In an increasingly crowded marketspace, you must do more to stand out and earn the mindshare of your customers.
This is a lesson the Jugnoo team learned from our recent adventures at SXSW Interactive, and based on what we saw we thought we’d share with you some ways that businesses of all sizes can get a competitive marketing advantage—online and off.
Know your customers
SXSW may be growing by leaps and bounds every year, but one of the ubiquitous aspects of the conference is swag—it’s everywhere.
People hand it out on the streets, at events, at conference sessions, in lounges. In fact, it practically rains swag in Austin during SXSW.
With so many companies giving away so many promotional items, it’s rare that it will make an impact, especially if it’s more of the same.
You can give people free things, but what are you doing and saying to get your customers excited? What aspect of your products or services piques their interest?
Make an impact by knowing your customers, and understanding their situation. Anticipate their needs and give them something that will help them.
Chevy came out a real winner at SXSW—their free “Catch A Chevy” ride service ensured that people were using their products while fulfilling a practical need: getting people where they needed to go when other modes of transportation were hard to come by.
Promote with a purpose
There are numerous sponsored lounges and parties at SXSW.
While it’s a great idea to have in-person interaction with your customers, just herding people through the doors of an event with your company’s name on it does little to get them interested in your products or services. (Here’s a great post from our new friend Rob Blatt on the subject.)
Instead of focusing on a catchall promotional mentality for current and prospective customers, focus on creating a smaller community of people with similar interests, and helping them make connections. Soundcloud did a great job of this at SXSW, inviting their community heroes from around the US to come talk about why they love their product. Included in the program was a great little mixer game that got everyone moving around the room and talking to each another. They all had one thing in common: how much they love Soundcloud.
It was a great way to recognize and reward members of the community, and the amount of passion in the room certainly made an impact on prospective customers.
Do more with less
While many companies spent tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars to promote themselves at SXSW, you don’t need to break the bank to make an impact. You just need the right people.
Three members from the Jugnoo marketing team (myself included) built key relationships with people and generated interest in our product through our love of the company.
We had a great time just getting out and meeting people, and telling them why we love Jugnoo. Not only did this drive a new wave of interest in our beta product, JugnooMe, but it also helped us makes new friends from all over North America.
Your people are you greatest resource—whether you’re a company of one or 100, always remember that your employees are the key to your company’s success.
Last but not least…
The most important lesson we learned at SXSW? Building and rewarding your customer base takes time, but your customers will always be your greatest allies.
It makes sense to get them invested in your company and help define who you are. Master the art of relationship-building and empower your customers to take your company to the next level for you.