We all like free stuff.
And when it happens unexpectedly, most of us have a reaction that is considerably better than what the free thing we received actually warrants. Case in point: you go to an ice cream store. As you are mulling over which flavour to buy, the shop assistant tells you that today you get an extra scoop of any flavour for free. That extra scoop of ice cream probably costs the store 30 cents, but to you, the joy you feel over that extra scoop far outweighs its value. And what does the shop gain from that 30 cent investment? A happy customer that will undoubtedly return and probably tell someone else who may well turn into a customer themselves.
There is a LOT of noise out there. Technology has made us all far easier to reach across multiple platforms. This is a marketer’s both dream and nightmare. For a consumer, all that noise is confusing, sometimes hard to make sense of and, more often than not, just easier to ignore. Even the most compelling of messages can get lost in the ether because they fail to stand out in the crowd.
Seth Godin once said “Ideas that spread, win”. To be successful at this, you need to grab your audience’s attention. It’s marketing 101. Once you have that attention, the magic happens.
So how do you get peoples’ attention?
This means different things to different people, but if you look at value from within your own business, it is what you provide to your customers. They purchase from you because the product or service you are offering has meaning and relevance to them. It impacts their world in a positive way, otherwise they simply wouldn’t buy from you.
Give to get is a marketing school of thought that, when executed well, can return significant benefits. The philosophy behind giving to get is that while you want to ‘get’, you don’t expect it. Therefore, there is a genuineness behind your approach that is felt by your customers, which builds trust, kudos and brand equity. Generosity is attention-grabbing; just think of the free scoop of ice cream. And it’s often the best way to tip the scales in your favour between gaining a customer’s attention or losing them to someone else.
For many organisations, the 'give' you have to offer is your knowledge. It’s what has most meaning to your customers and is what you probably protect the most. One way to give is to take your IP and apply it to a real-world problem that has meaning and relevance to your audience. Why give away knowledge when your customers are readily paying for it? Because by doing so, you are showcasing the depth and breadth of your company’s knowledge, raising the profile of your people, building trust and equity within your brand, and demonstrating a business ethos that goes far beyond just being here to make money. It is a powerful form of marketing, but must be executed without hidden agendas.
People want free stuff.
So, by giving away some of your IP (and I’m not suggesting you give away anything that would be detrimental to your business), you raise the visibility of your brand, your company and your capabilities. Sometimes the most interesting and sought after knowledge you can impart is not directly related to what you do, but more skirts the boundaries and crosses into other waters.
The more value you can provide, the more engagement you will receive. The greater the engagement, the greater your ability to influence your audience’s thinking. As a result you should receive more referrals and enjoy a greater level of trust and respect.
So how do you go about giving to get?
Start up a blog. Craft messages for social media. Get your whole team involved because often the magic comes from within. Have some fun with it. There are many, many channels to communicate with your audience; pick whichever is the most appropriate.
And keep thinking about the little ice cream shop and how they wowed their customers with something so simple.