I’ve started a wellness brand. I’m going to detail more over the coming weeks, but before I begin talking about what it is, I’m going to take the opportunity to document the philosophies and strategies that go with launching a new company. My hope is that my notes will provide value to other entrepreneurs and marketers interested in the oddball journey of launching modern products.
I’ve transitioned from a startup sales and marketing leader to an agency owner over the last 18 months, and my partners and I have been blessed to go from nothing to millions a year in revenue in that timeframe. Two things that have become increasingly apparent when marketing ourselves and marketing the dozens of brands we’ve worked with are that
a. marketing needs to no longer just tell a compelling story, it needs to create value
b. organic, personal connection needs to be at the foundation of modern brand success
When starting this new wellness brand, the team and I knew the product had to be top tier, or it wasn’t worth it to spend the time on it. It’s funny how often this concept of creating amazing products is overlooked, especially in this era of side hustles or easy amazon and dropship businesses. I’ve had to create campaigns for a lot of mediocre products in my day, and what I’ve learned is that no matter how good the surrounding sales or marketing is, all these campaigns are doing is postponing the inevitable—decent is no longer acceptable in a world of hyper-saturation of everything, decent will very likely fail. This saturation applies to almost all product categories—as a consumer daily I can choose from multiple scooter apps, ride share platforms, pants brands, lotions, sparkling water, kanban boards–you name it, there are options. To survive, brands don’t just need marketing dollars, campaigns and time, they need a high net promoter score—is this product good enough for a user to recommend it to a friend? Is it that much better than the alternatives that it is a “no-brainer” choice when the products are side by side on a shelf or in the apps on your phone?
So we started with the product. No amount of time in development, cost of goods, or pitfalls could get in the way of “the recipe” or the ingredients to make our product awesome. It had to be the best, or it would simply get lost.
Back to the two concepts I brought up above. I’ll save the deep dive on marketing creating value for another time… cutting to the chase in this scenario–if you have a product that’s great, the #1 value driver you can give as a marketer is that same product. Give it away for free. You’ll quickly find out if you believe in your own product, or if someone else believes in theirs by if they believe it’s good enough to give it away. If you believe that giving away a product will generate that money back in future sales, you believe in what you’ve created. So that’s where we’re starting. Our brand is going to be executing on that in two ways— offering free (just pay shipping) samples for one SKU, and giving away the other SKU to any friend of ours we believe has the influence to help build our base.
Our definition of influence here is very wide, this isn’t about instagram influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, it’s about real people of all kinds. We have a universal product set that ranges from $27-$40, and the majority of friends I’ve had over time that I believe would actually mention it to a few friends or have any moderate level of social media fit that category. Even ones that don’t but would know people that actually would benefit from it fit the bill. It’s an investment, but I believe it’s the right one, and since we have the means, there is no way I’d rather launch.
This ties into the second point above—organic, personal connection is the future of marketing. I’ll paint a bleak version of the current marketing future for a lot of the digital marketers out there—we’ve been living in an unprecedented era for cheap value in marketing. Facebook ads, Instagram ads and Google Shopping have presented just absolutely enormous value many brands still can’t wrap their heads around, it’s been an unbelievable opportunity for those that could take advantage. But this era is fading. The target demographics are leaving, the costs are going up, the noise is getting louder and louder, and unlike previous generations when there were new mediums to fall back on, a new hot network that could drive value—there’s nothing waiting to save us.
So what can you do? Take whatever fanbases, customer bases and personal networks you have, and get them truly into your network, and offline if possible. Get physical addresses, get every piece of info you can—messenger, phone, email, address. Know all of these people at least in passing, casually if not more. Send people things, get people together, build a foundation for your projects and products to organically spread. It’s the age of the personal CRM, and for brand CRMs that are extremely personal and detailed, and staffed by personalities with real interaction, not just contacts held for marketing blast fodder. You’ll have this foundation no matter what happens in the media landscape. And if your product is good enough, and you use it— it will move.