanted to start designing my pantyhose the way I wanted to start a design hosiery, but wanted to first start with the company and see if the thie business was viable on and so right now, I mean, I'm sourcing other people's ho, shary and panies, but eventually I will be designing and manufacturing our own so that's, why I like brandon with the sort of the exclusive access because you're setting people up and teaching them that eventually this is going to be products that they can't get anywhere else because you're designing exclusively for them. Um okay, that's interesting. I like it. Um you have time to do someone else. Ariel on it was nothing. This is really great, really valuable for audience out there. Quote. Um, who wants to go when you wanna go? I mean, you guys already exists clearly, but no, I didn't mean to cut you off, but all right, I'll turn quick eso freakin genius makes it so anyone and everyone can animate instantly anywhere and it's using our mobile app, yecch it and it's a dead, simple, super fun way to connect with friends and share your sense of humor in a way that is super unique and innovative. Okay, so it's very adjective heavy and it's also a little bit sort of like buzz wordy and like jargon and then the other problem is you've got to products right or you've got the brand who's doing the app right what's the reason for that is you're gonna have multiple aps at some point or it'll be a family of products it's a full web mobile platform so if you only have one so what does that mean so well it's it's both a mobile and a web creator the tool can be shared from my phone to your feet and you can create a response animated from your feedback to my phone right so we span across a multiple platforms but we're highlighting the mobile app as a creation toe since you only have one thing right now why what is freakin genius to me other than the parent company for this one product sure okay no I'm saying yeah um it's like zana only had one game and it wasn't called xanga do I need to know about xanga? You know what I'm saying so yakety yak yakety yak yak it is the app um just give me the pitch for the app again okay, so yeah kitt it's a mobile app it's a it's a animated video creation tool where you can snap a photo make it talk make it sound funny make it look funny share to your friends that's actually that's very clear I know exactly what it is the only thing I would now I want to know and I think you could incorporate this in your thing how is it it's currently outright so how is it doing like you know could you could you throw that's currently used by millions of users or whatever your figures are I would like I think you're going to attract people's interests like I want I don't want to be the only one making these like avatars and then having to push him on my friend's like I want to know that there's this community and thing going on and that like your pitch should hinted that or alluded it allude to it so it seems more impressive does that make sense? So I would think about what stats you khun sort of baked into your approach like so that's like I'm an award winning photographer I'm a best selling author you're throwing that out you're throwing some sort of social proof along with your thing because there's so everyone's got an apparatus startup or whatever and so many of them are like they exist in product form but they have no users I think in in our specific case given that we're up private beta right about to go public it kind of goes back to the parent company we have much more resonance being who we are in the process we've come from like two stars for example where a techstars company we went through the microsoft connect accelerator we've uh you know, but why can't you just apply that to the ap but that's exactly the kind of social proof that I'm talking about you know, I'm a teal fellow or you know, we're a y combinator startup or whatever you throw that on there and now it says this is not like all the other acts that you've heard of but don't use you know what I'm saying? Um or you know, a number one rated or like you want to look for these social proof things and put it on there like for witchcraft, I didn't know that it's been around for ten years I think that's really interesting and I think that's something that maybe you gets incorporated more into the marketing messaging because it's kind of impressive and ten years is just enough that it doesn't feel like old but still feels like, oh it's the test of time to some degree and I think for us part of it is leveraging the fact that we were doing a lot of farm to table and local and seasonal before it was in vogue and before everyone else was sort of just jumping onto a trend is that we really sort of ushered that into the food movement in new york city yeah, so you could say, you know directly from farm to table for over ten years in new york city or something like that's a that's a a marketing tagline or or sort of sentence that you throw on there that's says a lot of cool stuff about the product that isn't isn't assumed for sure. So our tagline israel food handcrafted cause I think you know it's almost like you want to over promise because people can get very kind of crazy about that so you want to say farm to table and then you know, we have a tuna sandwich honor menu, which is fabulous, but what you're telling people when you're talking to a reporter that's like what you're doing this you're hinting at phrases or things that they can steal from you write like that a great example, so when you do a book and then you go on tv or radio, you do all these things, everything they say about you is pretty much just read directly from the back of the book or whatever if you're doing something else, whatever the press release your publicist sent over or whatever they can read on your bio in your website, so if you can't describe your own message well and you can't provide these phrases, you're at a huge disadvantage because the person's they're not going to talk about you at all or they're going to be they're going to make it up and they're not going to do is good a job as you hand who contest these things and has ah full understated of everything that you've ever accomplished or do we do we do on ends or more of you like ok, yeah go for it okay so this is my one sentence pitch yeah okay um ah my company is bone mountain bristlecone and we um so ethically harvested hand harvested wood to wood workers sorry that was really well no it's not I like it I wonder if like wood company should be in your name yeah that the name is bone mountain bristlecone and bristle cone is the species of wood and if you're really and if you're really in the woods that probably rings that hopefully rings a bell to you it's bristlecone is like the oldest living one of the oldest living speed organism's non clonal organisms if you so I'm bristle cone is the species of what it's a very specific was basically that hopefully that rings a bell to our audience but that's that's actually kind of does what were talking about earlier which is your audience see I I'm not your audience so your message isn't going to resonate to me the right way but if you're saying that they will know and you've tested it out then I trust you that makes sense but I don't know if I've tested it enough but I would think I mean is it