Walking The Promotional Tightrope

There’s a very fine line between being too over excited and too coy when it comes to promoting your company or one of your products or services.  You occasionally run across things that make you think, “Seriously, where has this thing been all much life” and other times you see people promotion the hell out of themselves or their products that just make you roll your eyes instinctively.

I had a couple of these experiences today.

My family has three iPhones and three iPads and I probably spend $250 a year on Lightning Cables because the connector ends always fray and get damaged.  This is one of those “first world” problems that we have in life – my $1000 phone requires that I replace the $40 charge cable a couple times a year.

I just replace the one for my phone two weeks ago, the one in my car needs to be replaced and my wife’s needs to be changed out now too, so that’s over $100 this month in cables alone.  I’ve seen a bunch of “hacks” to stop this from happening, but today I saw one that totally blew my mind.

This guy created a video of how he uses a zip tie and this stuff called Sugru to stop the cable from fraying.  I sat there watching this guy and was fascinated by this Sugru stuff – I’d never seen it before.  He took this little blob of what looked like Playdoh and fashioned around the part that frays and it solves the problem.

Sugru is this mouldable glue that when you shape it and allow it to cure overnight turns into this silicone rubber.  It’s genius.  I’ve never seen anything like it and straight away I knew of dozens of uses for it.  In fact, their webpage has a post with 14 different ways you can use it with Apple products alone.

Then I thought about it for awhile and what struck me was, “How come I’ve never seen or heard of this product before?”

They clearly have something that is incredibly versatile and useful and I only stumbled across it by accident.  Their promotion and distribution are obviously so lacklustre that someone like me who is seriously interested in stuff like that didn’t even know their product existed.

That’s a marketing failure.

Meanwhile, back on Facebook, I ran across a post by someone talking about this range of products they are working on for this company they created.  Lots of hype, lots of marketing wiffle-waffle, lots of talk… But nobody really appears to be buying these products in any real volume.  A ton of money and effort has been obviously tipped into this venture, but I can’t seem to see how anyone is actually buying the product.

That doesn’t stop the hype machine though.  Tons of posts showing designs, logos and much frivolity.  Doesn’t appear to be much selling going on though.  The business’ success seems to be measured by how many blog posts can be created and how many Facebook Likes they can get.

You can’t pay your bills with Facebook Likes.  You have to eventually stop hyping what you do and get down to the business or doing business.

And therein lies the fine line between focusing too much on creating a great product and spending too much time hyping yourself and your wares.

I tend to fall on the wrong side of too much product focus.  I’m a reasonably reserved and humble sort of person, so I find the whole “Look at me! Look at me!” style of self-promotion doesn’t really sit well with me.  I don’t like doing it and I dislike watching others who behave that way.

As a result, sometimes the good things that I create and the valuable services that I offer may not get promoted with as much vigour as they maybe deserve.  I’m pretty comfortable saying this personal style issue has resulted in me leaving plenty of money on the table over the years.

Conversely, there are people who’ve built massive followings and do very well for a period of time offering little of value and low-quality products because they are exceptional at self-promotion.  They get by on making people excited to be involved.

The best place to be is, strangely enough, walking the tightrope between these two positions – creating high-value products that deliver the goods for people and going out into your market and letting people know that you have created something worthy of their attention that they should absolutely buy.

When you create something that’s valuable and will help other people, you owe it to yourself and your target audience to make them aware of it.

Good content deserves promotion.

If you can get this balancing act right, it will make your business so much more successful than it is now.  That said, for most of us mere mortals, it takes time to learn how to do this properly, so don’t beat yourself up over, just keep working on it and striving to do better every day.

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