Tag Archives: marketing

How Startups Slay Giants

Killing giants

Illustration credit Christian Laborin

Slaying giants is fun, almost every new disruptive company slays a giant or two. Last week I had a chat with a team based in Puebla Mexico working on a cool augmented reality application for museums. They asked for my thoughts on their app and business model, I happily answered their questions. One of those questions comes up every time I talk with startups: How do you protect yourself from giants who might copy your idea?

What your startup makes should give your customer superpowers

One of the hardest things to do when defining what your business does is explaining it in the simplest of terms; the key challenge is distinguishing between features and benefits. The reason that this is so vitally important is that, in the words of User Onboarding: “People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves.”

The Difference Between Customer Needs and Wants

The Difference Between Customer Needs and WantsUnderstanding the difference between a customer’s wants and needs is a major key to succeeding in business. Often what a customer wants is diametrically opposed to what they need. As a businessperson, your job is to give the customer what they want. Helping them to understand what they need is also important. However, it’s not your responsibility to convince customers to get what they need. Businesses make money by satisfying their customers. Often it’s easier to sell them what they want than what the need. So that’s where businesspeople should primarily focus their energy.

What large companies still don’t get about marketing innovation

Though we are fairly well into the internet economy where brands can communicate directly with customers in a variety of ways through social networks, one belief from the old order still holds true: incumbent brands believe that in order to win the hearts and minds of customers, that they can out-market upstarts that gain loyalty through the great products and services they deliver.

There are only a handful of companies that can both make great products and advertising. We continually marvel at products and services from visionary companies like Apple, Google, Uber and others who gain our loyalty the product and service excellence; you can actually feel their dedication.

Question everything to break out of habitual thinking

big pinata at Mi Pueblo Restaurant in TIjuana

Innovation comes from new ways of seeing and new ways of being. Learn to see different, learn to be different, and you will discover the different.

Though Tijuana has to come to be known as a place where you’ll find great food, I don’t think that is the case. For example, take a stroll through West Los Angeles and you are bound to find more food variety and differentiated restaurants than in Tijuana. Same goes for San Diego. Yes Tijuana has great food, but it’s not like you can’t find it anywhere else.

This weekend I had lunch at a very colorful traditional mexican food restaurant in Tijuana. The inside of the restaurant is themed as a city and it has the biggest Pinata I’ve ever seen in my life!

To find the truth you have to look within

Peter Drucker famously remarked, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said”. The same could be said of innovation techniques such as direct observation and journalistic interviews. You might ask people questions and have them tell you stories about themselves, but they can’t tell you how to matter. Finding the WHY is similar to uncovering market insights, you’re piecing together a puzzle and then suddenly the missing piece to the puzzle pops into your head. But that missing piece was founds as the result of perspective shifting and synthesis.

Last week I spent some time with a client who wants to develop his own brand. I literally shadowed him for 4 days in an effort to help him find his truth. In industry parlance this is called ethnography. For me it’s simply Finding The Truth.