Product Marketing On A Shoestring Budget
So, I have been a product manager at several startups, and I have enjoyed each one. Startups have a different energy than larger companies. But, startups often lack money. Cash is an essential thing startups lack. This means that product managers need to be able to pay their payroll, which is not always possible.
It’s all about the chocolate.
Okay, I think that’s enough. Let me start the discussion with my best idea. In my entire career, I cannot count how many trade shows I have been to. Each vendor has a booth, and each one gives away something to make sure that people remember them. These shows give out bags to visitors who arrive at the show so they can take home some “swag.” How can a small startup compete with big companies that give away flash drives, coffee cups, and pen sets?
The answer is simple: chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate, or they know someone who does. You will be able to show your appreciation by giving out chocolate bars. Take a chocolate bar and remove the wrapper. The metal wrapper can be left behind. You can then print your wrapper with information about your product. Wrap the candy bar again. These can be handed out to customers, and you will see a line form at your booth. This is something you can add to your product manager resume.
Odd Shaped Handouts
Each product comes with a set of product development information that you would like to share with your customers. Every vendor at a trade fair is trying to do the exact same thing. Too often, I see product managers creating 8-1/2″ x 11″‘ sheets of paper with material on both ends. These managers then hand them out to passersby, who then take them away and never look at them again.
It is a terrible feeling to see my hard work ignored. When I have product information I need to pass on to my customers, I use a different approach. My brochure is different from everyone else’s. A 3″ x 9″ brochure is my favorite. It can be stuffed into a man’s pocket in his suit jacket and will stand out from all the other items he picks up at a trade fair.
Have you read a good book lately?
There is a high chance that potential customers will throw away any printed material we give them about our products. This is because customers don’t value our material.
To get around this problem, I did some research. What did my customers value? The answer was to book. They didn’t throw away books. This was the moment I realized my product required a book about it. Amazon purchased CreateSpace, a company that prints books on demand. How many would you like? Each copy will cost you approximately US$2.50. When I hand out my product guide, I am confident that my customers will keep what I have given them.
What Does All This Mean for You?
It would be wonderful to work at a company such as Oracle, Google, and Google that has a marketing budget virtually unlimited. You may find yourself working as a product manager for a startup that values every dollar.
When you have a limited marketing budget, there is no single way to grab your potential customer’s attention. Some of the things I have tried that worked well are customizing chocolate and giving it to potential customers. To make my handouts stand out, I create unique shapes. Customers don’t throw away books, so I create a book about my product that I then give to potential customers.
Product managers must be creative. Anybody can create content that speaks about their product. You must be able to create materials that are unique and stand out to become a product manager. Take a look at the three I have shared and see if there are any other ideas.