clear immediately from your name and from your pitch what you do and who you appeal? Teo? Um, it sounds like it is, but maybe there's some room for jiggling around a little bit. Yeah, I mean, the name is very specific because this is very specific wood coming from a special place, right? And, um, this it's not it's, not ah commodity it's it's, this very special thing that comes from this very special place and that's what we're trying to get across with with the name and even even to the to the to the extent that if you if you were to go out and get some other bristlecone dispersal, cohn was killed in force fire, which gives it some special properties, like kind of caramelizes the sap and your eyes are glazing over. No, no e, but I don't, I don't I don't want to like poor people, but it caramelizes the sap. And and then it sat on this mountainside, and was weathered by wind and rain. And first it was weathered by fire, and then wind and rain for one hundred years before it was hand harvested, and then eventually brought to you so clearly that's much more interesting in concrete, then very special wood from a very special place even though it's longer and word here it's matters and has meaning plus I think what you're just saying it so basically it's all been tested by earth, wind and fire so like it's it's sort of gone through this ridiculous process and I think you want your sentence to reflect that and so here's a question who do you how do you reach the people that you want to reach what you reach them through search through social media through direct how do you interact with your customers they come to you through your website but how did they find out about your website? Well my website is very new and I've done I've been testing on ebay for quite a while and had conversions of like ten and twenty page views to a sale which seems good to me so you posted on ebay and you get ten visitors from that no no no I when I when I I've tested selling this stuff just directly on ebay and I'll get ten page views on my page and from that I'll make a sale okay um I have and so that seems to me to be a pretty good conversion those are people probably searching for bristlecone specifically so on my website I had it brand new so basically I've placed a couple small ads in woodworking magazines and that's where I'm getting a little bit of traffic from okay, those are all I'm not saying that's a good strategy, I'm not saying that it doesn't sound like a bad strike. How else would you reach those people? I don't know, I wonder if some sort of retail distribution might make sense for you, and I might think about that as like so you're on ebay, because that's, where customers are right, I'm on ebay because it was an extremely easy way for me to test whether or not people even want this stuff right and or what they would pay for it, or what you're testing on ebay, because that's, where the customers are right, yeah, I would think about other ways to do that, and that might be one of the most effective forms of marketing for you is, where are the customers, and how do you get in front of them? And even though you're giving the fee up to evil, you're probably making less money than when you sell it directly. You're being that's how you're getting them into your funnel that's, how you're after all, you leave with their addresses, right? And now you can market to them with communications, are gifts or whatever, so I would think about for you, the best way to spread your product, maybe just getting in front of a cz many people as possible, and I don't mean like, getting an ad in front of them, I mean, literally putting it in their hands and having them have it. I think another aspect of this product is that it's a very there's, a there's, a very limited amount of it. And when it's gone, it's gone sort of thing. So I've been really I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing about the product scarcity is always a good thing. I've been a little loath, teo, I mean, for example, I had someone who contacted me and he wanted, like, a thousand pen blanks, which are little pieces of wood, that people turn pens, okay, because a lot of people make pens, right? Whatever reason he wanted to buy thousand, he wanted to buy them wholesale from me and so that he could sell them on to his customers, and I was a little bit lows to do it because I felt like I wanted the control. I wanted the customers to come to me, not to him, but I don't know to me that sounds exciting, because now that's a thousand people who know what your product is, who maybe didn't know what bone mountain bristlecone, wass and he's going to use the message is that you give him to make his products seem more appealing well, his website is terrible but so I mean my fear was that he's going to sell it on right and it's not going to come through that it's that it's bone mountain bristlecone my fear was that it's just going to become a commodity and what I have is not a commodity it's this very it's a story it's it's you know? So if you tell your story right you make him you make it stupid for him not to make it clear that it comes from you, but can't you also sort of demand or negotiate that part of you selling him these thousand pieces is that your brand has to be represented so that it's not a white label oh, I just got this from anywhere but just as an analogy in the food space anywhere I go particular in california, it always says neiman ranch if you're getting that that farm's or the cooperative's products and I'm guessing that they have sort of demanded that if you're ever serving their product, you have to use their branding. So maybe you ask that of this gentle well well, I would imagine that they don't force you to do that it's probably more they paid all this extra money why would they not use this term that says this is special right it's actually it's actually like there was actually a scandal in in california somewhat recently have about places that were claiming they sell jory chicken but there was just a regular chicken and that that means that jor e's in such an amazing job brandon what they do and making it clear that it's a selling point and that it's better than the alternative that places were claiming to be using their product even though they weren't so it's like you did pay extra for neiman ranch but if you're not right you're keeping it a secret the only one that loses from that is is you it's a little chicken and the egg eyed for zero because your brand is unknown today so at this point who knows right now what brand value there is and this retailer may not be inclined or incentivized to put your name on there but if you start to demand it now and then maybe it starts to develop that kind of brand recognition right or you could talk I mean since you're doing this it's just view you could say you know like, look, I'm gonna give you a break on price if you do this for me because you're investing in building that brand and then you can go on like on your website like a great way to incentivize that would be on your website you should be featuring the vendors who sell finished products that use your wood. Because then they're going to say, ok, if I if I give them credit, they give me credit. And you guys have this reciprocal relationship.

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