When he was doing the marketing for CDnow, Jason Olim (who was profiled in Chapter 31) says, I knew I was lucky in that I have a talent for marketing. But that doesnt mean that I am the ˜marketing guy in the way that I am ˜product guy. To get CDnow going, I had to go find people who had skills that I didnt have. So, I went and hired a PR firm; I went and hired an ad person. I got all the advice I could. I held other people accountable to do what I didnt know how to do. I knew what I wanted the result to be, which was more sales, but I didnt know how to do it. TV ads, radio ads, print ads, big giveaways, putting our banners on the sides of busesI didnt know what to do. I hired other people and said, ˜Heres what I want: I want sales of a certain amount of money, and heres how much money I can give you to spend . Can you make it happen? And the people who could do it were the ones I hired .
That, Ive concluded, was my problem with marketing RTPAlack of the financial wherewithal to hire marketing experts. But Jason disagrees. Money is by no means the necessary glue, he says. And even if you can afford to hire a marketing expert, how do you find one? They just dont pop out of the woodwork.
Jason believes that marketing can be done as a mom-and-pop operation. Some people are innately gifted at crafting their message, so they dont need to hire an expert to write their copy, he says. But even if youre not innately gifted, there are rules that should lead to marketing success, as long as you follow them.
I asked Jason to look at the copy Debbie and I had created about RTPA and tell us what wed done wrong. And what did Jason tell us? Our materials did not even communicate what RTPA didwhat RTPA was.
Our copy, Jason says, failed to follow the most basic marketing rule: Communicate what it is youre selling. That glossy, four-page brochure wed created did not paint a clear picture of what RTPA was, and how it worked.
We had come up with a metaphor (RTPA: The IT Managers Master-Key). That, Jason says, was too literary ; it didnt communicate the tangible benefits of RTPA. You didnt grab onto the key things that would excite the reader.