Clients and prospective clients often ask: How do I win in the marketplace without a lot of money to spend on advertising? They cite well-known examples of companies that have succeeded with little to no traditional marketing support.
Of course, there’s no one silver bullet. According to a recent article in Ad Age , some successful “low-spend” businesses succeed by investing in branded retail stores or in-store experience (e.g. Starbucks); some by aligning themselves with a political or social movement (e.g. Ben and Jerry’s); some by making big investments in employees via higher wages, better benefits, and fun cultures (e.g. Zappos); and some by investing in R&D to come up with truly remarkable products, “game-changers,” that consumers simply can’t stop talking about on and off-line.
There is, though, one thing that unites all successful “low-spend” brands. They each have a strong, clearly defined Dominant Selling Idea that sets them miles apart from their undifferentiated competition.
Starbucks introduced the idea of a true European café experience into a bland US coffee market.
Lululemon introduced the idea of fashion into yoga clothing turning the somewhat frumpy, hippy-like yoga culture on its head.
Zappos brought previously unheard of outstanding service to the on-line shoe shopping experience,
Method introduced the innovative idea of all natural, non-toxic household cleaners into a category awash in products your mother probably used.
There are many other examples. The point is: all market success starts with a differentiated idea of superior value. If your product delivers on a unique, meaningful promise, if you make it easily accessible, and if you price it right, then chances are you’re not going to need to spend as much on media as your competitor, who very likely doesn’t have a Dominant Selling Idea.