At @SurgeConf 2016 in Bangalore, i happened to hear Mahesh Murthy speaking on how to do marketing with minimum or no budgets and what caught my attention was the statement – “future of marketing is product itself” .
The product for it to market itself, needs a proponent , the best one being a delighted customer. From a start up point of view a delighted customer is important for a critical reason; it validates that product has managed to address one problem, which a customer wanted to be solved. From a MVP, it has moved to a level where firm can start charging for the product or service , a big step indeed.
We have seen this many times in the last few years, where delighted customers acted like ambassadors and brought in their contacts and networks as new customers. Some examples from the past include Gmail or Dropbox and now Uber .
For Lucep, we have a new product ‘Sales Acceleration Service’ . We had come out of beta in Jan 2016 with many beta customers continuing to productive solution. Shared here is the experience we had with one one new customer. This customer having come-up as startup, wanted to support a fellow startup and signed up immediately.
What happened next was completely unexpected from customers’ point of view. They started getting leads from their website much faster and could react within a few minutes. End result , in a matter of 3 weeks, they had concluded multiple deals directly attributed to the leads transferred through our service.
What then resulted was unexpected from our side. The customer CEO called us and entered into conference call with two fellow entrepreneurs and did a recommendation for us. Lesson – for a startup looking to have a long runway, saving on marketing dollars can be achieved by transforming a customer into the product’s ambassador.
This brings me back to the paradigm we started with ‘ future of marketing is product’ or a delighted customer acts as the ambassadors of the product, whether it is a physical product or service it means the same.
If we examine closely, we find some common elements across all the products / services where customers took up on the role of ambassadors wholeheartedly.
— product or service addressed one key problem – completely
— value proposition was easy to understand and explain
— it was easy to install / consume
— it also offered some perceived value for the customers who chose propagate the product
only the last point needs some elaboration in my view – on perceived value .
In case of Dropbox, the customer was able to share invites which offered free storage to the receivers and in case of Uber, the customer was able to offer some free ride to his contacts. In both cases , the customer who acted as ambassador gained some more storage or rides , but that was not the key motivator to share.. It was the experience, that one could add value to for the network by adopting the new product that became the motivator for propagation or customer willing to act as the ambassador…
Look forward to hearing your views on this topic ..