Firstly no, this is not another Clickbait article. Yes, I was having fun with the headline but I’m deadly seriously when I say you can learn some fundamental marketing lessons from a stolen tortoise.
I will break these down at the end, but first let’s start with a role play. I’m going to make it slightly sarcastic, the story at its core is true.
For the purposes of this, your name is Adam Steff. Your 18, and you think you’re a hard-core gangster. In your drunken state after one can of fosters, you break into the local Safari Park and end up in a tortoise enclosure, where you are captivated by Flo. Flo is a 4.5lb juvenile Aldabra giant tortoise, and you decide to take her home. The next thing you know, you wake up in your bed with a hangover cuddling a tortoise. However, your mum won’t let you have a tortoise, so you login to your Facebook page and list her for sale. Someone offers you £30 and you take it. The next day the police come and arrest you, and you find that not only did you steal a tortoise, but you also accepted £1,970 less than her true worth!
Your devastated, but also learnt three important marketing lessons that apply to all businesses:
1. Know your products worth and don’t undervalue it
In this case Adam’s product was an extremely rare £2,000 tortoise. Even stolen, he could have sold it for more than £30. In any case, he grossly undervalued it. I’m not saying he would have gotten the true worth of £2,000, because due to the murky origins it limits the buying pool, but £30 is ridiculous.
This is the same with all business except with a legitimate product your buying pool is not limited. What is limited is you! You must charge exactly what you’re worth. Too many people undervalue themselves, their product, their time, and they leave money on the table as a result.
2. Find the right buyer
In Adam’s case he made two mistakes. Firstly he sold it to someone who did not know its value, and probably didn’t know the difference between a tortoise and a turtle. As such, he didn’t get the true value the product was worth. Secondly, he sold it to someone who posted it on Facebook, which considering it was a stolen is a sure-fire way to get caught.
If he had known his buyer, he not only would have gotten more money for his stolen tortoise, but also not got caught as easily (besides leaving his fosters can at the scene).
The right buyer in this case is a reptile dealer with a low moral compass, who is going to use the tortoise for breeding rather than as a pet.
The same applies to any business. Create a buying profile of your ideal customer, and then target those people directly. Simply filter out all the people that aren’t the right buyer so you only focus on the people who want and need your product, and not those who can’t afford it/aren’t willing to pay its true worth.
3. Know where to sell your product
Now, if you’re following this process through we have already established that the right buyer for Adam is a reptile dealer with a low moral compass. So, where do we find him?
For Adam it would come down to reptile forums, reptile shows, or maybe even searching for some small pet shops, and asking questions to feel the dealer out to see if they meet the criteria.
It’s the same process for a legitimate product. You look at the buyer profile, and then think of places where you can find your ideal buyer. This might be Facebook. This might be LinkedIn, or it might even be parenting forums. Whatever your ideal customer is, go to them and sell your product for a fair price.
I know these lessons aren’t ground breaking, but too many businesses owners don’t take care of these basic fundamentals, and that’s what I was aiming to highlight in this post.
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James is a Digital Marketer who has worked for some of the most up-and-coming brands, always looking to increase profits and creating a return on investment for his clients. He is proficient in reputation management (ORM), ranking on google (SEO), Pay per click (PPC), branding, alongside other marketing methods, always putting his own unique spin on it. His favourite techniques are the HappyTiger and GrumpyGoat.
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