Superstition in business that we need to question - marketing strategy
Yesterday evening, my almost 3 year old daughter opened an umbrella in the house. Saffy came up to me and said “Look I made a tent! Let’s sit under it”. So I held the umbrella while she got a few soft toys and we just chatted – it was another lovely example of why parenting is fun. However, when my two eldest daughters (aged 16 and 14) saw what we were doing they were shocked and said “Dad, what are you doing? Opening up an umbrella in inside is unlucky!”
My response…….. “Why is it unlucky?”……..silence……….. “If you can give me a rational reason why it’s unlucky I will close it down immediately”…………… the umbrella stayed up and Saffy kept her tent.
So, how many other bizarre things were you told by your parents/ elders when you were growing up. I wish this could be more of an interactive discussion, but please let me know if you have any better ones on our Facebook page. I conducted a bit of research on some of the ones from my childhood:
- If you break a mirror you get 7 years bad luck - linked to times when people believed the soul of the person who broke the mirror would be trapped inside.
- Don’t cross on the stairs – this one comes from medieval times when knights wouldn’t cross on the stairs in case they cut each other with their swords.
- If you give someone a new purse/ wallet as a gift it needs to have some money in it – the origin of this is unclear but if you don’t put some money in a new purse (even a small coin) it will bring bad luck.
- Don’t put new shoes on a table – linked to people who died or laid on a table, this would bring bad luck or death.
- Don’t walk under a ladder – linked to medieval times when the ladder represented the gallows.
- Don’t step on the cracks between pavements – I was told that bears were hiding around the corner and would eat me?!
- When it’s your birthday – make a wish and if you blow all the candles out in one go your wish will be granted.
- If you spill salt, take a pinch and toss it over your right shoulder to blind the devil
- You need to hide all your silver when there is lightening – my Nan thought the lightening would strike the best cutlery.
- If you see a magpie on its own you have to say “Good morning/afternoon Mr Magpie”.
If you saw one this was ‘for sorrow’ so you need to find two ‘for joy’.
- Don’t cut your nails on a Sunday – cut them on Sunday and the devil will be with you all week.
- Looking at this it’s a wonder I got through childhood!
I am smiling to myself as I write this, but isn’t it funny how one random act from my little daughter has stimulated these thoughts. On reflection, all of these superstitions are rather creative and ridiculous! However, because I respected my parents and my eldest relatives I never asked the important question “Why”. I remember being in my teens and asking my Mum “Why can’t I cut my nails on a Sunday” and her response was (sorry Mum if I am embarrassing you because you are a very smart lady) “Because you just can’t, it’s always been like that”. My Nan told my Mum the same thing and it was passed down to me.
So, how does this relate to business? Thanks to my entrepreneurial life I am fortunate to meet lots of business owners – from those dreaming of being the owner of the next Uber/ Xero/ Movember through to those who have ran businesses for 20 years and are looking to grow. Each one has an example of what they have been told by advisers, agencies, staff, friends, blogs, forums, events, podcasts but so much advice is on tactical marketing. There are so many it would make this article last for many pages but some of the favourites are;
Every business must be on social media
Your brand is your logo
Brand isn’t very important for a start up
You can’t raise money unless you already have customers
PR is dead
Unfortunately, these are just as real as the other superstitions. Perhaps, there is some truth in them. Social media is an incredible way of engaging with your customers, however, if you don’t know who you are, your position in the market, and who your target audience is, you may end up spending a lot of time on it without seeing the results you’ve been promised. At Marketing Entourage, we’ve also seen cases of really poorly designed logos, and misunderstanding of ‘Brand Presence’. Your brand isn’t just your logo, it is about the promise your make to your customers, their perception and expectation of you, and it’s much much more than your logo. Having an understanding of your ‘presence’ in the market in your marketing strategy means you can still get a really well designed logo at an affordable price.
In the time poor world that we live in, people are always looking for fast results and short cuts to success. However, I really feel that people rush into the DOING before spending time THINKING and PLANNING. A marketing strategy is so important to your business. Whether that is social media, or building a website, you need to take time to truly understand – what is that you’re trying to achieve, what is your purpose, why should people buy from you, why should they get behind what you are doing, and who is it that will love you and keep coming back for more? Once this is done then you will have the clarity to help you with any of the following.
Defining/redefining your brand both visually and verbally
Building a website
Creating a social media content strategy
Finding suitable channels to market and make partners
Telling stories that will connect with your customers
It’s OK if you still don’t want to open an umbrella indoors or walk under a ladder, but just remember this story when people give you advice for your business. Challenge them and ask WHY. Make sure you have done your thinking first and if you do I guarantee it will save both you and your business time and money to have a great marketing strategy - you will have a focus on what you need to help you grow.
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by Phil Ore
Written by Phil Ore
Phil Ore is the co-founder of Marketing Entourage, co-founder of Entrepreneurs&Co and global ambassador for Inspiring Rare Birds. He has dedicated his professional career to helping people and businesses succeed through human centred strategic design, idea generation and brand expertise to improve the customers experience. During his global career, Phil has been fortunate to have had a wide range of roles working for, and alongside, some the worlds largest corporations and brands. Phil is passionate about the Australian startup ecosystem and is a mentor, advisor, MC, and panelist for various social impact, NFP, entrepreneurship and technology based businesses and events.