The story of a "Silly" business owner

By Leo Gamayunov
President & VP operations @ MARKÉTIKA
on February 23, 2017
More than once, we have faced a very simple and evident mistake that business owners make when building their company. They neglect the very first and most important element of a healthy business. We understand why, we understand how, and in reality it's quite normal. We all make mistakes and we learn from them. I am sure many of you readers can relate to this example.
Here is a story :

A "Silly" business owner walks into an office:

"Hey Leo, you guys are marketers. Market my product and get me sales! I am in the business of selling horse shit. Here is the budget."

We take the project and we go on to conduct a market research. We find that there are trends and tendencies (which we marketers call "insights") in this particular market and that there's an audience that we can position the product to.

Here's what we find:

1. People like to eat organic because they want to be healthy and fit.
2. People like horses because. Horses are noble animals and they remind them of freedom.
3. People love chocolate.
So we come up with this branding:
We launch the awareness campaign. The product is on the shelf.

Now imagine this:

A beautiful wife is shopping in the "sweets section" of the store. She sees a beautiful package with a graceful horse running through the prairies. She likes it, it reminds her of herself, and how she once, sometime in the past, saw a horse running in the wild. She was a little girl back then, visiting her grandfather's farm. She buys it.

Later that evening, she serves the product for dinner. Her husband gets one, her children each get one, and her dog gets one too. Everyone puts the product in their mouth and smile. When the taste of chocolate wears off, the taste of horse shit is undeniable. The smile changes into a cringe and right there… You've lost everyone.

You lost the wife, the husband, their kids, their friends and friends of their friends because your product was shit. We know that on average, one unsatisfied customer, will tell 10 of his friends about how bad this experience was. (Great source for customer services stats here).
so what is the moral of the story?
It does not matter how creative you are, or how much money you will load into advertising. Even David Copperfield would not be able to build a successful business out of a pile of shit. If you are selling garbage, you might as well just stop.
Well, sure It is easy to disregard the importance of product development, especially if you personally believe that your product is great! Let me tell you, you are not the only one. Every business owner thinks that his business/idea/product is great. Otherwise, why are would you be in business, right?

Unfortunately, this self-centric opinion and rejection of reality can significantly damage the business at its core.

Alright, so how can you make sure you are not selling shit?
Talk to your customers.
They have all the answers.
What we recommend to businesses who want to create a product that sells:
Think of the questions that matter to your business
First of, you need to understand what is it that you want to measure. Start by writing down basic questions that will give you an idea of what you customers think, like or value in your product/service.

In our agency, for example, we ask questions like this:

- How would you describe TTBA Group agency to your friends?
- If you could change one thing about our agency, what would it be?
- What is the one thing we could do better?
- How often does your project manager explain the reasoning behind the performed actions?
Conduct surveys
Use Survey Monkey or Google Forms to create online surveys for free. Keep them short. Avoid questions with leading answers. Ask open ended questions.
Make it easy for people to complete your survey. Offer purchase discounts or additional services to incentivize participation.
Identify meaningful isights
Gather data and identify significant patterns. Highlight areas that need improvement. Do not forget to cross check your competitors to get ideas on solutions that are present in the current market. You can easily find something that already works or even better, find a gap that you can position yourself on in the future.
Come up with a hypothesis
If I do this -> it will result in this -> this is what I want. Develop a plan of action to test your ideas. Do not create anything at scale. If you fail, you want to fail small and at a minimum cost. Use as little resources as possible.
Test -> Fail -> Great
If the test is positive - great! Integrate and update -> Move forward. To fail is equally important, if not more, than to win. You can always, by nature, lead yourself into the unproductive results, just because you are asking the wrong questions.

The key is a reverse thinking.

You are asking questions to prove yourself right. That is a very common mistake to make. Always do the opposite - challenge your business from a critic's standpoint. Think of how you can prove yourself wrong. Thinking this way will make you think about the right questions.
Eventually the product will get better. Your customers will tell you so.
Now you are ready to start the journey of establishing your brand. You can go deeper into understanding how to build a brand that sells on our blog.

If you are interested in finding out what value our team can bring to your business, click here. We will analyze your current situation and present a strategy with long-term as well as short-term objectives that will get your business to the next stage.

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