Believe it or not, starving a business generates better values. Today, Ken Courtright shares another crucial business nugget about a common mistake that large companies have—lack of starvation. Ken explains to us why starving your business is essential in boosting marketing and generating sales. Through some examples of successful products, you too might want to consider incorporating hunger into your business strategy.
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Starve For Revenue
I wanted to do a 3, 4 or 5-part series on a couple of quick-hitting nuggets. It’s not for everybody, but for the right person, each of these next nuggets in this series could help out. I want to jump right in with one that it is not for everybody. I do think 60% to 80% of businesses, no matter how big or small can take advantage of this little nugget. This one came about because I was prepping for an interview. I thought one of the questions was going to be, “What do I see as a common mistake out there for the larger businesses?” It’s not necessarily a small 1 to 10-person shop, even a 10 to 50-person shop, but the big businesses. I never did get the question, but it got me thinking. I realized that some of the lessons for some of these larger businesses could go down to the granular level. I want to go right into it.
One of the biggest mistakes that we as growth consultants see in the larger business, I’m going to say the 30-plus employee company upwards up to the biggest in the world is that these big companies are not yet starving. What I mean by that is, I’ve been doing a lot of homework for 6 to 12 months on the brain. Dr. Joel Fuhrman has an incredible series on PBS. His studies have proven that the only way you can generate a new brain cell is through a period of starvation. You have to go into your 36th hour of starvation. When the body and the mind have been physically starving of nutrition into that 36th hour, it starts to create new brain cells at a high level. They’re using these findings to fight Alzheimer’s and different things like that, but businesses are the same way.In business, leverage your greatest asset against the weakest point. Click To Tweet
A lot of times these bigger companies, they get soft when they get budgets. They’re used to leveraging as a strategy. Meaning the pure definition of strategy is leveraging your greatest asset against the weakest point to deliver the largest game. The bigger the company, the more the cashflow. Often, that cashflow is used to leverage audiences per se. I’ll give you an example. A lot of big companies back in the ‘80s and remember we’re in the internet world where one year in dog years is seven years in marketing. A few years ago is like 1980 when it comes to marketing. I want to give you a feel. In 1980, 1985 and even 1995, in ‘95 there were only 28 TV stations of any kind. Now, there are 280 main cable channels and TV channels. Who in the world watches commercials anymore? There are still people that watch some commercials, but the reality is when it comes to business strategy for marketing, we’ve got to get real. We’ve got to start to starve a little bit, so a big company to see things a little differently.
Here’s an example of strategy and I’ll dovetail this into marketing. If you take the NBA, you take these pro basketball teams, they’re in the middle of the playoffs. If you take the two best players on the team and pit them up against each other, they’re incredibly awesome, they’re like-minded skillset, you might get one guy to score 32 points. The other guy scores maybe 30 points. There’s a net gain for that one team of two points when you pit the two best players against each other. You would think the strategy is leveraging your greatest asset but in business, you want to leverage your greatest asset against the weakest point.
Picture this scenario. What if you go ahead and pit your best player against their best player and it’s in that game of zero. What if on your team, you have someone that from a skillset of 0 to 10 is a seven? What if you can match them up with someone else on the other team who is a skillset of three? That person who’s a seven, maybe they’re 7’0” tall and incredibly skilled, maybe they’re going against a 6’2” person that’s not skilled. That person might be able to score at will and in that position, could be lopsided to the point of 10 to 15 points in the game. It’s not as high as 32 points but the leverage is dramatic in the outcome of the game. I’m still seeing a lot of larger companies that are using strategies from 2011 and that’s 1980 in the marketing world. They’re leveraging monthly budgets against TV and radio audiences.
It’s not that it doesn’t work, our company still does national radio. I’m not saying don’t do it. However, who watches and listens to commercials now? Leveraging money against the larger audience has its place but I want to bring to the table some new evidence that’s come around since 2010. We’re talking about the Old Spice commercial from 2010 that is called The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. In 2010, this commercial went viral on YouTube. Since then, Old Spice has come out with many viral videos. Some they play on TV and some that’s only for YouTube. There are many of them that you can go to YouTube and type in ‘the ten-minute compilation’ and watch the best of Old Spice’s videos. They’re hilarious and Old Spice has never sold so much deodorant and cologne in their history. They did it with the least expensive advertising campaign per capita per annum in corporate history.
There’s another incredible example of viral marketing that costs little to nothing to do. It’s by a company called Hello Flo. Our chief marketing officer, Dave Conklin, turned me on to this at one of our Digital Footprint events. You’ve got to go to YouTube, type in Hello Flo and watch these videos about these kids when they’re starting to get their cycle. I’m telling you, it’s funny. Here’s the point. In the old days, the strategy would be to leverage money into the audience. Now, you want to leverage conversations into the audience. It’s no longer leverage money into the audience. That’s exactly what Old Spice did. They found out what are the conversations between husband and wife. Quite frankly, the conversation she’s saying to the husband, “You smell like me. You smell like a girl. Stop using my soap and shampoo. Use your own stuff.”
Sure enough, they brought that conversation into the mainstream and it did stick. Their stock, price point and revenue went crazy. What did it cost Old Spice? What did it cost Hello Flo to do these? It’s next to nothing. There is a killer article on December 9th, 2015 in SmallBizTrends.com and it’s called The Best Viral Campaigns of 2015. I need everybody to check it out. It is awesome. Do not forget to check out and dig into Dove’s Average vs. Beautiful campaign and the #LikeAGirl video. They’re all awesome. You’ve got to ask yourself as a business owner, “Could we, on a shoestring budget, make something like that?” The answer is, of course you can. The question is how do you take advantage of this?
Number one, you watch these materials and you start with a tool called BuzzSumo.com. You plug in your industry, vein, or niche and you let the world talk to you a little bit. What BuzzSumo does, it shows you what has gone viral over the last twelve months. After you do a deep dive into your industry and you see what’s hot, what’s relevant and you model it and make something similar. If your immediate reaction is, “How would I do that?” You’re not a regular listener to this podcast. It’s time for you roll up your sleeves, pant legs, pull on your boots and you get busy. Start with podcast number one. This podcast is ten minutes. They’re all 10, 15, 20 minutes but I can assure you in these first 50 podcasts, you’re going to get at least 3 to 5 different ways to attack. How would you create those viral videos? How would you go about the study of this? That’s what this is all about.
This is a quick ten minute, one little hard-hitting one to get you to stop thinking about how do you use your money as a leverage point. I need to get everybody to start shifting to pretending you’re financially starving and maybe you are. When you’re financially starving, necessity is the mother of all invention. For the big corporate readers out there, why don’t you pretend you’re starving? That’s the whole point of show number one that kickstarted this whole thing. Pretend you’re starving. What would you do? What are the biggest companies in the world when they’re at their breakpoint and about to go bankrupt do? That is the seed thought that kick-started this whole podcast series. Talk to you guys soon. Take care.
- Dr. Joel Fuhrman
- The Man Your Man Could Smell Like – Old Spice’s YouTube video
- Hello Flo
- Dave Conklin
- Digital Footprint
- The Best Viral Campaigns of 2015 – Small Business Trends’ article
- Average vs. Beautiful – Dove’s YouTube Commercial
- #LikeAGirl – Always’ YouTube Commercial
- Number one – Past Episode (Stacking S-Curves)
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