13 December 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Tom Shapiro

Three Mad-Scientist Marketing Methods to Ignite Business Growth

If you were asked to define your next move to ignite revenue growth, would you suggest firing 60% of your clients? How about grinding iPhones in a kitchen blender? No? OK, how about deploying basketball-dunking sumo wrestlers?

It might seem crazy, but those are all real-world tactics that have led to massive business growth for their respective organizations. In my book Rethink Your Marketing: 7 Strategies to Unleash Revenue Growth, I point to dozens of examples of counterintuitive, lateral thinking that led to not only accelerated new customer growth but also greater profitability and ROI.

Here I offer three effective ways that you can use lateral thinking to reinvent your marketing and unlock new revenue growth for your business.

1. Rethink your audience

Imprivata, a security software firm, had originally targeted banks, financial institutions, and healthcare facilities as its target audiences. After the financial collapse of 2008, the company pivoted, deciding to focus exclusively on the healthcare market. That meant firing 60% of its clients at the time. The bold move enabled the company to focus like a laser on the needs of healthcare organizations and become dominant in its ability to close new business. The result was a 233% increase in revenue within six years.

Tableau Software makes databases and spreadsheets understandable to non-developers through its data analytics and visualization software. In the early days, when Co-Founder Christian Chabot drove around trying to get IT departments interested in the software, he was met with dead-end after dead-end. In those days, the IT department was the gatekeeper for technology purchases by large organizations.

So, Chabot rethought his audience and attempted something heretical at the time: bypassing the gatekeeper and going direct to the ultimate users, potentially pissing off the very IT departments to whom he had been trying to sell. The gamble, though, paid off. Business users loved the ability to translate complex data into easily understood visualizations. Tableau has grown by approximately 1,900% over the past six years, with more than 54,000 customers in its portfolio.

When thinking about your own audience in terms of growth opportunities, ask yourself:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Which audience segment is most profitable or has the greatest potential, and would it make sense to narrow your focus to only that segment?
  • Are there complementary markets that you should be targeting in expanding your audience?
  • Similarly, are there other departments, roles, or job titles that you should be targeting?
  • Into which regions can you expand geographically?
  • How can you incrementally add new demographics to your target audience?

2. Rethink your marketing mix

Sometimes, instead of your audience, it pays to rethink your marketing mix. Blendtec was an engineering-focused kitchen blender company with a minimal marketing budget. The company preferred to spend its money on product development instead. One day, George Wright, the new marketing director, spotted Founder Tom Dickson grinding up a 2x2 board in one of its blenders as a test of the strength of the blender blades.

Wright realized he had uncovered something special, and he consequently launched a YouTube video series called "Will It Blend?" The videos featured Dickson, in a scientist's white lab coat, blending everything from iPhones to golf balls, marbles, rake, crow bar, video camera, and even tire repair kit. The videos went viral. Within a year and a half of the release of the initial video, consumer sales increased 700%.

When Jon Spoelstra became president of the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets), the team had long been struggling. Fans were apathetic. Ticket sales and sponsorships were in the toilet.

So, Spoelstra rethought all the marketing the team was doing, as he explains in his book Marketing Outrageously. First, instead of encouraging fans to come to games to see the Nets, he started marketing the other team's superstars—something unheard of at the time. On top of that, he transformed the basketball games into family events, with entertainment the name of the game. Whenever the players would take a break, his entertainment engine would kick into gear, filling up all available time. For example, during the second half of games, he would have basketball-playing sumo wrestlers running up and down the court in their mawashi (loincloths), bringing pure delight to the kids in the stands. According to Spoelstra, the sumo wrestlers were more popular than the players. The result? In the three years after Spoelstra arrived, overall revenue rose almost 500%.

When thinking about your own marketing mix, ask yourself:

  • What are the top performers in your current marketing mix? How can you double-down on them?
  • What are the bottom 20% in your mix? How quickly can you eliminate them?
  • In brainstorming ideas, which options have the highest upside?
  • What are a few outrageous ideas that should be explored?
  • How will you go all-in on your new marketing mix elements?


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