The amount of money spent on advertising is mind-blowing. How can these advertising expenses be reduced? By making products that matter. That people will start talking about because the reason for buying it is so obvious that you don’t need to shout about it. Here are 10 ways to achieve this.1. Make a product that actually helps people
This one seems so obvious, yet it is also one of the most ignored ones. Certain products have been out there so long that nobody even questions why they are there. Clothes. People need them to be warm. But why do we feel the urge to buy different shoes every time a new collection of Nikes is presented? Advertising and media make us think that we need to dress to the latest fashion.
But new clothes don’t really help people. They just give you pleasure for a short time and then you want new ones. Like a drug. But what if there would be a product that would actually really make your life better. Easier. Such a product would not need a big advertising campaign, would it? It would simply stand out. People would talk about it on the internet and the media wouldn’t be able to ignore it either. A product that sells itself by really helping people.
So look at the products that you’re making or selling right now. Do they really help people? Or are they just out there to make you and others money? Be honest. Then think about which part you play in this picture.
2. Make a product that serves a real need that people have
What’s funny to me is the fact that marketing is often used to CREATE NEEDS. It’s sad, but it’s also funny when you become aware of it. A while back I was watching TV with my girlfriend and a commercial was on about a cream that would take away the wrinkles on your feet. Yes, feet! The commercial said something like: “Does it bug you too that you have wrinkles on your feet? Well, here’s your chance to make this problem go away.” And as the commercial is playing I watch my girlfriend as she looks down at her feet to see if she has wrinkles there. She didn’t even know she had wrinkles on her feet until the commercial pointed it out to her. That’s creating needs. First create a problem and then offer a solution. Without the ads there wouldn’t be a problem. That’s not helping people, that’s using them to make money. So first think of which actual needs people have and how you could help them to fulfil these needs.
3. Make a product that people can easily understand
If it takes you a long time to explain how your product works or which problem it would solve then there are two things you can do: redesign your product and/or reconsider the problem you were solving. If your product is not easy to understand you will have to spend a lot of money on advertising to get the message out there and even then the results could be disappointing. So keep it simple. Why does your product exist and what does it do?
4. Make a product that’s not an old product with a new flavour or brand
When a new version of an existing car model is introduced, a lot of times you can barely see the difference between the new and the old version. The design, the interior and the engine have been tweaked a bit, some new features have been added and that’s it. But at the same time huge ads of this car appear in magazines, you see the car in commercials on TV, commercials on the radio, a full feature campaign website, guerrilla marketing events…. All this money is spent to give people the feeling that they really should get their hands on this latest, fantastic model. But if the car company would be honest it would say in their ads: “Pretty much the same as the last one.”
5. Make a product that lasts
Basically because companies want to continue to sell stuff, they are tempted to make stuff that doesn’t last. Because the quicker something breaks down, the quicker you’ll buy something to replace it. For instance mobile phones, I have been told that some parts of mobile phones are made in such a way that they last for about 2 years if you use it heavily. 2 years! The reason they do this is because teenagers will replace their mobile phone with a new one within 2 years anyway. And why do they want to buy a new one within 2 years? Advertising makes them think they’re missing out on something if they don’t. This results in peer pressure. If you don’t own the latest model, you’re not cool. But what if products would just keep on working and would only be replaced if they’d really add something significant? A product with a quote like: “Buy one for life.” Are they out there?
6. Make a product that you can recycle
This is something that is getting more and more attention. The reasons why are clear. If you can recycle a product the earth doesn’t get damaged and people get to live longer in a healthy environment. Living in a healthy environment is a need that people have. So live up to it. Don’t see it as something extra that you could do. It’s something that needs to be done if you care. Loads of media are paying attention to green products so instead of paying for expensive ads you could create awareness for your product by simply informing the media about it.
7. Show you care
On the web, people are talking about practically all products and about the companies that make them. Make sure you listen to what they’re saying and also respond to them. Quickly, accurately and honestly. You will get great feedback and if you really solve the problems that these people have you will create an even bigger fanbase along the way. More people will start to talk about your products and this could create such a buzz that it could become your main way of advertising: Listening and talking to your customers. Showing you care.
Where’s 8, 9 and 10?
Normally lists consist of 5 or 10 items. This makes the list sound important. It’s one of the tricks that advertising (and even religion (10 commandments)) use to get your attention. So maybe it would have been better if I had added 3 more. Instead I’m asking you to make the list longer by leaving a comment about other ways to get your product noticed without using advertising.
I’m not an expert in advertising or product design. The list above is just an overview of what seemed obvious to me. With this list I hope to make people and companies aware of the huge amounts of money and time that we waste on stuff that doesn’t matter and doesn’t make us happy. So why not use your money and energy for something good?